Let’s be honest. The quickest way to ruin someone’s trip is a poor customer service experience – or making one of the top 5 mistakes we shared earlier this year on our blog. Unfortunately, bad experiences spread like wildfire. Tweets are shared, Facebook status are updated (including the emotions “feeling annoyed”), Yelp reviews are written, warnings are posted on Foursquare and the stories get shared on blogs and news outlets.
But here’s the totally awesome good news.
In case you missed it, social-media-themed hotels exist now. They’re a full-on “thing.” And no, we’re not just talking about hotels with a Facebook page, Twitter handle or Foursquare devotees.
We’re talking about socially saturated spots that have dedicated their entire guest experience to celebrating the interconnectivity of social media.
Take the Instagram Hotel in Sydney – 1888 Hotel – for example. The 1888 features digital murals of Instagram photos and a special area set aside to take the perfect #selfie when you check in. We’re not kidding.
Recommended for YouWebcast: Turning Your Website Into a Lead Generation Machine
The 1888 is pretty badass, but our favorite example of a socially savvy hotel has got to be the Sol Wave House, the “first Twitter experience hotel,” tucked into Majorca, Spain. Here’s the lowdown: guests connect to the hotel’s wifi and login by linking their Twitter profile which grants them exclusive access to the virtual community called the #SocialWave.
Here at Sol Wave, hashtags are the key to communication; rather than seek out a staff member or call the front desk, guests use hashtags to convey their requests from fresh towels to fresh food from the two Twitter “concierges.” They’re “devoted exclusively to meet guest requests via Twitter and generate conversation in this virtual community, acting as a link between all of them.”
So not only does the Sol Wave House have a dedicated team to support guests’ needs, but the team also takes the time to foster the virtual community, encouraging guests to get to know each other, share photos and even compete in contests to enhance the Sol Wave experience. Talk about taking social customer service up a notch!
Okay, so while these hotels social policies are on the extreme side of the spectrum – they’re borderline outrageous – it’s still easy to see why it makes sense for hotels to provide social customer service. The majority of people on trips will be documenting their experience – both good and bad – online anyway.
And to be honest, people go on vacation to to relax and rejuvenate – the last thing they want to do is leave bed, put on pants, and trek down to the lobby to wait in line for help. Tapping 25 keys on their smartphone to reach a customer service agent however is too easy – and pleasant – to pass up.
Here are some ways hotels win when they engage on social media:
1. Lure the Leads
Twitter and Facebook provide a platform to build relationships. Hotels that engage with social communities are likely to generate more leads than those who don’t provide as much information or open communication.
Not only does social media maker it easier to check out current discounts, promotions and juicy photos, but it allows potential guests to connect with previous guests to get insights into their entire experience and get insider tips.
2. Create Unforgettable First Impressions
Tweets, Facebook check-ins and even Foursquare make it easy to share the hotel’s first impressions. Was there a ridiculously long line when you arrived? Were you welcomed with a fresh chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven like the ones given at DoubleTree Hotels? Now that’s a warm welcome! Pun intended.
The Ritz Carlton is renowned for its amazing customer service;their use of Foursquare has been particularly stellar in the creation of a unique customer experience. When guests check into the hotel through the app, they’re given exclusive tips about local destinations and landmarks personally curated by the wealth of knowledge from the concierge team.
“It’s part of our greater work to make sure we’re connecting with all of our customers in all of the ways they want to interact with the brand,”
– Chris Gabaldon, Chief Marketing Officer, Ritz-Carlton
3. Quickly Accommodate Guests
Social customer service isn’t just appreciated by vacationers looking for a stress-free trip. In fact, social continues to play a significant role for those on business trips; think about the amount of meetings held every day worldwide in hotel conference rooms.
When someone is trying to woo a new client or wow customers, they want everything to run smoothly – from the big stuff right down to the tiny. They don’t have time or the inclination to stand in line and discuss what’s needed for this meeting to be successful. Instead, they turn to Twitter to ask for special accommodations and important details, like making sure there’s a Diet Coke ready for each attendee.
Such hands-on, instantaneous communication is a service hotels can provide to special clients or use to distinguish themselves. People won’t necessarily always engage with the hotel concierge anymore. They might prefer to engage ahead of time on social media. – Doreen Ashton Wagner
It’s important to note that speed is a critical factor. If the hotel isn’t paying attention to their social platforms, they’re doing a disservice to your hotel, the hospitality industry and worst of all, your customers.
Have you experienced social customer service at a hotel? We’d love to hear your story!
Want to learn more about how to engage with your customers over social media? Download our White Paper with 7 Tips to Kickstart a Social Customer Service Strategy!