There was a recurring topic at the last Boutique Lifestyle Leadership Symposium: the experience doesn’t begin when your guests walk in your hotel lobby, it starts digitally.
How does a hotel build an emotional experience through digital connections on a computer where you can’t hear, smell or feel? Just like any boutique hotelier can agree, the tiny details make a difference in how you can make someone feel. Let’s take that idea and think digitally about it:
Find “emotional connections” or “emotional touch-points” on the hotel property
Hoteliers are the first to understand that guests connect with details of your hotel and that is what they remember. Make sure your social media marketing team is doing its due diligence and asking what your staff is witnessing everyday; what do most people talk about? What do most people notice when they walk in hotel doors? What do people chat about positivity on online travel agencies? These answers can be a great base for discovering what focus will bring an emotional connection over social media.
This above photo (left) is a great example of how you can take a simple photo paired with a creative caption and ignite a memory of what your experience is like. The photo on the right is a great example of listening to what your guests are asking about during their experience and bringing it online to keep them connected.
Find your voice and tone
Before posting anything on social media, it’s imperative to determine your brand voice and tone the accounts will emit. Come to a conclusion (and build a plan) with your social media team that solidifies the voice and tone in every single post. Be sure that it is aligned with how your staff engages with the guests everyday.
It’s not always easy finding ways to portray a feeling in 140 characters or less. A great exercise is to hold a brainstorming session with your social media team where you group together a piece of content (something you want to post) and the emotion you want someone to experience. Then work together to determine the exact chosen phrasing you would use accomplish that. Capturing those examples for future reference and going through this exercise helps the entire team stay extremely focused on providing the experiences on social mediums.
Here’s an example of how the same type of content post (a Happy New Year post) coming from two different brands with very different targets, can make someone feel completely different just by the chosen phrasing.
Responding to comments and questions
How does your staff manage negative comments in person? Are there certain processes set in place for specific questions to quickly be delivered to the manager able to answer? What about questions that are frequently asked, positive and negative?
You’ll want to have your social media team or individual sit down with your customer service management team to determine how to answer frequently asked questions and the appropriate way to answer them. It’s also imperative to build a process for those unique questions or situations so that the team managing your social media presence knows exactly who to contact to receive a perfect answer that stays brand centric. That efficient process can mean the difference between an unhappy customer going viral, to a customer who feels acknowledged.
Create photos and videos that showcase your hotel
There is no better way to transport someone through sight and sound. Showcasing your hotel through photos and videos that capture elements that bring “emotional connection” (See above) can invite people to envision the experience.
For example, if you’ve ever been to Jackson Hole, you know that a moose sighting is quite the experience. Guests frequently share photos on social media when a moose is seen out their window. The Rustic Inn (above) does a great job capturing this experience and bringing it online for those wishing to be there.
Whatever you share, always remember that you are making someone feel something: let it be the emotional connection that your hotel provides… and let social media be an arm that grabs them from afar.
Pigtail Media is an experiential, social media marketing firm for the hospitality and travel industry. They provide the online customer connection to incredible experiences at hotels, restaurants, and travel and entertainment brands. Learn more.