Social Media Impact on Hospitality And The Hotel Industry
By: Dilip Sanchez
Social Media And Rating Sites
Over the years, Social media and rating sites have always been an ideal platform
and a widely used tool for hotel guest to share their pleasant or unpleasant
experiences. For instance hotel managers such as myself and directors often use
social media such as Facebook and twitter as a form of monitoring hotel reputation.
This can similarly be said for rating sites which gives an indication of the level of
customer satisfaction regarding the hotel and what has been said about it. No doubt
having witnessed from personal experiences, social media provides an amazing
platform to increase awareness of hotel brands. However does online reputation
monitoring really improve your bottom line? Does it make guest happier?
The Truth - Does Social Media Really Make Guest Happier?
Having been in the hotel industry for some years now, I started off by thinking to
myself that the use of social media and rating sites was enough for me to be able
to rely on when it came to my hotel guests and their satisfaction. As time went on I
realized just simple monitoring and observing comments by guests and travelers
alike and replying them via platforms such as Tripadvisor for example wasn’t doing
much to help. Hotel managers such as myself would usually fall into the false
pretense of considering that to be ‘doing enough’. In actual fact, unhappy
customers remain unhappy and the best I could do for them was offer my sincere
apologies towards their unfortunate experience towards their hotel stay instead of
rectifying their experience. Soon after, I even went on to implement a dashboard to
track comments with a tool called Radian 6. However, roughly about a year and half
of using the tool, I realized even though the amount of feedback I received has
increased significantly, the amount of positive feedback over negative feedback did
not and that remained the main problem. Radian 6 (www.radian6.com) dashboard
provided very limited value and narrow insights into the problems and highlighted
what was already the obvious. As a general manager or director at a hotel, you do
not want to constantly have to look at sophisticated dashboards to retrieve
comments and not know what is underperforming or where the exact problem lies.
Don’t Sit and Watch…Act In Time!
Eventually after some time of experimenting the different tools and platforms I
decided that plainly monitoring wasn’t the key to what we wanted to achieve. It
was time to act on guest’s feedback on site and do something about it while they
are still at the hotel and before they get the chance to leave unhappy. A solution in
a form of an application called ECO (www.geteco.com) was something that I started
using not too long ago that was very useful to me and my hotel in achieving what
we were looking for. An application that allowed my guests to even conveniently
produce real time voice based feedback from their rooms which would be processed
and acted on immediately together with the ability of online media monitoring
capabilities. This also allowed for a closer 1 on 1 interaction with guests in the hotel.
Being in the hotel industry, I also realize one of the most important things is to have as
much of a close personal interaction with guests as possible. The ability to open a direct
communication channel with each guest is something that I have experienced while
using the ECO application and therefore has made it easier for me to better cater to
each guest's unique preferences. Having now been able to better solve guests
complaints on the spot and in real time together with building a close personal
interaction with them, I have noticed that I tend to get more positive reviews about my
hotel from online social media sites such as Facebook and twitter.
This goes to show some of the short comings of social media when it comes to hotel
guests satisfaction. Information that is usually retrieved from these sites are basically
more informative and tend not to be actionable. The most ideal way to prevent a
negative comment or review from being broadcast to the world on social media
platforms is to have it not reach to that stage in the first place. Solve and rectify the
problem before it reaches the global audience. From personal use, I have noticed that
real-time feedback applications such as ECO have helped me in a way that retains and
improves guest's loyalty before they leave. Adding to the fact that guests also receive
rewards for leaving comments and feedback as an incentive, make it ideal for a win-win
situation for both hotel and it's guests. Rewards such as obtaining possible discounts on
hotel services when booking with them make guests more likely to go through direct
booking with the hotel itself as appose to OTA sites.
If you are interested to know more about my experiences with ECO, Please email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively if you would like to know more
about ECO, please click here