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Rant: Does Anybody Care About Hotel Facebook Pages?

February 5, 2013 at 1:26 PM | by | Comments (6)

OK, we'll start this rant by acknowledging that, in general, there are elements of social media that get on our nerves, so you'll have to excuse us if at times we seem a little biased. However, the topic we're covering today concerns a very particular kind of social media: hotel Facebook pages.

Pretty much every hotel opening these days has one, but what exactly do they accomplish? And does anybody care what they have to say?

A few recent examples come to mind: QT Gold Coast wondered what we thought of JLo's manicure at the Golden Globes. Over in New York, Hotel BPM felt like sharing how "hot" they think Rihanna looks in the current issue of Rolling Stone. And though it hasn't even opened yet, The Quin Hotel is "recommending" the Michael Kors Spring 2013 womenswear line.

Maybe we're just not hip to the groove, but can someone please explain how these status updates have anything to do with the hotels themselves?

In our experience, hotel status updates generally fall into one of five categories:
· Links to flattering articles.
· Enticing photos that make you want to pack up and go (Shangri-La are particularly good at this).
· Promotions, contests, and special offers.
· News and announcements.
· Seemingly irrelevant links, polls, and trivia (ie, a recent InterContinental survey asking, "What is your go-to macaron flavour?")

 

Now, these seemingly unrelated musings aren't always a drag. For example, when Tune Hotels offers up a "Fun Fact Friday," we kind of enjoy learning that the Malay word sepak can mean both 'slap' and 'kick.' We probably wouldn't have known that otherwise! And sometimes, places like Soho Grand will link to their own blog, which contains useful tips like a "NYC's Best Dive Bars" guide.

But it still doesn't help us understand the basic point of a hotel Facebook page. Is it just another way for fans to connect to the hotel? Are we better informed as travelers and prospective hotel guests? Are folks just bored at work and looking for something to click on?

In our mind, hotel Facebook pages are just a different form of advertisement, and if they get you to click on their links, or "like" something, then they've done their job. And as we said, part of our frustration stems from a larger dissatisfaction with social media culture in general. But when you have 24-word run-on status updates that read "Big windows BIG Views #newyork #nycskyline #ontopoftheworld #hotelamericano #travel #design #designhotels #boutique #instagood #photooftheday #instamood #iphonesia #igers #picoftheday #instadaily #iphoneonly #igdaily #bestoftheday #webstagram #igaddict #instago #instagramers #hotelrooms," you have to wonder if we all might just be better off editing certain hotel pages out of our Facebook news feeds altogether.

Thoughts? Comments? Take a moment and sound off in the comments below!

Comments (6)

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Good point - social media fatigue

You make some good points, in that many businesses (not just hotels) misuse social media. I say they're should be some sort of social media mediating agency for businesses or something (yea, that'll happen). At the very least, some good practices manual or a usefulness rating system so that people know whether writing off a hotel facebook page is the right move or not.

As a business what does a hotel gain from having a Facebook page, what can they do on it that they cannot already do on their own site?

And where does having a blog fit in all this? A blog is an essential part of building a business's online identity but does having a blog also presumes having a Facebook window?

Wolf Logic


It's all about connection

What a hotel gains from having a Facebook page, if managed correctly, is giving actual "fans" a place to connect with and recommend the hotel experience to their peers.

Some of this could be done on the hotel's site, in theory, but it's the concept of going where the customers are - if people are already expressing likes and dislikes and sharing photos and checking in on Facebook, hotels would be crazy not to give supporters a chance to give them a virtual "thumbs up" there.

Also, as writers and readers of this site know well, some hotels really DO create such a memorable experience that guests feel emotionally connected to them - and this allows an interactive dialogue to exist between the hotel and its hard-won supporters.

Granted, it's not the impartial world of Tripadvisor, but rather the realm of the fan and the evangelist.


Facebook - The most overated bit of advertising?

I for one feel that the whole Facebook marketing angle is over hyped and soon most folks will realise that they are actually just assisting (sometimes by being bribed with a free something) in doing unpaid advertising for a brand. I would agree that if you have a great experience then certainly tell the world, but why on earth do my friends, associates and hangers on,  all over the globe care that a bar in Montreal offers great cocktails on the night I am in there? I for one would not suddenly drop everything to get my arse in there!

The continuing commercialistaion of Facebook will be the death of it for many users....

As for 'liking' dish soap or dog biscuits, hotels or airlines....social media fatigue is certainly upon us.


QT loves this article!

Thanks so much for citing us in your article. We love that you read our pages. We also love that people who like fashion and a bit of controversy will now take an interest in our pages and we'll get a run of new fans from it (was that your plan all along? Was this like when the boy pulls the girls pigtails in the schoolyard so that she will give him a kiss?).

It's ok for you not to like it! That's part of the fun.

We work to make money, we socialise to be entertained. Fans on our pages who get their nails done at our spaQ day spa love nail art. They love this post and confirm that by liking it on the page. Every girl who is hoping for a diamond this Valentine's Day identifies with the rings. It's cool to be aspirational for high level bling. That's our brand!

Yesterday we had over 450 actions on a facebook post of a really colourful cake (fed through from our Pinterest page), which led us to understand that the fans would like to see this in our Bazaar Marketplace dining option. Making people happy by giving them access to new information is good for the depth of your brands reach into a consumers life and you can learn a little something along the way.

You're absolutely right about the website part. We do have our standard info on there. Along with our booking engine.  We also have a link to a virtual concierge Ipad application and fashion/art/lifestyle/entertainment blogs which people read, share, and love.  

To maintain a bit of mystery we will just say to you that it's working for us. The QT diet is definitely one part old school hospitality glamour and 4 parts new school aspirational bling (like J-Lo's nails!).

It's really fascinating when you allow yourself to listen to what the people want, and not be frightened to analyse where you haven't hit the mark, and the social space is so seamless in its reporting that you always know what works and what doesn't. It changes everyday, as do the wants of our fans and we are delighted that they are inviting us to be part of their down time.

I'm going to post this on our pages now, and let all our fans know we are famous just by posting J-Lo's nails! So fun.

Sas
QT


Love-Hate

I use FB a lot for work (duh) and here's what I like/use on the hotel facebook pages:

  1. Big photos (bigger than their website which is wrong but that's another issue)

  2. Guest comments: I like to see what people say about their stay, good and especially bad.

  3. Sneak peeks: especially for hotels that have yet to open

  4. Property info: renovations, new bars, pool closings, etc. This actually is way more useful in Las Vegas where the properties are so big and there's so much turnover in F&B.

However, I agree with you about the hotels that just use FB to post something good about their property instead of something useful. What's worse are the bots that some hotels employ to run their pages. I'm not naming names but it has the words inter and continental in the name.


Two cents

Really not a fan of hotels that stick to one style of content. It's ok for a campaign, not long term. Langham are the king of this. They encourage engagement by asking on each and EVERY post to "LIKE" or "SHARE" etc. This is boring and does nothing to tell a story about what they're about. They've not tried to build their voice but have simply gone for cheap grabs. It is not memorable and does not build authority in a place, where their competitors are striving to do so.

The pattern forming with the larger chains is that social strategy is coming from a global head office that is unaware of local trends. You need to be able to tap into what is happening locally and move with how your market moves, not that of another cities or countries.

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