Hoteliers can find creative ways to use social media in their public relations plan.
Liz Borod Wright, editor/publisher of Travelogged.com and a social media consultant, said hoteliers should first seek out social media influencers. These are people who have achieved a large organic following on social media across several platforms. Then, hoteliers should regularly interact with those influencers whenever they post about anything relevant to the hoteliers’ properties.
Beyond that, hoteliers should remember to provide key information, she said. This includes user names, handles and hashtags.
“There’s nothing worse as a social media influencer myself than to find out I was supposed to be using some new hashtag, which I would have loved to help them out with, but they never told me about it,” Borod Wright said.
Her final tip was to “spread the love.” Hoteliers should retweet, share, like and comment on positive social media content regarding their properties.
Tell, don’t sell
Hoteliers can share stories that attract media coverage, according to Juliet Kinsman, editor-in-chief of “Mr&Mrs Smith”, a travel publisher and booking service specializing in boutique hotels.
“As a journalist, I’ve really learned that the best way to communicate anything is to try and entertain people with what you’re saying and hopefully you’re also informing them with how you word things and what you’re saying,” Kinsman said. “Tell, don’t sell.”
She provided several tips for hoteliers when engaging followers on social media:
- Be original. Tell about features of the hotel, including unique traits that explain why the property is special and different from other hotels.
- Tell tales with words and pictures. Don’t just take pictures with a phone; hire a professional.
- Share insider travel tips. Hoteliers can use social media to establish themselves as experts. For example, they can share tips from the concierge, chef or owner. It gives hoteliers a chance to have a voice and credibility.
- Shout about the neighborhood. Make a big deal of what’s happening in the locale, touting events as another reason to come stay at the hotel.
- Sound human. Don’t use corporate speak. Talk to followers so they feel like human beings and as if there is an engaging person behind every message.
Diego Sartori, social media strategist at Netherlands-based CitizenM Hotels, agrees with the “tell, don’t sell” mentality.
Instead of launching the 151-room CitizenM Hotel Rotterdam with a soft opening, the company took to social media with its “Test Sleep” campaign. Via social media, guests were offered a free night in exchange for feedback at the end of their stay.
Although the campaign was created to garner feedback for internal use at the hotel, “we did ask them to share their feedback if they had a blog or if they’re on social media, but the main point for us was to get the word out there because people do share their experiences,” Sartori said.
He said 300 rooms were booked over a period of three days for the initiative. People tweeted about it nearly 315 times, and there were 221 mentions on Instagram. Guests also took to TripAdvisor.
By the time the hotel opened, it was rated as No. 1 in Rotterdam on TripAdvisor even though guests were never asked for a review in exchange for the free stay, Sartori said.
“It is a little bit risky when doing something like this because you are offering the room for free, open to the world, so anyone can book,” he said. “… So, of course, when we did it we were very concerned if it would turn out well or not, and luckily enough it did; it was very positive.”
“There are no tricks. People, media or bloggers or whoever, they will feel like sharing about you if are unique. … No one will share if it’s just standard,” he said.
- Category: Television