By now, hoteliers have heard about the importance of social media and the fact that they should be using it as part of their online marketing efforts. What may not be clear, however, is WHY exactly it is important. To many, the first thought that comes to mind is “Isn’t social media just a way to keep in touch with family and old friends? How could that possibly be beneficial for my hotel?” When it comes to using social media for your hotel, there are both search and social benefits.
Google is the most visited website in the world and chances are the site will play a part when guests are planning their trip. When searching for a hotel, travelers typically do not just view one website and make their decision. According to a study by Cornell University, guests visit an average of 15 websites before actually booking a hotel. This means they are likely searching review sites and social media sites in addition to just the hotel and OTA websites. Having active social media pages that provide useful information about your hotel and the local area will have a positive impact on those interested in staying at your property.
Having a lot of engagement on social media channels, such as likes, shares, retweets, and +1s will also help with your hotels search ranking on Google. A study conducted last year by SearchMetrics took a look at high ranking sites in the United States and pinpointed what they had in common that was contributing to their high ranking. One of the key findings of this study was that a high engagement rate on social media correlated with well positioned URLs on Google. This means having a lot of engagement on social media will only help your search ranking!
Once travelers narrow in on your hotel from their search results, they will want to find out more information about the property aside from what the website tells them, so they will view online reviews and social media sites. From a social perspective, being active on social media gives your hotel a chance to influence the information that is out there regarding your hotel. Whether or not your hotel is participating in social media, there is a conversation taking place about your hotel!
Social media also gives your hotel a chance to provide value for guests as well as potential guests by talking about events, the local area, and providing travel tips. It also allows you to build relationships with guests through social customer service by answering questions and replying to any mentions.
Don’t believe people are talking about your hotel on social media? Even if you have not created a Facebook or Google+ page for your hotel, that does not mean a page does not exist. For example, type in your hotel’s name on Facebook’s search bar and you will notice a page exists whether or not you have created one. You are even able to see how many people have checked-in to your hotel through their Facebook account and how many people have liked the page. To search for your hotel’s Google+ page, you can do a Google search or find it through Google maps. Though a page will not automatically be created on sites likes Twitter and Pinterest, you can still do a search of your hotel’s name to see any mentions of your hotel.