As more and more Americans climb out of the recession, latch onto more profitable careers, and have extra time and cash for vacations, no industry will feel the boom like hotels and motels.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association suggests the good times have already hit, with 2012 showing a 14% growth in income compared to the prior year. For a hotel owner, however, every empty room represents a loss.
How can the hospitality industry learn from retail’s successes of social media?
Optimize Social Standards
The raw numbers of social media and hospitality e-business paint a promising picture for the hospitality industry. Hotel owners save money, reports Buuteeq, whenever they get a booking from a website rather than a travel agent.
Mobile bookings provide the highest profit margin, and hotels with an active social presence get more online bookings than those that go without. Retailers have long since made their operations social-savvy by creating Web content specifically for social platforms. They have even gone so far as to build apps for mobile devices.
Create Content To Be Shared
The greatest value in social media comes from followers sharing and re-Tweeting. Yet you need to frame updates, posts, polls, or questions carefully to encourage sharing.
Constant Contact recommends taking at least one of three angles for every update you want to be shared: make it funny, make it interesting, or make it agreeable — these three metrics by and large determine a post’s share rate.
Whenever a customer logs onto Facebook and sees an offer that saves them money, they are not only a potential sale but also a surefire way to connect to new networks for hotel managers. Knowledge Network reports that digital coupons bring in new customers at a 33 percent higher rate than their paper predecessors.
Take a page from Black Friday-focused retailers like Macy’s that offer customers and followers a better deal on their favorites in exchange for liking a page or sharing a post. Retailers promote coupons on the busiest shopping days of the year to boost customer satisfaction, so consider giving out coupons during the heights of tourist season to enhance your hotel’s reputation.
Show Off Your Scenery
Remember that social media encompasses more than just the 140 characters on Twitter. The rise of micro-video, suggests Forbes Magazine, will dominate and perhaps even replace short updates as users can put a lot more information into a 6-second Vine video than they could in a status update.
Hotels can capitalize on short video updates by showing individual rooms, views of a beach from the window, or showcase a chef in the kitchen. Remember that short videos work better for promotions, since attention span wanes quickly in the digital age.