How Twitter Can Benefit Your Hotel & Why Facebook Doesn’t Cut It!

There are many social media channels the hotels can use, but by far the most commonly used platforms are Twitter and Facebook. In most cases, hotels (mistakenly) put greater emphasis on Facebook and neglect Twitter. Very often hotels that have Facebook account don’t have a presence on Twitter, and if they do, the effort they put in Twitter is not anywhere close to the effort that’s made on Facebook.  

 After working on hotel social media campaigns day by day for a while, I can honestly tell you that it is a big mistake. Twitter and Facebook each have their own personalities and each platform brings completely different benefits to the table.

 

First Date on Twitter – Get Serious on Facebook!

To better understand each platform, let’s use the situation that we all are familiar with – personal relationships. Typically, before you let someone in your life, you want to know that they are worth it. You watch them, talk to them, test them out so to speak. Twitter lets consumers do just that. Once you get to know the person better and you want to have them in your life, you will want to deepen the ties between you, which is where Facebook comes in.

Consequently, if you want to make more people familiar with your brand, gain new customers or connect with people who are more private in nature, rely on your hotel’s Twitter account.

However, to engage and build a loyal relationship with your clients, use your Facebook account.

 As you can see, both platforms have completely different functions, so if you were to ask me which one your hotel should use, I would have to insist on both!

In this post, I will explain in greater detail why Twitter is not a waste of your resources and go over the biggest benefits Twitter can give you that Facebook cannot. 

Mysterious Twitter 

I say mysterious, because to most Twitter newcomers, Twitter is a confusing mess that doesn’t make sense. When I first encountered Twitter, I thought exactly the same thing. However, as I have seen people booking the hotels after interacting on Twitter and all the traffic Twitter brought to the hotels’ websites, I got to realize that Twitter was a very powerful marketing tool with advantages no other marketing channel had. 

  

3 Main Ways How Twitter Can Benefit Your Hotel & Why Facebook Doesn’t Cut It: 

 #1: The Easiest Way to Take Over Your Competitor’s Customers! 

There is nothing easier than looking up your competitors’ Twitter account and contacting/following their fans (or followers as they are called on Twitter).  Since you offer similar services to your competitors, the chances are most of their followers will be interested in what you have to offer, so they will follow you back. When they do, you have a shot to show what your hotel is about and if you are good enough, they may decide to go with you, not your competitor next time they need a hotel. 

Facebook doesn’t have such capability. You can look at the list of fans of your competitors, but good luck trying to connect with them.  

#2: The Easiest Way to Go Viral!   

Twitter is much more viral in nature than Facebook. Let’s illustrate it on example. Sheraton Maui recently sent out a message on Twitter: “Win a free trip to Hawaii!! Check out the Starwood Hawaii & SONY ‘Share Your Aloha’ photo contest here: http://bit.ly/atbAxV”  Since the account has about 2,000 followers, it means that 2,000 people could have potentially read this message. Let’s say 2 of Sheraton’s followers who each have 50,000 followers liked it and retweeted this message (meaning sent it to their followers). All of the sudden, we have additional 100,000 people who could have possibly read this message. Even though Facebook has a share button that allows fans to repost the brand’s message on the wall, it doesn’t happen all that often. Additionally, not many people on Facebook have 50,000 friends, so the impact of reposting on Facebook is way lower than on Twitter. Consequently, Twitter is generally much more effective in creating the buzz, getting the message across, and driving the traffic to your website, blog etc. than Facebook is! 

#3: The Easiest Way to Find & Reach New Customers 

Finding and reaching your target audience is a key to any sound marketing strategy. Twitter is the best tool out of all social media channels to precisely find the people you are looking for. You can look at thousands of Twitter lists that are relevant to your company as well as search the Twitter directories like Wefollow or Twellow for keywords. So for example, if you represent Hilton Chicago and your goals is to attract locals to eat at your restaurant, you could follow the people from the lists like “Chicago”, “Chicago-foodies”, “Chicago-hospitality” etc.  You could also find people on Twitter who tweet about food from Chicago area, look at the lists they are on, and follow their followers.  

One important principle to remember: if you want to be followed, follow others!  By following others, you are reaching out to them and letting them know you exist and want to connect. 

Even though you can find potential clients on Facebook via themed fan pages and groups, it is less precise and much more cumbersome. More importantly, reaching out to the people who are not fans of your brand yet is not an option on Facebook. 

There are more benefits to Twitter that I could go into (and feel free to point them out in comments), but those I mentioned above should be enough for you to realize that your hotel needs a SOLID Twitter presence! So if your hotel does not, I urge you to change that! 

  
Let’s Connect! 

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic 

www.facebook.com/travelfantastic 

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About Lucie
I am curious and passionate about all things social and pretty much anything else I put my mind into.

