Location, location, location: the way to the guest’s heart is in the moment
When people post on social channels they sometimes misspell words or forget to tag the brand. By geo-fencing your location you could be more relevant
Take this hypothetical example. A hotel near Old Trafford is monitoring hashtags and picks up on a tweet that’s gone viral using #ManchesterUnited. As it turns out, the tweeter happens to be in Thailand, so there isn’t much point delighting him with discounted tickets for the match that afternoon. Had the tweeter been staying at the hotel, the situation would have been quite different.
Given the rapid rise of user-generated content, travel brands are increasingly recognising the importance of monitoring what is happening at a local level in order to respond in a relevant way.
Indeed, from Facebook to Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram and TripAdvisor, today there are all manner of ways for consumers to post content. Equally, there are a number of different tools – HootSuite, TweetDeck, Reevoo
One of the challenges, however, is that often the conversation staying guests are having about the experience will omit or, worse still, misspell the name of the hotel group or individual hotel. And the result is that the chatter evaporates into the ether.
An example of a post where the hotel name isn’t mentioned
This was the experience of Asia’s Park Hotel Group,which claims that only 8% of posts that provided direct feedback on the hotel’s service mentioned the brand name. According to Gwen Tan, Assistant Director, Social Strategy at Park Hotel this made it virtually impossible to receive and respond to meaningful feedback
To address the challenge, Park Hotels set out to find a solution that would provide real-time updates of guest activity while they are at the hotel. It settled on Local Measure, a tool, which creates a geo-fence using GPS coordinates within a specific area. Assuming the guest social settings are public, and they have location services enabled – which most apps today require – hotels can more accurately monitor what guests are saying and respond in real-time in a far more relevant way.
“By focusing on location it’s possible to pick on the 80% of posts that don't carry or misspell the right hashtag,” says Matt West, VP EMEA, Local Measure.
Knowing that the post originated from a specific location increases relevancy to a business, and they should want to know about it right away.
Other hotels using the tool include 8Hotels and Accor, but airlines can benefit too by harnessing social media posts made by passengers in airport terminals. Not only does this allow staff insight into the passenger experience, it’s also giving prospective bookers a flavour of what it’s like to travel with the airline.
Clarabella Burley, Digital Communication Manager, Qantas airlines, says social media has completely transformed how travelers interact with Qantas. And the ability to respond to guest conversations in real-time is hugely beneficial.
A post from a happy Qantas customer
Crowdsourced content with a local flavour
It’s not that hashtags are no longer irrelevant. One of the advantages of Local Measure is that allows brands to augment location with hashtags in order to capture everything that's publicly available. But by honing in on what people are saying within a designated location, it’s much easier to identify the real influencers.
People today want as much visual content as possible, so curating this locally generated social content, and updating it in real time is another powerful strategy, and one that is working for a number of brands.
A brand website can showcase the view from the top, but how much more powerful if you see how current guests are enjoying the experience?
We know from various studies, for example, that the average time spent reading or listening to online marketing communications is about 30 seconds. We also know that socially savvy customers are increasingly demanding immediacy and authenticity. Harnessing the multiple conversations happening on social media can help to achieve the end goal: the ability to respond to guests in the moment, and create brand advocates long before the seed of a negative review is planted.