Resort Hotel Social Media Marketing: Two Facts (and Myths)

resort hotel social media platformsMost resort hotel social media activity seems to be based on two assumptions. Or, misconceptions. The first is that customers value social media interactions with resort hotels. The second is that social media delivers all the customer feedback hotels need.

Are these legitimate facts…or myths?

There’s a lot of confusion about social media. [APRIL 4 UPDATE: Ryan Solutions cites 12-20% decline in resort hotel social media postings in 2015. The post below contributes some insight as to why.]

I’ve been looking at a lot of resort hotel social media and gathering a consensus of opinion from content marketing experts, including CMI. Here’s where I’ve wound up.

Fact-myth #1: Customers value interaction via resort hotel social media

Resort hotel social media can include Facebook, Instagram and other platforms. That’s where consumers hang out. So, it’s essential to show up and introduce your brand. But, taking your relationship to the next level will probably require “bringing them to your place.”

Here’s what I mean. Someone might stumble over one of your Facebook posts. They might see your ad. They might even ‘like’ something you said. But, the vast majority are not on social media to interact with your company. According to Kissmetrics, 99% will likely never visit you again. Customers use social media to interact with each other.

Tourists reviews imageIn the context of vacationing, customers want to share information about compelling destinations, lodging alternatives, restaurants and places to see.  And, the most reliable, trusted source of  information about those places is other travelers who’ve been there.

Tripadvisor, Foursquare and Gogobot are among often used sources of traveler-generated reviews and information. Facebook, not so much. (There are FB marketing fails all over the interwebs, including this post that never calculates the ROI promised in its title, or this Kissmetrics post.)

Still, if you use social media in your marketing mix, do it with the intent of earning your prospect’s attention—and their email addresses. That way, you can quickly take them to your place, your company’s blog or email list. When customers accompany you to a channel you own, you can engage them far more reliably. Your posts won’t be screened by Facebook or other social media platforms. You can provide content they’ve expressed interest in. You can listen to their comments and complaints.

These are two of most common pieces of advice offered by social media experts: Deliver high quality sharable content and give customers a reason to share their email address with you. Online contests and giveaways are common.

Fact-myth #2: You can get the customer insight your business needs from social media.

The best way to nudge you toward clarity about fact-myth #2 is by asking you this simple question:

Is any media, social included, so comprehensive that you’d willingly give up all others?

Most people would say no. But, some tourism marketers quickly pivot to “the relatively high speed and low cost” of social media research.

Yes, there are ways to quickly send surveys out on some resort hotel social media platforms. There are text mining packages that can scrape comments. resort hotel social media surveysYou can identify who social media influencers are, what they share and with whom.

Is social media research faster, cheaper or more effective? Any one of these, maybe. Any combination of two, probably not. All three? You’re on really thin ice.

It’s just like any other method for collecting customer feedback. There are trade offs that many marketers don’t have time to think about. This second question might help simplify things.

How big of a business investment are you willing to risk based on the data you acquired from a survey of your company’s Facebook fans?

Probably not a big investment, unless you had corroborating data from multiple other sources. There are more questions to consider, like these for example.

What if the purpose of your research is to create new products and services to attract new customers? Are your Facebook fans the right people to ask? Should you even be asking closed ended survey questions? Should you be having conversations with prospective buyers to learn what their preferences are and the language they use to express them?

So, what’s been your experience with engaging and getting feedback from customers on social? Please share your comments below!

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