Harness social media to boost your hotel business in 2016

It is no secret that social media has become a huge part of our everyday lives, here we explore how the hotel industry can embrace digital sharing platforms to drive revenue.

It is no secret that social media has become a huge part of our everyday lives and that today’s customers co-exist as much online as they do offline. But for some hospitality venues and brands, having the customer at the helm for brand advocacy can be a daunting and fear-provoking prospect. It is now time for the hotel industry to play catch up, embrace these sharing platforms and recognise the potential opportunity social media presents in terms of growth and revenue.

Hospitality vendors can encourage more profitable customer relationships and interactions by engaging more social sharing, rather than shying away from having consumers in control of their digital reputation. A recent survey found that 71% of 18 to 45 year olds frequently share images on social media while dining or drinking out, presenting venues with a wealth of opportunity to obtain immediate, positive brand mentions and gain valuable peer-to-peer recommendations that reach a wide audience.

Placing trust in the consumer can be a worrying reality as customers are free to say whatever they like, in real time about the brand to a vast audience, however, brands actually have little reason to fear as only 10% of participants claimed they would use social media to post about a negative experience. Couple this with the fact that 4 social media postings take place every second across the UK, vendors should embrace this form of customer interaction. In fact, consumers are more likely to share posts of a venue if the quality of the establishment is great.

Almost half (48%) of consumers claimed they had visited a restaurant off the back of a friend’s check in status and 54% also claimed that previous social postings about a venue impacted their decision to visit. With social media resulting in such high influence rates for future customers, hotels with restaurants, and bars must maximise any social reach that is shared to drive more customer visits.

In order to encourage social engagement it is important that free wifi with strong connection levels is available for customers, with 47% of participants saying they would be more likely to share images of their experience if free wifi was implemented. To this point, 6 out of 10 people claimed that the availability of free wifi is an important consideration when choosing a hotel, bar or restaurant.

For hoteliers to kick off to a strong start this year, they must respond to consumer needs and demands, while following current trends to reap the rewards of greater share of voice and customer visits. 2016 is the year for B2C social, platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have already become embedded in customer’s lifestyles and are seen as an extension of life experiences, meaning venues that encourage social interaction will boost customer satisfaction.

For more information about consumers’ attitudes to social media and what this means for hospitality businesses, download Vodat’s latest report, ‘But First Let Me Take A Selfie: How Social Media Can Make Or Break Customer Relationships’: http://the-hospitality-hub.com/vodat-resources/.

For more information, please visit http://www.vodat-int.com/

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