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Old School Ways Your Hotel Can be Social Media Friendly.
By Andy Hayes ~ Exclusive for 4Hoteliers.com
Monday, 12th April 2010
 
I hear from a lot of hoteliers that they're just not ready to dive head-first into blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and the plethora of other social networks that seem to double in size and number every day. 

That's ok.  If you're not ready, you're not ready.  But why not do some things that will make your brand a little more social-media friendly in the meantime? 

A few little tweaks here and there will help you get the ball rolling – here's four that you can do right now:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/waydadreamscape/4135479176

Offer Free Wifi.

Everyone else is doing it, so why aren't you?  The cost of offering Internet for all guests is rapidly approaching zero, and in some cases it is turning into a product differentiator. 

People of all demographics like having handy access to the Internet to research trip ideas, keep in touch with family back home, and sometimes catching up on work.  Skip squeezing out an extra few dollars from them and instead squeeze out a raving testimonial instead.

Feature Customers on your Website. 

Lots of them. Speaking of testimonials, why not litter your site with them?  It's a great way to start being social without going in head first. 

You can have a menu item that features all of them, but then be sure to use some of the best quotes on other pages; if someone raves about the homemade breakfast, couldn't you put that on the page that explains your breakfast offer?   Don't forget pictures – everyone likes to see who they are reading about.

Work with your local CVB/DMO. 

I'm finding more and more tourism organisations who are very much into social media, and for the most part, they're on course.  You should have a good relationship for these people in many ways, so watch what they're doing.  Maybe they'll give you a good mention now and then. 

Listen on the Social Networks. 

Ok, so if you never want to Tweet, I won't hold it against you.  But you must listen.  I breathe a heavy sigh for those brands who are torn to shreds on sites like Foursquare and Tripadvisor without responding. 

You must know what people are saying about you!  If you aren't, go now to Google Alerts and signup for an alert – it is free.  Don't you want to know if your rooms are noisy or the new entrée in the restaurant is bad? 

Andy Hayes is the Managing Partner of Travel Online Partners (TOP), a company focused on helping for small businesses in travel and tourism with online technology. 

To find out more about their do-it-yourself guides, coaching and consulting, visit the website www.travelonlinepartners.com
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