What does the iconic blue birdie represent in marketing opportunities for hotels? Twitter is a communication technology that allows the sharing of messages of up to 140 characters. These messages are “tweeted” or pushed live to the Internet where they are available for public consumption. Tweets can be found by searching Twitter but the most popular method of following tweets involves subscribing to a Twitter account. If you follow a Twitter account, the accounts’ tweet timeline will be available to you either on your computer or mobile device.
The power of Twitter lies in its ability to disseminate real time information to an unlimited number of recipients. Text, links and images can be shared via Twitter.
The @ symbol is used to mention an account in your tweets. i.e. @happyhotelclient Glad you enjoyed your stay!
When you feel that your followers could benefit from anothers‘ Tweet, you can retweet it and it will be pushed to all of your followers e.g. a guest Tweets about the amazing holiday they enjoyed at your hotel. You want to share this positive real-time review with all your followers.
Direct messages can be used to privately communicate with a user that has followed you. Start off your tweet with either DM or D to direct message a follower. e.g. “DM @unhappyhotelguest Sorry to hear about your problem. Can we offer a complementary upgrade?”
Hashtags are used to categorise tweets. This helps users to find your tweets. A hashtag is like the theme of your Tweet. e.g. Last minute holiday specials/ #hotelspecials
How should a hotel be using Twitter as a marketing tool? Firstly, by owning and engaging users with an official Twitter account and secondly, by enabling the use of Twitter on your hotels website.
The very first step is to go ahead and set up you hotels official Twitter account. Have an image handy to upload to your profile. Your hotels logo is usually the best marker to use as the official image. Ask your web designer for a square version as the image has to be square and fit the dimensions 73px by 73px.
You will then need to create a paragraph of text for your bio. Remember that this text is what other users will see when you follow them, so ensure that this text is emotive and provides sufficient motivation to convince them to follow you. This is the place to mention the benefits of following your hotel on Twitter. Special offers, exclusive deals, the promise of responsiveness etc.
Once your official Twitter account is setup it is now the time to start Tweeting. Before you start you should decide on an official social media policy and define your social voice. If the individual managing your Twitter account needs to get every Tweet approved by the hotels PR person, then you Twitter communication can get bogged down and loose its freshness. A predefined policy makes it easy for staff to act in real-time, engaging possibilities and addressing issues that crop up. If a guests sends out a negative Tweet then a prompt reaction can quickly turn public perception from negative to positive. If your hotel typically targets a young and hip demographic then it makes good sense to employ a younger person as your official tweeter. What are some things you should be tweeting about?
Make your Twitter stream valuable by providing original and worthwhile information. Tweet any hotel news, special offers and local stories of interest such as the opening of new restaurants near your hotel or the opening of a park or the launch of a new public transport system. Share anything that will provide value to your followers.
Monitor & Respond
Monitor Twitter for Tweets that contain any keywords or hashtags related to your hotels services and location. If someone tweets: “Looking for a reasonably priced hotel in London for a weekend getaway, would like bathtub, but is negotiable. Suggestions? For end of Feb” why not reply with details about your property and perhaps a promotional code for a complimentary breakfast.
If your hotel is located in a city that frequently hosts large media conferences or if your hotel hosts conferences and events itself then send out a welcome Tweet to the delegates. Use the events’ hashtag to make your Tweet relevant and findable. e.g. Mylondonhotel welcomes all delegates attending Big Event London 2011! 15% discount for all delegates #bigeventlondon2011.
If a guest tweets about what a great holiday they just enjoyed at your hotel, respond publicly. e.g. User happyguests: Just enjoyed awesome weekend at Great Hotel. The food was amazing! You could reply: @happyguests Really glad you enjoyed your stay at Great Hotel! Check out our new summer menu!
This post is an excerpt from the book “The Intelligent Guide To Hotel Internet Marketing” due later this year.