At times it is hard to convince people to use Twitter as a marketing vehicle or even Social Media as a whole, although we have surpassed that phase on the latter. Lately, we have been dedicating considerable time in cleaning up our Twitter accounts in line with my previous posts e.g. improving our bios, automating daily posts, unfollowing masses of irrelevant tweeple, following back those that show promise and creating dedicated Twitter handles for our Brand Advocates. During this process of refocusing the following question was asked me again: “Is Twitter worthwhile for our Hotels?”
Regular readers of this blog know my scepticism towards the added value of Twitter for the Hotel Industry. Effective Twitter usage necessarily involves dedication, and an investment in time and attention. There is a value in using Twitter as a marketing vehicle and it has nothing to do with numbers followers… or direct sales. It is about brand development. Who follows you matters a great deal because powerful Twitter marketing involves not just link-blasting, but networking and relationship development.
Here, are some questions that spring to mind:
- Who is reading your tweets? Are your followers interested in your hotel? Do you know them as guests or member from your hotel loyalty program?
- Are your followers active? Active users share your links, they give you feedback. Automated or semi-automated users are not active users that will interact with you.
So, how can we place the aforementioned in perspective? In the Algarve, we know that the hotels mentioned in the underneath tables are leading in the Twittersphere [I removed Pestana Hotels & Resorts, as they merely focus on Brazil.] How engaged are they really? How often is their content re-tweeted. What is the hotel’s effective reach? To assess this, I again turned to Tweetreach:
The above data leads to conclude that Hotel Faro is the most interactive, whilst also having the most contributors (11), whilst the Holiday Inn Algarve has become relatively silent.
In digging deeper, I used Twitteranalyzer and evaluated the origin of followers and their relevance for the principle Algarve feeder markets. For all 3 hotels those markets were the UK, Portugal Spain and Germany; in those particular order.
From the above table you can conclude that the Hotel Faro has the most balanced number of followers, while with 50% the Holiday Inn Algarve seems to cover relatively the most of the main Algarve feeder markets. A surprise is though, that Portobay has relatively little Portuguese followers….
Back to the original question. It may just not be worthwhile for some hotels to focus their online marketing efforts on Twitter. In explaining it might be easier to address that question reversely: “When should you stay away from Twitter?”
- If your hotel does not have a mobile strategy or presence. There is a strong tie between Twitter and mobile, including SMS text messages. Do your guests use mobile, android or iphones?
- If your hotel does not have a significant online or social media presence. How much have you invested lately in marketing, re-vamping your website or used e-commerce to sell your services. How regular are you using email for marketing?
Before your hotel jumps on the Twitter bandwagon you might be far better off to focus on these previously mentioned online marketing tools first. If these questions are covered, then we are getting somewhere and aiming for (brand) tracking, loyalty and directing attention through Twitter. Twitter marketing is a task that involves two-way audience engagement, on the part of the hotel marketer creating opportunity to:
- Track Brand and Reputation. See one of my previous posts “Improving your Hotel’s Guest Service with Social Media.“
- Get Feedback. Need an alternative perspective on your hotel services or its website? Blast out a tweet asking for advice
- Drive Traffic. Twitter can be used to get traffic to your websites. Include links in your Tweets to your website, while it has some SEO benefit – even your short links.
- Find Prospects. Make an effort to add active users you find interesting or fitting your market segments. Do a search for keywords related to your hotel on Twitter Search and then follow users. However, interacting with each and every prospect takes a lot of time and energy. As a lead acquisition tool, it does not always reach the audience you want; it is extremely difficult to target a specific subset of the general demographic and determine their level of potential interest. You could prefer networking with influencers who can promote your hotel brand. Which celebrity recently stayed in your Hotel?
- Notify Your Customers. Set up a Twitter feed for the specific purpose of notifying customers when new promotions are launched or inform on-resort happenings.
In conclusion, you should use Twitter as a relationship building tool. After you have created the trust and have built the relationships you will find your sales increasing. Although I remain skeptical of Twitter – creating relationships is the most valuable attribute of all. Whether it will remain part of our daily activities when we are done giving it a trial run remains to be seen, but for now we will give it a good shot.
And yes…please do follow me on Twitter!
Is Twitter worthwhile for your Hotel? Comments underneath!