Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hotels Are Jumping On The Social Media Bandwagon

CM Comment: Some examples of Twitter is use within the lodging industry.

June 16th, 2009: summarized from bNet -- With all the talk about Twitter, the micro-blogging social media platform, as a business tool, it's no wonder that the struggling hotel industry is now using it as a way to reach potential guests.

When a friend of mine, who keeps a blog that covers restaurants, told the Twitterverse how she had a sub-par happy hour experience at Hyatt's Andaz hotel in Los Angeles, the hotel (whose two-month-old Twitter handle is @andazweho) offered her a free meal at its restaurant. Andaz says it also made sure to correct my friend's grievance - that her party wasn't served enough bar food. How's that for customer service, social media-style?

And not only are hotels using Twitter to interact directly with its guests, they're also using the platform to generate general interest by giving away free stays and other goodies.

Marriott International Inc. (@marriottintl) recently held a "Deal of the Day" promotion via its Twitter feed and Web site, offering one discounted deal per day for a Caribbean, Hawaii or California hotel from June 1 to June 12.

Some hotels use their Twitter feeds to create a persona, essentially giving life to a hotel. The Westin Bonaventure (@thebonaventure) in downtown Los Angeles has given away free stays and meals at its restaurant to promote its business, but it also tweeted about the Los Angeles Lakers' championship run, ingraining itself into other parts of the city's culture. And then there's this: "Why didn't Lisa Bonet lay down her version of 'Baby, I Love Your Way' as a single? We love that song. 'Is that Peter #$@%* Frampton?'"

Some other hotels on Twitter include Shutters on the Beach (@ShuttersSecrets) in Santa Monica, Hotel Carlton in San Francisco (@HotelCarltonSF), the Iron Horse Hotel (@ironhorsehotel) in Milwaukee and the Charles Hotel (@CharlesHotel) in Cambridge, Mass.

While straying too far from business-like tweets, a la the Bonaventure, might not be all hotels' goals, reaching out to customers and potential guests on a more personal level than the traditional press avenues could be a good bet. While people are demanding lower prices and better deals from their go-to travel destinations, they also want better service, and communicating via Twitter or other social media platforms is an effective way to do it.
Read more at: http://tinyurl.com/lxxmhe

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