Who are you? and what does our company do?

I am the Worldwide Marketing Director of Jannah Hotels & Resorts and Andalus Hotels & Resorts. We are a hospitality management company based in the United Arab Emirates. Founded on the spirit of the Noble Bedouin Hospitality and pioneered with an infrastructure that is innovative, creative and dynamic, Jannah Hotels & Resorts has blossomed into the hotel management company of choice.

Offering leading proprietary technology and evolutionary programs, the company offers intelligent and efficient hotel management services that are focused on ensuring properties managed under the Jannah Hotels & Resorts brand reach their operating potential in every aspect.

A short description of how and why you got started in social media…

We have started our social media channels even before we have opened our first property. We strongly believe in the power of social media for several reasons. Besides of the obvious factors such as real time communication and low costs the possibility of direct communication with our guests and potential guests is the main reason for us to use social media in our Marketing Mix.

What do you believe the benefits of using social media for business?

Social Media offers the possibility to engage with our guests in whole different level. With every post or tweet our guests make about our properties we can understand them better and thereby serve them better. Pictures show us what the favorite views and places in our hotels are and any comments on our products can help us strengthen our service and prevent mistakes.
Social Media allows us to listen to the consumer and understand the needs in real time and if possible adapt to them much quicker than with traditional media. Todays’ consumer is very critical and skeptical – with the amount of offers and products available to all of us it is difficult to make purchase decisions, especially with such a sensitive product as a hotel room. If social media is used successfully it allows a business to directly engage with the consumer and thereby establish a certain trust – also among users who are only following and not actively asking questions.

What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?

By now most business owners have understood that social media is a two way street and that you are required to answer the users times where business owners mistake social media for yet another marketing tool for bold advertising are almost over. Yet, although the language has changed many businesses still focus on communicating offers or products only. At Jannah Hotels & Resorts we believe that this is not sufficient. We are using our social media channels to let our potentials guests become part of Jannah Hotels & Resorts. We are not only introducing our talents we are showing them at their work place at a daily basis. By the time our guests arrive at a Jannah property they immediately feel like home, as they already know us and our hotel and they feel like they are part of us. This creates a entirely new meaning of hospitality.

What qualities do you think social media managers should have?

A successful social media manager has two qualities: He/she is innovative and an open minded person who can easily engage with people. If both qualities are used efficiently the basics for a successful use of social media are present. Then it needs perseverance and constant observation of the changes within the field.

How do Business owners know if their social media campaign is working?

This depends entirely on the objectives on the campaign; if the objective is to gain awareness, high number of followers and high engagement rates are clearly and indicator. If the objective is to drive traffic to your website, success can be easily measured through tools like google analytics and social media management tools. This is another benefit of social media and the entire online world – numbers, statistics and streams are available in real time where success can be measured and mentions responded back to almost in an instant.

Besides of numbers a successful campaign can be easily identified it it goes viral – if suddenly users all over the country or even the world follow your call of action, like it just recently happened with the ice-bucket challenge. Clearly those type of campaigns are the dream of all social media managers, but very rare.

How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?

We believe social media habits will shift even further to mobile use. This will make room for more apps such as Foursquare, Yelp or Snapchat. The task of the social media manager today is to think about making proper use of those upcoming opportunities as well.

What are your favourite platforms for social media marketing?

We currently focus on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We also run Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts. We don’t have one favorite tool – each tool has its advantage. Depending on the objective of the campaign we usually determine which channels work best for us. We also notice that different channels work different on different geographical markets – e.g.Instagram for us works much better in the UAE then it works on European markets.