Hotels & Social Media Conversation: Maybe It Works, Maybe It Doesn’t
Hotels, you’ve got a lot of people telling you how to keep the social media conversation engaging. I feel for you. And I’ve noticed that a lot of those suggestions really belong in the category of straight up, old-fashioned marketing. In my books, using paid ads on Facebook to generate more followers isn’t about the conversation.
Offering incentives to guests on social media technically conversation either. What is the social media conversation then? It’s the dialogue. The give and take. Back and forth. An exchange. A conversation can’t be one way by its nature. Things like incentives and pushing ads are dominated by a one way current streaming from hotel downward to guest. In an ideal social media conversation, I want to see the hotel and the guest floating at the same depth tossing a ball back and forth.
And the more I think about what conversation really means, the more I realize how hard this is for hotels. I look for examples, and I don’t see a lot. Occasionally, hotels that have a big and active fan base have a guest ask an interesting question, but mostly when guests comment, it’s about how they loved their last stay and can’t wait to get back.
What’s a hotel going to open up a dialogue about that feels anything but superfluous to the reality of our daily lives? And isn’t that the point of a hotel? A place to escape our realities. Maybe there isn’t a whole lot of real dialogue needed when we’re dreaming.
This isn’t to say that hotels can’t keep trying. Maybe rather than responding to a guest’s nice comment with, “We’re so glad you stayed with us,” perhaps hotels could ask another question in return, “Where will you be traveling next?” or “What did you like about the property?” Try out dialogue and see if it fits. If it doesn’t, let yourself off the conversation hook and do whatever’s working.