Innkeeping and Social Media

I recently wrote a tweet on twitter and it was regarding the prevalence of social media on innkeeping sites, especially brand new ones or ones that the big companies out there designed.

As follows “tip for inns, don’t let your webdev talk you into implementing social media into your site until you are ready to actually use it.”

The funny thing was I only got one response to this

prthatrocks@forfeng – If you want to pay three times as much to be treated four times as poorly as the competition, I would recommend it, otherwise, no”

BUT, I did get a whole boatload of DMs from social media people and some other web developers mainly asking me if I live in the dark ages, i.e I don’t suggest that my inns use social media. No guys, that’s not what I meant and not what I said. Read the small print you are ready to actually use it.

Twitter is great, but you can’t go into a lot of detail. I wish these people had @forfeng me so we could have started a discussion about this.

My comment was initiated by the fact that I love looking at innkeeping sites, from a design perspective it is always interesting to see what is being done and what works and what doesn’t work, the industry is constantly evolving. It’s also neat to see what other inns are doing to promote themselves in the down economy, when I see something interesting I make a note of it and try to mention it to my inns that like to try new things.

What I am seeing a lot of, is inn sites with big fat tags saying follow us on twitter and blogger and facebook etc. etc. etc. BUT there is no content on them or in them,”Yes we have a blog and it’s front and center but we have only put one post on it and that was LAST YEAR! Yes we have an account on twitter and we have tweeted twice in 6 months.”Sorry folks but if you are not going to jump on the ball and use it, when your webdev talked you into this, you should have said something.

Look at it from a guest’s perspective, it’s just as bad as you having a special offer dated on your site from Christmas of 2006, seeing signs of social media that’s old is a little scary.

Yes you should grab a twitter account even if you are not going to use it (for many reasons, that’s a whole other post topic) but don’t advertise especially front and center if you don’t implement it.

My problem here is that web developers are talking their clients into implementing social media on their sites and then it appears they are dropping the ball and not teaching their clients how to and why to use it.

I work with over a dozen innkeepers and several innkeeping associations, so have fairly regular contact with probably around 100 or so inns. Many are still a little afraid of email and to expect them to leap out over the abyss and blog and tweet and embrace social media without giving them support about how and why to use it is just shameless.

I am putting together a series of seminars for my inns and other customers to try to teach them how and why to use social media. I am NOT an expert and don’t claim to be one but if I tell them they should twitter, I want to give them some guidance on how and why to do it before I put a “big fat tag” (ok that was a little sarcastic) on their website that says “follow us on twitter”

About Chef Forfeng

Innkeeping Tip and Tricks: Please check out some marketing ideas for Inns and B&Bs, Blogging ideas, Facebook Tips and Social Media Tutorials
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4 Responses to Innkeeping and Social Media

  1. fishaxalison says:

    Wow thank you so much for that lengthy response with so many great suggestions! I shall get onto that today! ANd keep plugging away! Have just started blogging too……………

  2. fishaxalison says:

    birds ferry lodge new zealand – Alison here – I have been dabbling in SM for about 2 years now and have yet to see any financial benefit for my time.I am however rnjoying the journey & hope that I will be ahead of the competition once my customers get into this space. So far I dont think they really are. However another angle is the networking amongs other related businesses in NZ and globally which is getting our name out there and I have definatly seen some results from this angle. So I will keep posting & try to increase the content on FB in the hope that it attracts some BOOKERS!!! Any feedback would be most welcome! @birdsferrylodge on twitter

    • Chef Forfeng says:

      Hi Alison, tracking guests from social media is hard, because the inn business is not like a shop or a product, People don’t just say, gee honey lets go stay at a B&B tonight because I just saw one on twitter that looked interesting. You may have a guest that you connected with on a social network that 6 months from now found you on Youtube and the name/brand/image stuck in their head and they bookmarked it. So trying to figure out your return on time investment can be tricky.

      I see inns getting great feedback from other inns, ideas, networking and also sourcing from vendors as well.

      It’s important to remember that social media is not just about gaining guests though, the posts are important both from a branding aspect and very important from a SEO (search engine optimization) standpoint. So if you figure out what it would could cost you to advertise say in a magazine with limited coverage and limited shelf life (i.e. $1200 for a color 1/4 page ad for example in a monthly magazine) vs how much is your time worth multiplied by how many more thousands of people your branding effort has the potential to reach on social media, then you have to figure realistically which is better for you.

      A couple of quick suggestions re: facebook, ask questions, and transfer the questions to twitter (where you look like you have a good leg up on already) but don’t rely on the FB feed into twitter for it, actually ask on twitter, “I’d love some feedback on?..XXXXXXX

      Also I see you have some descriptions on your photos, add more text, you can links to your website as well in the descriptions, on rooms photos you can add links to your rooms page as well as booking link, the nice thing about the photo descriptions though is your can write a novel in there 🙂

      On twitter, it might be helpful to people viewing your profile if they could see how many people are following you and you follow as well as how many lists you are on, when I look at your profile page on the right hand side, the number of tweets, people and lists are the same color as the green background so I can’t see them unless I hover over the text itself.

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