More Hotels Losing Out on Social Media Promotions.
By Melanie Nayer ~ Exclusive Column
Wednesday, 22nd June 2011
How much money is your hotel spending on advertising placements and online advertisements? The answer is likely a lot more than what it could cost to run promotions on social media platforms.

TravelClick, a provider of profitable revenue generating solutions for hoteliers worldwide., released results of a poll that showed almost a quarter of hotels are not utilizing social media to increase occupancy and revenue per available room (RevPAR).

It's no secret social media has taken over the conversation space. Twitter and Facebook are more populated than ever and consumers are finding what they need in 140 words or less.

"What we are learning through social media is more about our consumer- what kind of trip they like, what they expect to pay, what activities they are looking for," said Claire Bennett, from the American Express Consumer Travel Network at the NYU Hospitality Conference earlier this month.

Only 20 percent of TravelClick's respondents cited using Twitter while Facebook was by far the most preferred social media channel for hoteliers, with 65 percent of respondents using it to increase bookings and revenue.

So if travel companies and hotels can learn more about their consumer through social media, why aren't more of them using Twitter and Facebook as a means to generate revenue and repeat guests?

"Instead of running cost-efficient promotions on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, hotels are electing to increase their advertising spend through online advertisements (57 percent) and paid search advertising (20 percent)," said Jonathan Cherins, chief marketing officer of TravelClick, "It's important that hotels don't rely solely on advertising to increase bookings. Hoteliers should be incorporating a mix of online marketing, GDS media as well as social media in order touch their key audiences."

The poll, which was conducted during a TravelClick webinar, also learned that two-thirds of attendees, which includes hoteliers from around the globe, said that rate is a still a key factor in hotel bookings, despite an improving economy. What's that tell us? Consumers are still looking for a deal. So if the hotel isn't seeing revenue from daily room rates, why are they spending more money on advertising?

"The data from this poll shows that while rate is often a key factor in consumer booking rates, ultimately smart hoteliers need to have better data in order to optimize channel mix, set competitive prices and forecast revenue," said Cherins.
Maybe so.

But if only 25 percent of hotels are hosting Twitter promotions and Facebook contests to fill rooms and fill occupancy, we can predict one thing for certain: those 25 perfect will capture a much wider piece of the market, sending ADRs up and consumer loyalty shifting from those hotels using old-school advertising techniques to those who use social media methods to connect with a wider audience.

Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.

Melanie writes a weekly exclusivecolumn for 4Hoteliers.com
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