35 Responses to How Twitter Can Benefit Your Hotel & Why Facebook Doesn’t Cut It!

  1. Aaron says:

    Great blog post as usual from you

    You are indeed the queen in social media travel niche. I have to agree on the 3rd point where it is easy to find and get potential customers, but I must say with the best way of going it is by using twitter and facebook fan page. I notice it because I following a couple of twitter accounts and facebook fan pages and I noticed a lot of customers prefer to write questions on the facebook fan page because it allowed them to ask a longer question although they can do that on twitter.

    Moreover with the combination of facebook ad pages I am sure they will be able to get very targeted customers and viralness with twitter.

    • And you are indeed the best Twitter friend 😀 Thanks sweets!! I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and leaving an insightful feedback (as always!) 😉 I agree that social media campaign needs both Twitter and Facebook and you made me realize that I needed to make it clearer so I added a paragraph to state clearly that hotels need both Twitter and Facebook. I fully agree that Facebook has its place and it has other benefits that Twitter doesn’t have (and it is true that people ask more Qs on FB than Twitter b/c of the character limitations). On the other hand, most hotels don’t see benefits to Twitter and this is why the post 😉 Twitter is excellent for business and I hate for hotels not to see it. 😉

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention How Twitter Can Benefit Your Hotel & Why Facebook Doesn’t Cut It! « OnlineFantastic's Blog -- Topsy.com

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  4. Jon says:

    You are definitely right to say “Twitter and Facebook each have their own personalities and each platform brings completely different benefits to the table” but I wouldn’t discredit Facebook all together by saying it doesn’t cut it.

    Twitter is a great hook for bringing new customers in whereas Facebook is where a relationship can be cemented. Working them both in tandem is quite a powerful combination.

    Great post, will look forward to more on social media & travel/hospitality.

    • Jon,
      You and Aaron pointed out to me an important thing and that is that I needed to add there a part about Facebook because otherwise without it did sound like I didn’t think of Facebook as neccessary component which I definitely do. I think hotels need to have a solid presence on both Twitter and Facebook, not only one or the other. That is why I added there a paragraph and now it should be clear. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  5. You are absolutely right – the only problem is the time you have to spend to write successfully on Twitter & Facebook. We will outsource it, we found a German agency in Munich to do it. Any experience out there with outsourcing Social Media for hotel web sites to reach the American market?

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your feedback! I know that it is time-consuming and the solution for many hotels is to outsource their social media. I think it is a good idea to put it in the hands of people who do just that in opposite to a person at a hotel that has to juggle 10 other tasks. I’ve work with clients that are from Europe and I am European myself (Ich auch spreche ein bisschen Deutsch 😉 who target American market and it works well. With Twitter, you can be the superstar if you only know how to use the tool (in this case if the person handling your social media knows what they are doing). It is not an overnight process but it eventually pays off. Also, it is important to keep an eye on your social media and it is often hard to do when you outsource and don’t know how to do it. I am planning on writing my new blog post on this topic, so stay tuned. For now, make sure that the communication is flowing well between the outsourcer and your hotel and pay good attention to crucial numbers and mostly interaction on your social media. These two factors are a good indicator of whether the job is done well.

    • martinsoler says:

      I’ve set up a Social Media department in our online marketing firm we take care of the Social Media campaigns for independent hotels in Paris, Rome and Barcelona quite successfully. Some 60 hotels have their campaigns run by us and they are quite satisfied.
      http://hospitalitymarketingonline.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/5-tips-for-hotels-on-facebook/

  6. Toni Walkley says:

    Just found your blog. As an oldie have only just got our twitter account and not yet with facebook. Seems I have found the person to help me with your blog.

  7. jorge says:

    Hello Lucie!
    I completely agree with you. I’m the community manager of a relatively new luxury resort in the Riviera Maya and Facebook and Twitter have become our most important tools to reach to our costumers and some potential clients. We also use Flickr and YouTube. Social Media has become an integral part of our marketing mix, and proof of this, is that we recently won the 2010 Silver Magellan Award Winner in the Hotels and Resorts | Web Marketing/Advertising category for our social media campaign called: “Name the Suite” contest. Please take a look at our social connections and don’t hesitate to let me know what you think.

    Have a great day!

    • Jorge,
      Good decision on Flickr and Youtube. These two make a great addition to social media strategy for hotels. I looked at the Name the Suite contest and I love it completely. The idea is brilliant – I must say that it is quite rare to see such a progressive approach to social media in the hotel industry. Way to go! I did check out your FB account and it is really well done. On the other hand, I can see Twitter is being a “second-class” citizen a little bit and could use a little bit more attention 😉 Other than that, I must say – I am impressed.
      Best,
      Lucie

  8. Ener Hax says:

    good article, as a person in both the hospitality space and social media space, i would go further and say first date on a properties own blog with its content automatically feeding twitter and fb. then participating in conversations in both twitter and facebook as it is easier to get people involved there than on the blog

    that way your content is 100% your content and not subject to TOS changes down the road (think Ning)

    great post! =)

    • Hi Ener,
      Really enjoyed connecting w/ you here on Twitter. Really value your feedback. I agree, blogs are additional tool that I’d say should be in a complete social media puzzle. However, from my experience it hasn’t been as popular as FB & TW.

