technology, hospitality, and plumbing…

Top of the Social Scene

In General on December 31, 2014 at 13:39

Are your hotels’ social media channels hot, or not?

Are you almost finished writing that social media plan you’ve been working on for the last year? Well, if it hasn’t been evolving with the latest trends, you might need to go back to the drawing board. Few things change as quickly as social media, and to be efficient and effective, your strategy should be developing at the same pace. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening as it relates to hotels and hospitality, and how you should be spending your time and money.

TripAdvisor

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OK, so it might not be considered a social network, but the social nature of this site and its importance in the hotel world mean that it plays a critical role in the discovery and booking process. Ensuring that listings and photos are up-to-date here will increase conversions, but authentic engagement with customers is the key to success.

Instagram

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The app for sharing photos is absolutely killing it on mobile platforms, which is why Facebook paid $1 billion for it. Instagram isn’t especially business friendly (you may have to invest in a spare phone to take pictures, as the app doesn’t support multiple accounts), but the rewards can be incredible.

Twitter

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More than ever, a great place to engage with customers. In moulding your Twitter personality, think helpful friend, rather than sales and promotions. The Hyatt Concierge (@hyattconcierge) may be a clichéd example, but their commitment to respond to questions within four hours is winning praise and driving sales.

Line

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This is a chat app that’s making a really huge impact, particularly in Asia. For certain businesses, official accounts and stickers on the social network can provide great opportunities for engagement with customers. But be forewarned, there are hard costs involved, and they can be considerable.

Facebook

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The platform is ubiquitous, but how many people are seeing your message? These days, users are less likely to see posts from friends, let alone a business page on which they once hit ‘Like’. The algorithm is focusing more on suggested (sponsored) posts, so be prepared to spend in the same way you do for Google PPC.

Vimeo

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In contrast to YouTube, this slick video site prioritises quality – both in terms of content and picture – so is a better choice for hotels with a high-end brand image to protect.

Google+

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On paper it might be the second biggest network, but it has not turned out to be the Facebook-killer Google was aiming for. It is still good to stay involved, as there may be Google search benefits. Certainly, make sure that Google Places/Local/whatever-it’s-called-this-week is updated, as it has a critical, contribution to search.

Vine

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Still quite niche, these six-second video clips are gaining popularity, particularly when they are shared on other networks such as Facebook and Twitter. We have yet to see an iconic Vine campaign from a hotel, but the time will come. Maybe your hotel will be the one to make the most of the social platform?

Snapchat

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It’s still not clear how much impact this will have, but there have been some clever campaigns that have grabbed press (rather than engagement). The app will probably fade unless new owners find better ways to make Snapchat relevant to demographics other than the teens who currently use it.

Blogs

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Again, not technically a social network, but blogs provide a great way to engage with the outside world, establish a brand’s personality and credibility, and give a hotel website an SEO boost. Commit the time it takes to keep a blog up-to-date with high-quality content, and it will repay you handsomely

YouTube

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The video site is ubiquitous, but it’s used for its efficiency at delivering content rather than for the benefit of the network itself. And it prioritises the delivery of content over the quality of content. As the video-delivery channel of the masses, it can be perfect for mass-market brands instead of boutiques (see Vimeo).

Pinterest

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The image-sharing site turned out to be a niche offering after all. A presence here has the possibility of driving sales within certain product verticals, but the opportunity for hotels is limited; the new Places feature can grab press (e.g. Four Seasons), but once the novelty wears off, returns will be low.

Flickr

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The once mighty photography site has lost ground with many years of stagnation at Yahoo (remember them?) and with the quick rise of the almighty Instagram. At this point, it’s not worth considering the service for most situations.


This first appeared in Status QUO Issue 4, November 2014

StatusQUO-4

Available in the App Store for iPhone and iPad: http://appstore.com/statusquo

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