Twitter is one of the most popular social networks out there with more than 300 million monthly users. However the little blue bird seems somehow to be under utilized by small businesses in the hospitality sector.
While most businesses in the hospitality industry now have a Facebook Page to promote themselves on social media, not every B&B, guesthouse and hotel owns a Twitter account.
The social network has a distinct vernacular that can be intimidating and even disconcerting. Used properly though, the highly personal messaging-based social network can be the perfect place to connect directly with your customers and build a meaningful relationship with them.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why your hotel should be on Twitter and how it can benefit from it.
1. Offer Better Customer Service
First and foremost, Twitter can be used to offer better customer service. While Facebook is great for sharing content, Twitter is more a listening than a broadcasting tool.
Its conversational and fast-paced nature makes Twitter a great place for customers to contact businesses directly, be it to praise, vent or enquire about their services and offerings.
This is your chance to listen to what they have to say, respond and connect with them.
Many tweets are posted in real-time from a mobile phone. Make sure to act quickly and try to reduce your response time as it can affect the way customers see your business.
Is a customer unhappy and sharing publicly their disappointment on Twitter? Reach out and offer to solve their issue quickly. You might turn a dissatisfied customer into an advocate.
2. Get Valuable Feedback
Beyond answering queries on Twitter, hotels should also look for feedback from their customers, be it positive or negative. Like on every social network, users love to give their opinion on Twitter.
Listen to what people have to say about your business, what they like about your hotel and what needs to be improved. Critics can be harsh on social media but it can also reveal something truthful about your business, something no one would dare to say to your face.
Take notes of this feedback and use it at your advantage. Promote what people like the most in your business. Adjust what they think was an issue. Use Twitter as a free market research tool to better your business and adapt your service fast.
To keep track with everything that is said about your hotel on Twitter, use social media management tool Hootsuite. Even the free version allows you to monitor relevant keywords, your hotel’s name and handle on Twitter so you can listen to people’s feedback.
3. Protect Your Reputation Online
Let’s be honest. Social media can sometimes turn nasty. Someone might hold a grudge against you and decide to attack your reputation online by spreading false information.
Scary? Yes, but there are ways to avoid this unpleasant situation or at least mitigate the risks your business could be facing on Twitter.
The first line of defense is simply to create your hotel’s official Twitter account so as to avoid impersonation by a troll. Troll accounts always look sketchy. Therefore make sure your account looks the very best so your customers can easily identify the real deal when searching for your hotel on Twitter.
Search regularly for your business on Twitter yourself. Dodgy accounts pretending to be you might pop up now and then on the network. Don’t engage. You don’t want to draw attention to them or give them more visibility than they deserve. Report them to Twitter using the option “They are pretending to be me or someone else” and block them. They won’t be able to engage with your tweets afterwards.
Someone is clearly abusive towards you and your business? Report the abusive tweets themselves using the option “It’s abusive or harmful”, then block the account. If not suspended by Twitter, they’ll quickly move on to a new target and soon be forgotten.
4. Get the Information Out Faster
Twitter is fast-paced and real-time which makes it a great platform to share urgent or time sensitive information.
Last minute work to be conducted in your car park, free tickets for a local tour available at reception or even the weather forecast. You can inform your guests in no time with just a tweet.
Tweets with rich media tend to be shared more on Twitter so don’t be afraid to add pictures or even a short video to your tweets along with relevant hashtags.
5. Increase Bookings With Short-Span Deals
Another clever way to profit from Twitter’s fast-paced nature is to advertise short-span deals on the platform to boost last minute bookings.
Increase your direct bookings by advertising exclusive offers to your audience on Twitter. Making these special offers available only during a short period of time will create a sense of urgency that could trigger last minute bookings. A 10% discount for a week-end stay or a 20% off for 3 nights next week might just be the right incentive for someone out there.
If you need some inspiration to create the perfect graphics for your exclusive offers, try the free version of Canva. It comes with free templates you can easily customize to match your brand.
