Is Twitter costing hotels?

We all know that social media is playing a stronger and stronger role in the hotel industry.  More and more hotels are getting involved with Facebook, Twitter and the like, but how are guests taking advantage of this social media revolution?

One viewpoint which I am hearing more and more frequently is that travellers are posting their complaints and negative comments onto Twitter as quickly as possible, in the hope that the hotel responds quickly.  After all, I’d prefer a free room upgrade now, rather than complaining post stay and seeing what I get.  But is this really happening out there right now and are guests rewarded by doing this?

It’s true that negative press in social media can affect a hotel directly and with big impact (I’m thinking of TripAdvisor of course), and they need to carefully manage this.  You will see just by looking at TripAdvisor that there are now so many property managers responding to comments and thanking those that are good, that this is clearly one channel that hotel managers watch carefully.

So how does this kind of complaint work?  I am sure that the majority of hotels are not monitoring the web 24/7  for any snippet of feedback that may appear.  In fact, I am sure that it’s the complaint maker who shows the hotel what they are doing, and want the hotel to respond accordingly.

I’d love to hear from hoteliers as to their experiences with this kind of feedback and use of social media, so please leave comments.

I am sure though that the benefits of social media are still far outweighing that of the negative press that it sometimes attracts.


4 thoughts on “Is Twitter costing hotels?

  1. I part-own a small/medium property in north London. We are independent, mid range and always check whats happening on TripAdvisor. We don’t actual get that many reviews, and most are pretty ok but we have never interacted from this platform and responded to comments, even the odd bad one.
    As for Twitter, we are not on it. Would you recommend it? The world seems to be on it, but not us! Maybe one day. The reason I replied to your post was that actual two weeks ago, a guest asked if we could give them a free room upgrade. We were full, explained this and politely said we could not. The response went something like “would you like something bad tweeted then??”. I was a little shocked. This wasn’t a disatisfied guest, this was a guy just checking in looking for a freebie. I could not believe what I was hearing!

  2. @Begsauce1, i think the answer to your question about Twitter is that, yes, you do need to do it, not because you want to, but because the reality is that customers are using it. It was the same with TripAdvisor, for a long time, hotels and GMs were ignoring what was happening there, but eventually came round to seeing that TripAdvisor wasn’t going away.

    The threat from your disappointed guest sounds quite extreme though! The only way to counter this is to establish an identity on Twitter, TripAdvisor etc, that shows people how reasonable you are…in that way, extreme comments like this will have less shock value.

    The bad news is that today, already busy hotel staff need to be part time social media experts — sad but true!

    • Your right – hotels almost need a seperate head count to manage social media channels effectively.

      In response to the 1st comment, I had no idea I was going to hear this kind of extreame use of Twitter! I hope the guy didn’t get anywhere!

  3. The Internet in the hotel industry has been a revolution. No doubt about that. It has completely changed the way we find, discover and book hotels within 10 years.

    However, how much the Internet has actually improved the bottom line in the industry? Have we seen an increase of occupancies? Average room rates? REV PAR? Gross Operating Profits? While the Internet and social media have revolutionized the way we promote hotels and sell rooms, are we spending less on sales road shows? Have we seen a decrease in sales departments payroll? Or have the savings simply been re-allocated to the newly created large e-commerce departments?
    In other word, if technology has increased the efficiency and rationalize expenses, has it been only balanced by a dramatic increase of all sorts of new expenses?

    Or have the buyers (guests) been the only big winners in a revolution that was initiated by the sellers (hotels)? Have the hotels lost out at their own game?

    I have started writing a white paper about the above and I would love to hear your opinion and experiences. Please feel free to share here or email me.
    Fabrice Burtin

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