One of the industries that has done a great job in embracing and taking to social media has been the hospitality industry. While many other industries view social media as purely a marketing tool, one they can use to 1) converse directly with their target market and promote their products, services and brands, and 2) learn about their target consumers and their buying behaviors, the hospitality industry has done a great job in using social media in a variety of ways to build customer loyalty and product / brand awareness.
Here are just a few examples of how the hospitality industry has been thinking outside the box, and made great use of various social media tools:
- Extending Concierge Services: Having the concierge use a social media tool such as twitter might allow him to communicate with guests from their guest rooms, prior to their arrival, while they are out and about touring the area. In using such a tool, they can also see other guest’s Q&A with the concierge, some of which might answer their own questions or provide them with ideas of things to see and/or do during their stay
- Customer Service: Hoteliers can customize their customer service, going above and beyond and provide their guests with a personalized feel. The hotel / restaurants can offer personalized promotions / gifts to those that sign in to the hotel or restaurant via tools such as Facebook or Foursquare. Restaurants, for example, can also take to go orders via Twitter. All of these are geared to make the customer feel like they are getting personalized attention.
- Story telling: Another way to use social media is to have the guests of the hotel or patrons of the restaurant help tell the story of the establishment, be it via Facebook, YouTube, Flicker, or blogs. One example of this is the Roger Smith hotel that has embraced this method, as can be seen in the following YouTube video.
- Last Minute Deals: Yet another way for the hospitality industry to use social media, especially for hotels or for flights, is to promote last minute deals.
- Facilitating Guest Communities: Guests at hotels that are members in the hotel chain program might elect to share tips and advice as it relates to the hotels they stayed at, restaurants they ate at, or places they visited, in order to make the stay of their co-members benefit from this information, which they themselves one day might find of use from another member such as themselves.
- Emphasizing Unique Properties: Both hotels and restaurants can make use of social media in a traditional (and some may say cheap) way, and market and promote their property via social media tools such as Flicker, YouTube, etc. An example of this is the way Hilton used YouTube to market their hotels. Others might use tools such as Twitter to share promotional information for their properties.
- On Site Merchandizing: Combining the strength of social media with that of the mobile world, such as geo-location feature of an individual based on his cell phone. A hotel or restaurant can use this to provide certain promotional gifts, such as free drinks, or gifts if and when someone walks into the establishment.
The following Infographic from Best Hospitality Degrees provides a quick snapshot on some of the examples raised above as well as some important factors to keep in mind for this industry:
What about you, have you used social media while traveling or dining out?
Have you stayed at a hotel or dined at a restaurant that made use of social media in a way that was unique and caught your attention?
If so, share your story.
Additional Recommended Reading:
References / Source data: