By Ardalan Zandian on June 22, 2015 at 8:30 AM
Online reputation management means everything for hoteliers these days. With OTA's hundreds of reviews from real travelers and different social media platforms available to millions of travelers, your hotel is always in danger of losing customers with just one mistake.
A few years ago, these mistakes were mostly about bad services at the hotel front desk or the hotel room itself. When travelers dislike something, they might share it via their social media and you can instantly lose a portion of your brand value (indirectly) and some good clients (directly). In these cases, you better either do damage control or take this as an opportunity and respond wisely to show your commitment to your guests. But we all know how hard that is.
And that's not all! Social Media is now a place where travelers seek through to see comments and pictures about your property. In fact, they might even check your own page and see for themselves how much you care about them in social media. If you don't have any page, that's bad for your reputation. If you have a page, but it's not updated and your posts are not suitable for your audience, then that's even worse for your online reputation.
So what should you do? Seriously! Where should you start?
Well, to begin with, you can start with knowing your customers better. Hoteliers can know better than anyone else who their customers are. You can look into your website analytics and / or your booking engine analytics (which we are proud to say that Frontdesk Anywhere gives you that option) and understand who you are dealing with.
The next step is for you to understand social media demographics to match with your target audience then delight them with your amazing and suitable social posts. As you know, there are several different generations in each country and region. But most of the time, we can say that:
- Traditional Generation or Silent Generation: Born between 1925 and 1942 - They are not risk friendly (or risk takers) and want to stick to good old habits - They look at things more long term and, therefore, care if you as a hotelier, offer them loyalty programs.
- Baby Boomers: Born between 1943 and 1962 - They are used to more risks than the Silent Generation but they still see value in long term goals - For hoteliers they are a respectful generation and they usually give normal positive comments about everything.
- Generation X: Born between 1963 and 1978 (some sources suggest that generation X should be between 1970 and 1985) - Not all hoteliers love this generation as their guests because they don't want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars just to sleep in a bigger room! But business hotels like this group because most decision makers for successful businesses are from this generation.
- Generation Y/Millennials: Born between 1979 and 1998 - They are the youngest generation with buying power (so they can pay for their trips) and therefore very important for hoteliers because let's face it, business is business! (You can read more about 3 Steps to Attract Chinese Millennials to Your Hotel here) This generation shares information and free advice to get followers. Gen Yers, particularly, expect information to come free. They expect free samples before buying, games and contests with prizes (speaking of contests and prizes, you can read more about What Can the Hospitality Industry Learn from the Ice Bucket Challenge here. Interestingly enough, Ice Bucket Challenge went viral thanks to Generation Y!)
- Generation Z: The real question mark for the near future! They are social media extremists and God knows what will happen when they earn buying powers. They are risk takers and are really all about short-term goals. Fortunately for us, they are not in the decision-making age range yet. So we can talk about them later!
Now you know how different they could be and what delights them the most. All you need to know now is which social media platform has which generation the most!
On June 3, 2015, Business Insider released The Social Demographics Report: A Breakdown of who's on each of the different social networks. That report looks like this:
An interesting fact about this research is that the top trend over the last year has been the growth of image-focused social networks — particularly Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat — among specific demographics. In the US market, the data shows that gender, income, and education level have little impact on whether or not an individual has adopted social networking as an activity. But it does have a big impact on which social networks people opt to use. So each platform has its own uniqueness. Snapchat is all about Millennials and LinkedIn is all about Gen X and Baby Boomers.
[fa icon="check-square-o"] To Do List - Step by Step
In order to delight your customers via social media, you need to take these steps:
- Know your guests! Demographics is important, but you can learn even more things from your guests using our Google Analytics integration with Frontdesk Anywhere free booking engine.
- Check the list of different generations above to see what the majority of your guests like the most.
- See what social platforms target your guests the most (the chart above or here).
- Knowing what your guests want and the right platform for them, check out some quick tips about that social platform here.
- Now that you know what to do and how to do it, you can start a campaign setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (it should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and take care of the rest.
[fa icon="arrow-right"] Example 1
Let's say that you have checked your guests over the past year and you have noticed that the majority of them are on a business trip and aged between 35 and 55 (Generation X and Boomers). This means that they are more likely to use LinkedIn since 22% of LinkedIn users are aged 35-44. One quick look at this blog post, and you can learn how to use LinkedIn to create a professional post (from the hotel manager or someone with a great network working at the hotel) and encourage your travelers to check your posts on LinkedIn. You also know that Baby Boomers and Generation X care about saving money. Therefore, you can share some discounted packages via your LinkedIn profile and connect to your customers to delight them. This way, you have targeted the right audience, and you have treated them the way they want. Everybody wins!
[fa icon="arrow-right"] Example 2
Your property targets young couples. They are usually between 18-34. This means that in this chart, you need to look for both blue and red colors. Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest have the majority of these ages. Most of these platforms target pictures and short clips. Maybe it's not a good idea to have a profile in all those platforms just to have a presence, but you can have some marketing promotion campaigns there. From paid ads to other common techniques.
On the other hand, Facebook has a billion users so 16% and 22% for Facebook is still a lot. But Facebook users are not all about the young generations. In fact, Generation Silent (as we discussed above) are more active in Facebook than any other platform. So posting something in Facebook should be all about moderation. You can use some good pictures in your posts to engage younger generations and at the same time use some promo codes or discounts in your posts to keep older generations also interested.
Social media can be really tricky. And doing all this research could be really frustrating. Not to mention that at the end you will never be sure what is the right strategy to implement. How to do it is another issue! It needs resources, time, commitment and money for sure.
So is it really WORTH IT?
The answer is YES! OF COURSE! This is what you call Online Reputation Management.
Every year we see new hotels and hospitality properties entering this market with competitive pricing. If you don't work on these competitive advantages, what else can you rely on in the future? Young generations are becoming more and more involved in social media and you learned from this blog post, they tend to think about short term goals and care less about being loyal to a business just for the sake of loyalty. So these small things might make all the difference. Also, your hotel demographic research and tasks-to-do for your social media strategies, are just like a fixed cost. After a while, you will easily get a hang of it and manage it without taking too much of your time. Consistency is key! Social media tools are in the market and they can also be a great help. Not to mention how cheap most of them are.
Request a live demo from us to see how our Cloud-based PMS Software can save you time managing your property and give you more information about your guests with demographics analytics.