I’d like to thank hotel marketing consultant Are Morch for making the time to take the interview, I know how busy this guy can be! I met Are through Linkedin.com and like to point out how that social network is great for not only making business connections, but leading to opportunities such as this interview. A large portion of our blog readers come from the hotel/travel industry and I thought Are would make a great interviewee for that target crowd.
My name is Are Morch, and I am the author of Are Morch – Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist. Born in the beautiful country of Norway, but live today in Tupelo, MS with my spouse. My background is from IT, public administration, customer service and hotels.
Been fascinated by social media since I first started with BBS (Bulletin Boards). Started my first online business in 2001. Got into blogging in 2008. That was also when I got active with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
I fell in love with hotels in 2004 when I started as a reservation specialist. You learn a lot then what people put into building their dream hotel experience. In 2010 I combined my passion for hotels and social media. And in 2011 I have specialised myself on how to leverage hotels with LinkedIn.
What Areas Of Social Media Has The Hotel Industry Taken To In The Past Couple Of Years
Social Media has really awakened as a sleeping beauty for the hotel family: customer relationships, customer care and customer service are all hot topics in social news.
Hotels started with a little ‘wait and see’ attitude. But some early adapters got on to it, and started the word-of-mouth effect within the industry. There are several gatekeepers within the hotel family. So this new trend had to pass several stages before it was widely accepted.
But when hotels discovered this they also had to be where the consumers where, they started to introduce social media in a larger scale. Hotels have traditionally focused on reputation management. Here your main focus is customer service through social media channels like TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Today where the main focus is consumer engagement, hotels have got more involved in real time social networks.
Many hotels today are true social media melting pots.
How Can A Hotel Best Manage All These Social Trends Without Losing Out
Involvement is the key for hotels today.
First off, all hotels need to identify employees that have large quality social media networks, and find new unique ways to embrace these as champion brand advocates.
Many small hotels indicate challenges with social media due to limited budgets. This is one reason for employees to be involved, and assist in building a strong network.
With employee involvement together they need to define social media guidelines, and a social media strategy.
When you have you build a network of champion brand advocates through your employee then you can start on groups that will help you manage trends.
Focus on your Hotels Key Performance Indicators (KPI);
What Can You Say To The Hotel Owners That Are Still On The Fence About Social Marketing
I am not a ‘doom and gloom’ person, many hotels will still do ok without social media.
We will at some point in time come to a tipping point where the majority of hotels will have to be on social media, but we are not there yet.
Scarcity is not good guideline to follow. This often results in that the hotel becomes more reluctant to social media. I will often advice the hotel to follow the approach I gave in my previous answer.
Do You Think This Levels The Playing Field For Smaller Hotels, Or Does It Make Life Harder
Challenges small hotels have with the economy is probably for many bigger then challenges with Social Media. In my opinion all challenges is just an opportunity in disguise.
Is There Any Advice You Give Your Clients On How NOT To Go About Social Media Marketing
The most common mistakes to avoid are;
- Not to listen
- Not involving your network and peers
- Not following the 80/20 rule
- Talk about your network and peers info show how this adds value. Give 80% and make yourself receivable. Then you receive your 20% back over and over again.
- Not be to self-promotional
- Not respond
- Not have put in place proper social media guidelines and social media strategies
Do Hotels Need To Create Different Content For Social Media Opposed to Their Website Content
Yes, the hotel website is their professional online billboard. Here the message need to be short and to the point. And provide quick answers for the consumers needs and wants. Plus have an visible booking machine on their website.
Social Media is the engagement and response channel. If you put consumer engagement first, then you will start handling customer relationship and customer care in open fora. This will again result in more effective and satisfying customer service experiences for all parts involved when issues arise.
What Are Your Thoughts On The Recent Sofitel “Press” – Good Or Bad?
It is often unfortunate when this happens. But it happens. This is why it is so important for the hotel itself to be visible on social media, and have proper listening outposts in place.
You have to be able to provide proper response, and since most social media is live you have to respond reasonably fast also. Others will talk about your brand either you like it or not. And if you don’t provide a proper response people will assume that the picture that is painted is the true picture.
How Can People Connect With You Online
They can find me at:
Blog: Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist Blog
LinkedIn: Are Morch
Facebook: Are Morch – Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist