Ho­tels get SO­CIAL

Un­able to ig­nore the power of so­cial me­dia, ho­tels have started re­plac­ing tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing tech­niques with on­line pro­mo­tions for bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity.

TravTalk - India - - HOTEL TALK - NISHA VERMA

The need to be vis­i­ble and en­gage cus­tomers on a reg­u­lar ba­sis has made the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try use so­cial me­dia as the pri­mary medium to pro­mote prop­er­ties and brands to trav­ellers. Guests to­day are not only con­sum­ing the in­for­ma­tion avail­able to them on so­cial me­dia, but are also mak­ing it a point to share their ex­pe­ri­ences with the world while they are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it. The use of so­cial me­dia plat­forms like Twit­ter and In­sta­gram has moved on from be­ing just a ca­sual com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel to some­thing that al­lows busi­nesses to ef­fec­tively en­gage

with clients. While the com­mu­ni­ca­tion method has changed, busi­nesses still need to ap­ply fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tion to com­mu­ni­cate their mes­sages to their tar­get au­di­ence. What gives these dig­i­tal tools an edge is the speed at which they can tap their au­di­ence and the wide reach.

NEW MAR­KET­ING TOOL

So­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing mod­ules not only in­form po­ten­tial cus­tomers about a prop­erty and pique their in­ter­est, but also works in boost­ing sales. A ho­tel brand which is aware of the on­go­ing trends can find busi­ness leads by pay­ing heed to the right kind of con­ver­sa­tions out­side of their owned pro­file. San­deep Raghav, Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor – South Asia, W Mal­dives and Sher­a­ton Mal­dives Full Moon Re­sort & Spa, agrees, say­ing, “So­cial me­dia is a fan­tas­tic tool to keep our au­di­ence up­dated and gen­er­ate in­ter­est in W Mal­dives. It also al­lows us to get more book­ing enquiries from peo­ple all over the world. It is a great ad­ver­tis­ing tool to pro­mote spe­cific of­fers for spe­cific mar­kets as well.” While shar­ing in­for­ma­tion on so­cial me­dia is one thing, us­ing the medium to one’s ad­van­tage is an­other. S. N. Sri­vas­tava, Pres­i­dent & Co-founder, Clarks Inn Group of Ho­tels, claims that an ef­fec­tive use of tech­nol­ogy has been at the fore­front of all their ini­tia­tives. “Whether it is driv­ing in­cre­men­tal sales, en­hanc­ing brand vis­i­bil­ity or im­prov­ing cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in prop­er­ties, the com­pany is mak­ing full use of var­i­ous avail­able so­cial me­dia plat­forms. This in turn has proved to be of tremen­dous value ad­di­tion in in­creas­ing sales as well as brand aware­ness. Be­sides, we are also con­stantly up­grad­ing our so­cial me­dia in­ter­ven­tion,” he adds.

SALES DRIVER

Over 93 per cent of trav­ellers have con­fessed that

on­line re­views im­pact their choice of ho­tel, which means that there is a need to en­gage with these sites. Many ho­tels re­alised this early on, but while it is still nec­es­sary, it has be­come a min­i­mum re­quire­ment. To stay ahead in the game, mar­keters need to find new chan­nels to man­age their rep­u­ta­tion and gen­er­ate new leads. Ru­pak Gupta, Joint MD, UP Ho­tels, as­serts, “So­cial me­dia in­creases the vis­i­bil­ity of a ho­tel due to the high fre­quency of en­gage­ment with the con­cerned tar­get mar­ket. This in turn boosts the sale di­rectly and in­di­rectly. We are very ac­tive on Face­book, Google and TripAd­vi­sor and have the high­est rat­ing of 8.5 from Goibibo, whose sales are driven by in­di­rect mar­ket­ing cam­paigns on so­cial me­dia, in­clud­ing Google.”

CON­STANT EN­GAGE­MENT

Reg­u­lar pro­mo­tional cam­paigns on so­cial me­dia also make a huge dif­fer­ence in cus­tomer en­gage­ment. Up­dates on F&B pro­mo­tions, stay deals, spa deals, week­end of­fers, etc. keep the com­mu­ni­ca­tion go­ing with the users and al­low them to visit the prop­erty mul­ti­ple times. Meera Pahwa, Vice Pres­i­dent, Mar­ket­ing & Sales, In­dana Ho­tels, shares, “We work ac­tively to build re­la­tion­ships with users on Face­book and Twit­ter. We con­stantly look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­gage with po­ten­tial guests who are re­search­ing for wed­ding des­ti­na­tions or leisure travel. We even of­fer dis­counts on rooms and F&B on Face­book, which prompts a lot of queries. We also up­date our so­cial me­dia plat­forms with the lat­est events and feed­back from our guests to keep the users well in­formed.”

TAR­GET­ING THE MIL­LEN­NI­ALS

Most mil­len­ni­als de­pend on the In­ter­net and so­cial me­dia to make their travel plans. They are also very vo­cal about their opin­ions on such plat­forms and have dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments than a busi­ness or fam­ily trav­eller. Shruti Pandey, Pro­pri­etor, Syn­ergi Hos­pi­tal­ity, has iden­ti­fied this change in the cus­tomer, and says, “So­cial me­dia of­fers us a huge op­por­tu­nity to reach the new age of trav­ellers who

What gives these dig­i­tal tools an edge is the speed at which they can tap their au­di­ence

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