Create Guest Loyalty With Social Media
We do a lot of work with resorts, and the lessons we learn from them apply to a lot of scenarios.
Consider “guest loyalty” in terms of your own goals. Though it may seem daunting at first to inspire greater dedication in your audience, you may be surprised at how these principles apply to you — building stronger rapport in the process.
Social: permission to speak freely.
Social media is the number one way you are able to directly interact with guests and potential fans, without needing them setting foot into your lobby. People are able to ask questions, post images and share their experiences freely.
People will create an opinion when they visit your Facebook page or read your TripAdvisor reviews; you can’t control what people post about you: but you are able to create the best experience possible and respond to every review, whether it’s positive or negative.
Respond to every comment and review!
Quickly respond (within 24 hours) to all comments and questions on your social. More and more people are using social to get in contact with companies and not sticking to the traditional methods of email, phone or (god forbid) snailmail. When I see a company quickly responding to each comment, it shows that they care about their customers. It may be a trait of my young generation, but people don’t like to wait… for anything! Immediate gratification is what we expect.
Negative reviews will happen; if it is an honest opinion and not derogatory, you shouldn’t delete the review or comment dismissively. How you do respond to them is very important. This is your chance to show what steps you are taking to fix the issue, or how it is already fixed. People will read these negative reviews to help them decide if they wish to stay with you. If you don’t respond, you may lose a potential customer. By responding graciously, you are showing you care — even if the issue is not resolved. Just showing that you heard and considered the complaint is a huge point in your favor.
Create a bond with satisfied guests during their stay
If your guest is not already following you on social, the strongest time to snag them is while they are still staying with you. Make it known you have social accounts and encourage them to post and review you. Give them specific hashtags and social accounts to visit.
We just stayed in a hotel that had business sized cards with all their social contact on it. We were first given a card after a wonderful meal at their restaurant. Even if your guest isn’t going to tweet or post right away, when they take the card, it’s a strong reminder to post about their fabulous time at more convenient time.
It is important to maintain that link after your guests leave; this is how you turn satisfied guests into loyal guests.
Loyal guests make all the difference! They are people who know and love your brand. They trust and like the experience they know they will have with you. Loyal guests will be more apt to suggest you to friends and family. They are also more likely to have a return visit, whether at the same hotel or at a sister location.
Make people feel special
A great way to do this is to feature someone’s Instagram photo on your Facebook and tag the user that posted it. It’s important to always request permission and give credit to the guest that took the image, and by tagging them they will see that you shared their image. Doing this in a way that makes that guest feel appreciated and celebrated is what it’s all about.
Look for examples
Develop role models! We’re especially fond of Hotel Indigo — their Twitter and Instagram accounts especially demonstrate a great awareness of these principles, and we’ve found that they are really, really cool to work with for that reason.
As you develop that voice and brand which helps guests in an enduring way, you’ll enjoy the fruits of increased guest loyalty. Congrats!