During a recent business trip to Brussels, I went through my normal routine. I checked Trover on my smartphone (I wont go into it now, but check it out if you haven’t already) during my taxi ride from the airport to my hotel and once I was at the hotel, I checked-in at the property on FourSquare. I do these two things where ever I go for a number of reasons. Primarily, I like sharing where I am with you all, but I also like to see if any hotels I visit interact with me on social media. I have to admit, I don’t experience interaction very often and when I do, it comes across a little half-hearted. When I checked-in at the Holiday Inn Brussels Airport, I was to be pleasantly surprised.
After a couple of very welcome beers in the hotel bar with a colleague, I checked my phone and saw on my Twitter feed that the hotel had responded to my check-in and welcomed me – nice touch. A simple response makes the world of difference to a guest, especially a first time guest.
A Twitter conversation followed and I could clearly tell that the hotel really had a social media strategy, and they were keeping it simple. Take the chance to interact with the guest – the guests made the first move by checking in on FourSquare, or tweeting the hotel – it’s up to the hotel to respond and add value to that social platform. It’s the small things that make the world of difference.
I also like the fact that this property encourage interaction. Okay, I am a hotel and social media geek, so I was always going to check in – but they prompt their guests to do it – by interacting of Facebook, FourSquare and even to leave a review on TripAdvisor by putting their message on their room key inserts using QR codes.
Pleasantly surprised, I thought that was it. But the next evening when I returned to my room I was to find the hotel really going the extra mile. On the floor was an envelope, with a handwritten note from the General Manager, thanking me for my social interaction, and giving my two complimentary drinks at the hotel bar.
Not only was this unexpected, but it was a fantastic effort from the hotel. this truly is how channels like FourSquare, Facebook and Twitter should be used – this is how to make a guest feel wanted, and make them want to come back. It’s the small efforts of a hotel with a clear social media strategy that make them stand out from the crowd. Let’s be very honest – an airport hotel from a major chain like Holiday Inn – they are all the same (to most guests minds anyway). In fact, even to me, I would not have expected this welcome and treatment from an airport hotel.
I know that IHG (the owning company of Holiday Inn) have a clear social strategy and encourage and give creative licence to their properties, but this is the first time I had experienced this kind of interaction, so I felt a post was just reward.