By Maiya Wall / Pipeline Social Media

What is the first thing that a potential guest does before booking a stay at your hotel? Most likely, it’s not going directly to the hotel website to learn about amenities. We believe they’ll go to your social media profiles and review sites first. They want to know what a stay at your hotel is like, they want to see more photos of your hotel that aren’t staged, and they want to see what other people are saying about you.

When potential guests stop by your social channels to take a look, make sure you extend the same level of customer service online as you do in person at your hotel! This article will give you guidance on how to bring your customer service skills to your online space.

1.Respond Quickly to All Notifications & Messages

If a guest approached your lobby desk and asked a question, would your staff look up and help them or would they go about their business? A notification is certainly easier to ignore, but you have to try to see the very real person behind the comment or message.

In our experience, guests are more understanding if you get to their concern quickly—even if the issue was completely the fault of the hotel. Do these 3 things:

  • Decide ahead of time when and how many times you will check social media notifications.
  • Respond thoughtfully. Sometimes go beyond the simple like or emoji by typing longer, personal responses, and talk to your fans when they talk to you!

2. Don’t Let Reviews Go Unanswered

Having a ton of unanswered reviews on your social media pages makes you look uninterested in resolving issues or taking feedback. No need to go back and try to answer them all if you’ve made this mistake. Just begin getting to each and every review from here on out. Answer them with care—apologize for any issues, answer questions, make suggestions when appropriate, and provide a way for a guest to get in touch. And most importantly, know when it is time to move the conversation to a private setting.

A good rule of thumb—If you think there will be a lot of back and forth once you answer the review, do what you can to keep the online conversation brief. Answer the review and ask the guest to provide contact information in a private message. Check out our blog How to Respond to Negative Facebook Reviews for further information.

3. Inform Guests About Closures

After a long journey, no one wants any surprises upon reaching their destination. Keep your social channels updated concerning inclement weather, COVID, or local factors that will affect a guest’s stay. Don’t wait for guests to ask you about these types of things. That is unless you want to deal with an influx of messages while you are also trying to deal with the issue. Having information guests need available on your feed will cut down on that. It’s a good idea to pin current updates at the top of your social feeds!

4. Introduce Your Staff Members

One type of post that we recommend for every client is the employee highlight. Social media posts about your fancy amenities & infinity pool are awesome but they are not the only things that make your hotel great! Your employees are a huge part of why your guests will either have a good stay or an amazing stay. Show off your great team regularly! Here are some ways to go about that:

  • Share employee milestones—birthdays, anniversaries, new hires, etc.
  • Share photos from employee outings.
  • Hand over your Instagram Stories to a team member so they can share with fans.
  • Share a post that talks about a team member’s specific duties.

Show potential guests how great your team is before they book with you.

5. Suggest Things to Do in the Area

When posting on social, remember that guests aren’t only planning on visiting your hotel—they are planning on visiting your city. They’ll want to know where to spend their time when they get there. Post regularly about a variety of different attractions. And in preparation for when fans ask questions, have your answers ready. Always know during any given month what attractions are open, what’s new, and what is ending soon that guests wouldn’t want to miss.

When our team provides this kind of attention to fans, they really appreciate the effort. Probably because they could have looked up the information themselves, but we went through the trouble of providing that information for them!

6. Ask for Feedback

Asking for feedback is not solely reserved for the check-out process or follow-up email. There are several ways to give your past guests the opportunity to let you know what they think of your hotel.

  • Create a post asking fans to leave a review or give feedback in the comments.
  • Incentivize fans by running a contest. Each review can be an entry to win a hotel perk or stay.
  • Respond to user-generated photos by asking how their stay was.
  • When apologizing, ask if there is anything else that could be improved on.

7. Share Your Positive Attitude

Our last tip is to remember to keep a positive and light tone! When you are interacting with guests in person, it is much easier to share your positive attitude with them. Online, no one can see your smiling face or hear your tone of voice. Combat this by exaggerating your responses a bit through the use of emojis, exclamation points, reaction gifs, and being a little nicer than you think is necessary when responding to comments. It may feel like overkill to you but it will help fans relate to you a little easier. It will make them feel like they are talking to an actual person rather than a bot.

Final Thoughts

The stay begins online. Let this idea influence the way you interact with people online and treat them like you would any guest that walks into your hotel lobby. When you think about it, your hotel’s social media channels are your online amenities! Make sure they are set up to impress.