6. Use the Power of Social Proof
The same way potential customers read reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp, they will scan through your social media channels to see what people thought about their stay at your hotel.
When potential customers must choose between two hotels of similar quality and comfort, having positive feedback shared on your Twitter feed could just be what your hotel needs to tip the balance in your favor.
When a guest tweets about their amazing experience at your hotel, make sure to like their tweet. But also thank them for their nice words and even more importantly, RETWEET their tweet so everybody can see it on your own feed. You can even pin it at the top of your feed for a while for everyone to notice.
You received positive feedback by email or private message? Ask your guests if you can quote them and share their kind words publicly on Twitter. Who can better sell your hotel than your own satisfied guests after all!
7. Spy on Your Competition
It’s a bit sneaky but Twitter is a great tool to keep an eye on your competition.
You can track mentions of your competitors (you can use Hootsuite for that) and see what their strategy to attract customers is. Are they advertising special offers for the coming weekend? Are they organising events for their guests? See what works for them and adapt your own strategy accordingly.
You can also monitor their situation on Twitter. They are fully booked and can’t take more guests. They have informed their following they would be closed for the summer. Their customers might be looking for alternative accommodation. Get in touch with these customers if you see an opportunity to do so.
8. Promote Your Area (and Yourself)
Don’t push for a sale 24/7 on social media. This strategy will cost you your audience. Relentlessly sharing your offerings on Twitter will frustrate your followers and won’t create the engagement your account needs to thrive.
It doesn’t mean you can’t promote your business or advertise your services at all on Twitter. It means you have to find a way to do it while bringing value and expertise to your audience. Otherwise your following might not stick around very long.
One of the best ways for a hotel to do so while still promoting itself indirectly is to promote its area. Letting your audience know what the attractions are in your region is a great way to stir people’s attention in your direction.
You can talk about things like sites, guided tours, special events or local food markets. Sharing relevant information about your area and community, engaging with your audience and answering their questions if you can, is a great way to show your knowledge in local tourism.
Show your know-how by promoting your area. This strategy will allow you to grow your audience and ultimately your customer base on Twitter.
9. Foster Customer Loyalty
You want your customers to come back to your hotel or b&b. Use Twitter to stay at the forefront of their minds.
You’ll want to be seen again and again by your customers on Twitter. Consistency is key. But be careful, you don’t want to post on Twitter for the sake of posting. You need to share interesting and relevant information if you want your audience to stick around and foster customer loyalty.
As mentioned above, tweet about your area and events organised locally. Share news about your business like rooms being upgraded or the new pool being installed. Tweet behind the scene photos of you or your staff. Let your audience know who you are. It will allow your followers to connect more personally with your business.
And more importantly, engage with your customers. Comment, answer their questions and retweet their feedback and photos. Create a community around your business so your customers would want to come back and recommend your hotel.
10. Join Twitter Chats to Reach New Customers
Have you heard of Twitter chats before? These are chats happening on Twitter organised on a regular basis around a topic. They are free to join and usually last 30 minutes.
Twitter chats are very popular in the travel industry and give you the opportunity to engage with the broader travel community on Twitter. If the topic of the day allows it, it is your chance to introduce yourself and your region to brand new people, some being leaders in the travel industry. Using relevant and popular hashtags can help you gain visibility on Twitter and reach a much bigger audience. You can find a list of Twitter chats here to get you started.
Getting involved in Twitter chats is a lot of fun but requires great focus if you want to engage with everyone as tweets fly like bullets in the air. I personally use Tweetdeck, a free tool by Twitter, to keep track of the ongoing conversation between all the participants.
So don’t be shy and join in!
If you require dedicated assistance to take care of your Twitter account, feel free to get in touch. I’d be glad to help you build your audience on social media.
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Meet the Author
Hi! My name is Chris and I am a Dublin-based travel blogger, originally from France. Travelling from the Shetland Islands to Brittany, from Cornwall to Donegal, I hope to inspire people to make the Celtic frontier their next adventure.Learn more