How to Use Social Media to Attract “Generation Y” Guests

Yelp communications manager, Elliot Adams, explains to Hotel Industry Magazine how to strengthen your social media channels to attract the elusive Generation Y guest.

Social media is a key communications tool for businesses as they look to communicate with ‘Generation-Y’ and the hotel industry is no exception. Big or small, independent boutique or internationally renowned chain, it is important to ensure customers feel their opinions are being heard. They need a window into your business, whether it’s to praise you or to inform you of something that was less than satisfactory. A business with an effectively managed online presence on reviews and recommendations platforms like Yelp, is far more likely to get customers through the door and have them return time and again once they realise their voice has been heard.

Generation-Y are using social media and review sites to find the perfect hotel for their stay, as well as nearby bars, clubs, restaurants and boutiques that will enrich their experience. Here are a few pointers to help you attract those younger, trendier customers.

Tell a Story

People like to know about other people. Tell your potential customers where you’re from and who you are, in order to really connect with them. If you talk to them, they are far more likely to want to talk to you, and ultimately make that all-important purchase decision.

Businesses can create an online journey for their customers before they’ve even reached the door, without having to spend vast amounts of money on more traditional marketing methods. Creating a full website may not always be right for every business, but maximising social media and review sites really goes the distance in building an online presence with a personality.

Bring your business to life with images

Your online profile is the first thing your potential Gen-Y guests will see, so it’s vital to really bring it to life and give it a personality. Pick photos that are colourful and vibrant, and make sure there are enough of them to really peak customers’ interest. It’s also imperative to keep these photos up to date, so if you’ve had a revamp or rebrand, be sure to pop up some photos so new customers know exactly what to expect. With review sites such as Yelp, users are also able to upload their own photos of your business, which adds a further personal touch.

Include as much information as possible

Any online profile for your business must include updated contact details at the very least. Additionally, include information on other aspects such as pricing, business hours and nearest public transport links. Make sure all details are easy to find and that your profile is easy to navigate. Ultimately, ensure you never leave your customers needing more information about you or what you offer.

Case Study – Avo Hotel, Dalston

The family-run Avo Hotel opened in the trendy East End’s newly emerging capital, Dalston, in March 2011. It soon flourished in London’s hipster haven, with daughter Sunny at the helm of the marketing machine. The family attribute Avo’s success to connecting with a newer, younger crowd through social media, using Yelp as a key tool to kick-start conversations with potential hotel goers.

“First of all, Dad insisted on traditional marketing, putting an advert in the Hackney Gazette,” says Sunny. “This was despite my efforts to convince him that our target audience was younger and trendier, and would look to the Internet to find information – they probably wouldn’t even see that print advert. I soon managed to show him that an online presence on social media sites, particularly Yelp, is so important in reaching that demographic and finding potential customers looking for somewhere to stay in the area. It’s a free way to connect with the people we want to target – guests looking to relax and have fun.”

“We drive people to the basic booking engine on our own website via social media, and also word of mouth through our relationships with other local businesses. I post regular updates on our own social media pages, then I log on to Yelp’s talk boards to look for people asking about places to stay. What’s really amazing about the Yelp community is that if I’ve missed any enquiries on the talk boards, I tend to find that the network of Yelpers will actually have recommended Avo on my behalf, as we’ve built up a reliable presence and reputation with them.”

“It’s so important to allow your customers a voice and respond publicly to feedback too. It’s great for younger people to be talking about your business, and it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to read and respond to our reviews, even if the comments are negative. It gives us piece of mind in a way, as we are still new to this and not professionals, so it’s comforting to have feedback to take on board.”

About Elliot Adams: Elliot is communications manager at Yelp. For more information about Yelp and your business on Yelp, visit For more information on Avo Hotel, visit

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