  9. Many thanks for this useful information!

    Thanks

  10. martinsoler says:

    Interesting viewpoint. I have rather found Facebook to be more interactive and more productive for hotels. Having run the Facebook campaigns of hotels like Seven Hotel in Paris, Hotel Abbaye in Paris I find Facebook to be a great way to find new guests and replace the blog concept that hasn’t always worked out for hotels.
    http://hospitalitymarketingonline.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/5-tips-for-hotels-on-facebook/

    • I have been working with both Facebook and Twitter and found different benefits in both. I think Facebook is a great platform, but it cannot do many things that Twitter can. My question is: have you done any work with Twitter for these hotels?

  11. Ener Hax says:

    indeed, blogs don’t get as much participation. we get about 900 hits a day and are typically in the top 3% of traffic, but very few comment. they will comment on those posts in twitter and in facebook

    since i am not real (a virtual world avatar) i no longer can have a personal fb page, i had one and right as i hit 4000 friends, fb dumped me. on that FB page, some of the blog posts would get up to 30 comments!

    as a fan page (which i deplore because i am not a thing and enjoyed giving back to my readers by accepting and giving hearts) i don’t do as much because it is more one sided in my case (as a fake person and not an entity)

    the blog automatically tweets and posts on facebook. people comment more easily on twitter and fb because they are already logged in and bring their online identity with them with their comments. by that i mean that when someone on FB comments, that comment is attached to a more complete identity – their personal page – as opposed to just being a name and email address like a blog’s comment

    =)

  12. Jocelyn says:

    Aloha! This is Jocelyn, of the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa Twitter feed. Great blog post and interesting discussion. This photo contest has been a great chance for the Starwood Hotels of Hawaii to receive feedback and stimulate interaction with our guests on multiple platforms. Overall we have found that having a good mix of facebook and twitter leads to a more successful campaign for our resort. In any case, thanks for using our photo contest as an example!

  13. Robert Navas says:

    You should write a suggestion of other posts for people like me. I discovered your blog two days ago when I was searching, but I am not really into the blog thing. Not because I don’t like blogs, but just because I’m slightly behind to them.

  14. Hey, yes we have been working with twitter too, but I find twitter is more like a “flash in the pan” whereas Facebook is about building up a community. Now I am not saying I am right, that’s just my experience. Especially that hotels is all about visuals and that’s harder to convey with twitter. But am definitely open to better ideas 🙂
    http://hospitalitymarketingonline.wordpress.com

  15. Royal hotel says:

    Full shares are looking for, thank you for the shares

  16. Pingback: 2010 in review « OnlineFantastic's Blog

  17. I was hopeful that hotels would discover the value of social media channels but for all that has been written about how hotels can create “buzz”, target an audience, stimulate website traffic and customer interactions, most hotels haven’t advanced much past “small talk”.

    If a hotel is committed to getting past small talk they’ll have to develop a strategy, trust it, and stick with it for as long as it takes to bear fruit. They’ll need to apply realistic timeframes to each element of the strategy and identify metrics (those that are definable and verifiable) that will allow them to measure whether they’re achieving expectations (this goes well beyond friends and followers).

    Listen
    Learn
    Listen
    Share
    Listen
    Support
    Listen
    Inspire

    • Thank you for your feedback. I fully agree that sound strategy is a cornerstone. Too many people go blindfolded on social, with no strategy and then are surprised they are not getting anywhere.

  18. Simon Taylor says:

    Excellent post Lucie, I completely agree. Twitter and Facebook are totally different and communication though each channel must be different (and often to a different type of guest).

  19. Engueran says:

    Great post Lucie, i just quote you in my assesment on social media, i hope they will see it as a relevant citation. However i do not care 🙂 !!! Thank you very much !!

  20. Great information as always, Lucie! As a meeting planner, I appreciate when our host hotel uses my meeting’s hashtag to communicate with my registrants and guests to say they are excited about my group’s arrival, appreciate our business, etc. I also like when I see hotels Tweeting to other groups the same way. It shows they are active on social media and that they care about their in-house meetings and groups. I also like when hotels continually monitor guests comments–good and bad–on Twitter and respond accordingly (via Tweet and/or in person.) Retweeting a positive comment from a guest is valuable, and as you mentioned, can go viral.

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