18 May Social networks redirect less than 2% of a hotel’s web traffic, so are they really necessary?
The marketing company BrightEdge has done a study with some worrisome results. First, the study shows that Google is the number one search engine for hotels and that 50 % of users access a hotel’s web page through Google.
Secondly, the data shows that only 2% of users access the hotel’s website after seeing it on a social network.
How should we interpret these figures? Initially, we may be tempted to think that we don’t need social networks to reach our potential audience. Still, if we look a little less at the numbers and focus more on Internet users’ consumer habits, we may come to a different conclusion.
What many specialists see in this study is the crucial role social networks play of bringing users directly from their social profiles to their corporate websites.
So, should the hotel sector be present on social networks? They absolutely should. The only thing they need to do is study the users’ behavior, their wants and needs. This way, they’ll find that social networks bring them credibility and trust.
What should hotels use social networks for? Hotels should manage their profiles so as to create a brand image. The valuable information users will find on the networks are opinions, comments and ratings of the guests of the hotel. It also shows how questions, suggestions as well as complaints are dealt with.
How should the hotel handle its social profile ? Always with transparency. For example, on Instagram or Pinterest you can post real life photos of your rooms or services. – not retouched nor enlarged, so that the user gets the most realistic image possible and won’t be disappointed later on. Social networks specialized in pictures attract their audience with images. It is also a good idea to post videos of the activities scheduled in the hotel as well as to take a tour of the building and show its facilities as well as its rooms.
On networks like Twitter or Facebook, you have to follow in real time the comments users leave; answer their questions quickly and accurately; respond to and resolve their complaints and claims; disprove false claims with hard facts …
Internet users often check various tourist websites to look at previous guests’ opinions before choosing and booking a hotel. This is because they do not completely trust the information given by the hotels themselves. That is why the great challenge the hotel sector faces is to gain prospective clients’ confidence.
Some hotel chains, like the British HIP, offer free hotel nights in exchange for the guests posting comments about some of its hotels. This practice won’t have a lot of impact as it is not reliable nor credible: in this case people will recommend the chain in exchange for the free nights, instead of the quality of the rooms.
It is clear that the hotel industry has to abide by the same rules that apply to social networks; the quality and honesty of what is posted inspires the user’s confidence and empathy.