Your website is the internet face of your hotel. Yes, it is the place where potential customers go to check out your amenities, your room rates, and your availability.
And, once they’re finished, they flit off to another site–perhaps a competitors–and, unfortunately, you may never see them again. You had them. They were there one minute, but gone the next–taking their travel plans and wallets with them.
How do you hold their attention, keep them engaged, and dissuade them from checking out someone else? Simple. You provide them with a reason to stay. And one great way to do this is to turn your site into a social hospitality hub–a place where potential customers can check out your accounts on their favorite social media sites and keep in contact with theirs. After all, your business is hospitality. Shouldn’t your website be as welcoming and user-friendly as your hotel?
What does a hospitality hub look like?
Your hotel likely has a presence on the most popular social media platforms–and if it doesn’t it should. It also has a website. To make the most of these marketing tools, they should be working in tandem to create a seamless online experience for your customers. This will keep your customers engaged on your site longer, enable them to discuss your brand with their friends and followers, and increase your brand’s exposure.
Furthermore, by ensuring that your website and social media accounts are linked together, you will also ensure that your traffic is winding up where you want it to–on your website, booking rooms.
How can you create a hospitality hub?
Creating an online hospitality hub is much easier than it sounds. No, you don’t have to be a Bill Gates, Bob Parsons, or Mark Zuckerberg to turn your hotel’s website into the place to hang out. Here are a few simple steps to get you started.
1. Add Social Media Buttons
Social media users can spot buttons that link to their favorite platforms in an instant, but it is recommended that you place them in an uncluttered spot along the top, bottom, or side of your page. Don’t try to include every social media platform on the planet. It will involve far too much work for your social media team, plus it will make your webpage look horrific. Try to stick with the most popular venues like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and/or Instagram.
2. Encourage Sharing
One of your primary goals is to encourage visitors to share your brand with their social media audience–and, in order to do this, you have to add “share” buttons to your website. Share buttons enable your visitor to remain on your site, while sharing your fabulous content and photos. Remember, however, to keep these share buttons in easy-to-find places without them being obtrusive.
3. Allow Social Login
When visitors sign in to your site to set up an account, give them the option of logging in using one of their social media accounts. Not only is it convenient for your customer, but it can also provide them with opportunity to share moments throughout the reservation process. If they are excited about the fact that they have booked a weekend at your luxury spa, they may want to tell their Facebook friends, for instance.
4. Do Some Sharing of Your Own
A great way to spread positive vibes relating to your hotel is to share the awesome photos and comments generated by your fans. If happy guests post glowing reviews or beautiful images of their stay on your property, make sure to share these on your site. It will make the customer feel appreciated and enable you to post awesome content.
If you’re not sure what a stellar hospitality hub looks like, check out Salamander Resort and Spa’s “Social Lounge,” and other visual social lounges here.
Don’t let your site’s visitors pull a “vanishing act.” Instead, keep them engaged and away from the competition. Create an online hospitality hub that reflects exactly what your hotel is–a great place to come and stay awhile.
What social media platforms would you like to see included in a hotel’s social media hospitality hub? Why?
This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer and avid blogger. If you are planning a vacation to a sunny destination, she offers her services as your luggage handler. She is tired of enduring this never-ending Canadian winter and would rather haul heavy cargo than lift another shovel of snow. You can follow her neurotic and OCD ramblings at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.
Image courtesy of photos.com.