Ho­tels now log on to so­cial me­dia

With so­cial me­dia play­ing a larger role in hos­pi­tal­ity, speaks to var­i­ous hote­liers to gain in­sight into how so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing tech­niques are boost­ing foot­falls in ho­tels and help­ing build bet­ter re­la­tions with guests in In­dia…

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is a no brainer to see that so­cial me­dia is here to stay for good. The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try can­not dis­count the buzz of so­cial mar­ket­ing. How ho­tels de­cide to ad­dress it and what tech­nolo­gies they would in­vest time and money into should be a thought out plan – much like the ap­proach to any good mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tive to in­crease foot­falls. Thus, the ho­tel in­dus­try is now in­creas­ingly look­ing at lever­ag­ing so­cial me­dia as a way to en­gage with cus­tomers and in­crease affin­ity and loy­alty.

Hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness has em­braced ef­fec­tive so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing tech­niques to boost their cus­tomer ser­vice, en­hance brand rep­u­ta­tion and de­velop strong pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships.

Says Anu­radha Ku­mar, Di­rec­tor Sales and Mar­ket­ing, Hy­att Re­gency Delhi, “We are see­ing a ma­jor growth in so­cial me­dia up­take in In­dia. Hy­att has a strong mar­ket pres­ence world­wide and so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing en­ables us to sus­tain and fur­ther our brand recog­ni­tion in the In­dian mar­kets.”

So­cial net­work is seen as a way to en­hance the con­sumer’s ex­pe­ri­ence. “An on­line concierge can do it all for you – from gen­er­at­ing reser­va­tions and mak­ing travel plans to shop for a last­minute gift. Hav­ing a concierge on your side is like hav­ing a full-time as­sis­tant ready and wait­ing for your next com­mand. Al­though we do not have a vir­tual so­cial concierge fa­cil­ity, we do have an E- Concierge op­tion in place, which helps us a lot and is much ap­pre­ci­ated by our guests,” Ku­mar opines.

Ac­cord­ing to her, Hy­att Re­gency Delhi is the only ho­tel in Delhi to of­fer on­line res­tau­rant reser­va­tions, which it in­tro­duced in Jan­uary 2012. The tool is avail­able on ev­ery res­tau­rant page on the Hy­att.com web­site and there has been a 50% monthly growth in on­line reser­va­tions from this chan­nel alone.

On­line rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment has be­come the fron­trun­ner for any ho­tel’s PR pol­icy. It is not a ques­tion of whether ho­tels use so­cial me­dia but how ef­fec­tively these net­works are be­ing utilised to im­prove brand recog­ni­tion, loy­alty and book­ings. Apart from gain­ing cus­tomer loy­alty, boost­ing con­ver­sa­tions and build­ing on­line rep­u­ta­tion, one of the key rea­sons that ho­tels now main­tain a con­sis­tent so­cial me­dia pres­ence is for on­line book­ings. This is where so­cial medium and the ho­tel web­sites play a piv­otal role. Feels Kriti Bud­hia, ADOS e-com­merce, Ac­cor In­dia, “So­cial me­dia has come up in a big way and al­though there are ob­vi­ous ben­e­fits on en­gag­ing through this medi- um, there are a cer­tain few things also that need to be taken care of be­fore go­ing over­board. We are look­ing at so­cial me­dia very se­ri­ously as a plat­form to en­gage with our cus­tomers and also po­ten­tial cus­tomers and drive loy­alty. For the same, we do a lot of work with TripAd­vi­sor, Face­book, etc.” Re­gard­ing the in­crease in busi­ness via this medium, she ar­gues, “A con­sis­tent so­cial me­dia pres­ence has helped Ac­cor In­dia see an up­ward tra­jec­tory when it comes to the con­tri­bu­tion of on­line book­ings. The fo­cus for Ac­cor In­dia will re­main on in­creas­ing our en­gage­ment with the cus­tomers, in or­der to en­sure they are cap­ti­vated and get the in­for­ma­tion they want from the medium.” The French hos­pi­tal­ity chain is ac­tively in­volved in tak­ing note of what is driv­ing on­line pur­chase through re­search to un­der­stand what best can be of­fered to the cus­tomer, she adds.

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