Since I work for a hotel company the idea of hotels in social media has me kicking around some concepts about what might work. It is important to note that not all hotels or hotel brands are created equal. For example Hilton has everything from the humble Hampton Inn in a small town to one of the most recognizable hotels in the world in the Waldorf=Astoria in NYC. These are very different brand voices that need to be molded to fit the expectations of the target audience. These comments are not intended to be “law” but ideas to be debated, tested and validated.
My audience is…
One of the biggest problems I have noticed with the hotels that are active on Twitter is they seem to have no idea who they are talking to. An audience for any given hotel could be sliced many different ways with many different demographics. It is important to know who is interested in your hotel and cultivate the relationships with those that can influence decision makers to stay at your property. You need to understand that business travelers, families, meeting planners, CVB, Chambers of Commerce, travel agents, reporters, etc. want to know more about your property. Keep in mind that you have many different customer types with different motivations checking in to see what you are up to. This should provide plenty of opportunities to shape your messages.
Who are these people?
It is imperative that you review the followers on your account. Number of followers do not mean anything, so don’t get caught in the trap of finding lots of people to follow you. When you review your followers some clearly identify themselves, make note of who they are and who they are affiliated with. If you find you have a healthy number of travel agents following then take advantage of the opportunity. They want to know about your property and the more you can do to sell your property the better.
I’m getting a grown-up voice now.
Many hotels have younger employees manage the Twitter account. General Managers need to regularly review what is being said and help these employees shape the “voice” of the hotel. Additionally you don’t want to move away from the overall brand identity. There are some hotels that are able to translate their brand and hotel voice online successfully. I am fond of the @HiltonSedona and @HiltonCancun for providing a nice balance.