No one can deny the overwhelming popularity and influence of social networks, particularly of Facebook and Twitter. However, for hotel owners who are unfamiliar with social media and do not actively participate in social networks, it may be difficult to see the value in embracing these digital channels. For some hotel owners and small businesses in general, the necessity to engage in social media remains a mystery. There is only so much time and money that can be spent on promoting your hotel. Why should the efforts and limited resources of hotel owners be directed toward connecting superficially with end users in the labyrinthine World Wide Web? The answer is quiet simple: The social network population is too enormous to ignore, the amount of time and money required to participate is too small, and the tremendous potential impact just can’t be dismissed.
The Enormous Social Network Population
There are over 500 million users on Facebook and nearly 200 million on Twitter and these numbers are continually growing. The amount of time and money required by traditional marketing campaigns to reach a comparable audience is incalculable. The wonderful dynamic of Facebook is that interactions are initiated by the users. A hotel owner can post an update of a current promotion on their Facebook page which can be seen by all of its followers. The average user has 130 friends according to Facebook Statistics. With no additional effort on the part of the hotel, if a quarter of the hotel’s followers “Like” the promotion, the Like will be announced to each follower’s 130 friends. In theory, the hotel’s name is introduced to over 4,000 people with a single update. Even if one friend of each follower mentions the hotel’s name to another friend, then the audience reach is infinite. If hotels want to attract guests, guests must first be made aware of their hotel. If hotels want to introduce their hotel to as many people as possible, then they’re going to have to meet them online.
A Social Network Based on Trust
The overwhelming number of users in social networks can give the impression that intimate, meaningful relationships are not being made. Hotel owners might feel as if they are wasting time reaching out to similar businesses and marketing agencies all striving to accomplish the same goal. This is not the case however. Facebook is designed so people have complete control over who they interact with and for most users, this includes friends, family member, classmates, and co-workers. If a user Likes something or discusses something on their Facebook page, their opinions are broadcasted before people with whom they have a close relationship and people who trust them most. The reason Facebook has such a powerful influence is because people are sharing information with people they know and trust. A hotel can extend that trust to their brand if friends and family are recommending it to one another. Most people visit review sites when making purchases online and they are more willing to trust the opinions of their friends and families than a group of unknown users.
Steps to Create an Effective Facebook Marketing Strategy for Hotels
For those unfamiliar with Facebook, naturally there is a certain degree of intimidation. However, one of Facebook’s most notable qualities is its simplistic design and usability. Facebook is certainly one of the easiest tools to manage and devoting even just a little bit of time familiarizing yourself can produce great benefits. Here are three easy steps you can perform to build your hotel’s presence on Facebook:
- Build a large network of Facebook friends. Having a large network of friends on Facebook is extremely important because the more people who know about your hotel, the more chance you have of sharing your message and capturing new guests. Also, people talking about your hotel on Facebook can greatly improve your hotel’s website discoverability in search engines such as Google. Start to build your hotel’s Facebook friends by asking actual friends to Like your page. This should include your personal network of friends, loyal customers, staff members, and vendors. A quick way to multiply your network of friends is by asking your personal friends and staff members to encourage their friends to Like your hotel’s Facebook page. Be sure to encourage your friends to leave comments and to Like the content you put out on your Facebook page.
- Update your Facebook feed with interesting information. This can include news about your hotel such as promotions, special events, and press coverage. You should also post information about events happening in your hotel’s community such as local events, festivals, parades, wine-tasting music, arts, etc. You want to put content on your Facebook feed you feel that your friends and potential guests would be interested in. Try to update your Facebook feed as regularly as possible and remember to encourage your friends to click the Like button and to leave comments.
- Spruce up your Facebook page. In addition to your Facebook feed, you should also have information about your hotels that potential guests would find compelling and that will enhance their perceptions of your property—for example, lots of photos and information about your rooms and the location of your hotel. More than having dialogue with your friends and offering interesting information, you want your friends to be able to experience your hotel directly from your Facebook page.
Facebook is a very powerful tool to promote your hotel and reach the widest audience possible, and should be a core marketing effort for any hotel. The buuteeq Digital Marketing System (DMS) has a number of features that make building and managing a great Facebook presence for your hotel easy and cost-effective. Learn more on our website or in the following video.