People always like to be asked for permission.
I see buttons, badges and leads everyone “follow us on twitter”
How about asking guests if you can follow THEM on twitter?
As an inn or restaurant, you could politely ask a guest, “May we follow you on twitter?”
If I had a request like that I would say, “of course” here’s my twitter handle and odds are I would probably follow you back as a possible return guest.
While you don’t need anyone’s permission to follow anyone else on twitter, it’s a nice way of interacting with guests and taking a personal interest in them.
It would be important to handle a followback correctly and not send a canned response back and NOT sell them on returning to your establishment, but instead thanking them sincerely for the follow and hoping their past stays or meals had been good.
I would recommend this only for establishments that are actually engaging with people on twitter and not using it purely for a marketing stream. While most people seem to have no problem with the sales pitch angle and self promotion on twitter, most twitter followers opt in for a little social engagement as well.
If you limit it to self promotion only, try not to overdue it. Similar to email marketing, you don’t want to overwhelm your followers with sales/promotion information. Posting the same special every hour for 2 days or more is over the line. (and unfortunately I see some inns and restaurants doing this)
I think it would be important to let guests know as well that if/when they follow you back, you will never DM (direct message) with a special,special offer or package or promotion. Let opt-in email and Facebook handle that end. Abuse of DMing generally results in an unfollow.
You could further put guests that follow you back on private lists http://help.twitter.com/entries/76460-how-to-use-twitter-lists so only you can see who you are listing and to further categorize them into separate lists as well. “Guests with pets, romantic couple, guests with kids, guests who like motorcycles, guests who like antiquing etc.” or in a restaurants case “Gluten free guests, Guests who like wine, Seafood lovers, Vegetarians, Live music lovers etc.”
You could further leverage these lists by DMing (and this is not a sales pitch DM) former guests and saying something like “We just thought of you recently because we found out a new antique show was scheduled to come to the area in April” and then a weblink to the information. Or “We have a new farmers market in the area and we remembered how much you liked out local produce dishes and thought of you” and here’s the info for the farmers market.
You score points here because you are “remembering” something personal about them and it’s not a sales pitch, odds are if the attraction or event is attractive to them, they will probably stay with you or eat at your place and if nothing else its further branding your establishment.