Every day, more and more hotels are realizing the huge, widely untapped, market that social media holds. From hosting public tweet chats to "liking" new Facebook offerings as soon as they roll out, hotels are becoming early adoptors in the battle over social savvy travelers.
Here are four ways they're making social media their own:
Casting a Smaller Net
Twitter has been around for some time now, but many hotels are now using it in new, untraditional ways. While Twitter can reach a wide audience, some resorts are using it to reach a very segmented group.
Omni Hotels and Resorts created a separate Twitter account to market its meeting & convention offerings while the Wyndham Orange County is using Twitter to reach event professionals as well. In November 2010, Wyndham Orange County held a "Make Your Own Meeting" Twitter contest with a two-fold purpose - to call attention to its newly refurbished event space and to discover just what planners are looking for.
Michele Reyner, Director of Sales for Wyndham Orange County, said, "We recently finished a complete redesign of all of our meetings and event spaces, something the hotel is extremely excited about. A major component of these redesigned spaces is the incorporation of state-of-the-art business and technology amenities for our guests. When deciding how to announce this, we felt Twitter was the ideal outlet to engage a tech-savvy audience, share the great news and to hear from our customers (about) what they felt would be the ideal meeting."
Opening Once Closed Doors
It's something many hotels do behind closed doors, but one resort chain is turning the concept on its head.
Usually, hotel marketing/sales meetings are held outside of the public eye, but Dolce holds them once a week on TwebEvent, a tool that allows multiple parties to "conference" on Twitter. That's right, Dolce holds internal social media meetings in the public forum. And, that's the way they like it.
Michael Goldrich, the brand's Director of Global Web Services and Ecommerce, said, "I think it's important to do it because that's where our customers and clients are. We want to be wherever they are. If they're on Facebook, we want to be on Facebook. If they're on Twitter, we want to be on Twitter. We want to show that we're knowledgeable and we're there for them."
Trying it First
When once hotels took a wait-and-see attitude about jumping on a new venture, now they are among the first to try.
On November 3, 2010, Facebook launched its own location-based discount service called "Facebook Deals." That same day, The Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas announced they were completely on board.
"We are proud to be one of the inaugural participants for Facebook's newest and exciting initiative," said Palms owner George Maloof. "The Palms is always looking for fun and innovative ways to interact with our guests, and by investing in social media, I am confident that we will be able to take this to the next level."
As part of the promotion, The Palms offered guests the chance to redeem special deals (ranging from a free night to a complimentary upgrade) just by "checking into" the resort via their smart phone.
Making It Their Own
Special group-buying and private-sale websites continue to pop-up like crazy and, where once they were limited to clothing, now hotels have carved out their own presence on the sites.
The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas decided to team up with Groupon in the summer of 2010 to promote its spa and salon. The property offered $100 worth of services for essentially half-off.
While declining a direct quote, a Mirage representative expressed that the promotion was a success.