Tech Expert and Guest Blogger Hillel Fuld weighs in on how social media is changing the hospitality industry .We have all heard the buzz surrounding social media and how it is going to change the world. Well putting aside the revolutions that Twitter facilitated, I wanted to give another angle based on personal experience of just how effective Twitter and social media can be, even for a business that targets high end customers who are not necessarily spending their days tweeting. I am referring to the David Intercontinental hotel in Tel Aviv, a hotel that invited my family and I to be a guest of the hotel for a weekend.I have been following the hotel on Twitter for quite some time and was impressed by the engagement level, responsiveness and professionalism that was displayed. Well, one cannot talk about social media and Israeli hotels without mentioning the Inbal, who is a superstar on Twitter and other social media platforms.As soon as I tweeted about my plans to visit the hotel, within seconds I got a response from the hotel on Twitter wishing ne an enjoyable stay. That was just the beginning and over the next few days, I watched a high-end hotel utilize the social web to near-perfection.The following are five types of uses companies can get out of utilizing social media properly, all of which the David Intercontinental realized and executed beautifully.Brand MonitoringWhen it comes to utilizing and maximizing the potential of the social Web, monitoring your brand is the first step. While before the Web, you could only hear from word of mouth what people thought of your brand, with Twitter, all that changed. You can now monitor your brand in real time and respond to anyone who says anything about you, good or bad. That is exactly what the David Inercontinental did. You can see what I wrote and what the hotel responded in the screen shot below. That response took seconds! Real time brand monitoring.
Customer SupportSo getting a response from a hotel that you are about to check into is nice, don''t get me wrong, but it doesn''t really accomplish anything besides giving you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Once you check in however, getting a response from the hotel in real time telling you to watch a video full of information about the hotel and wishing you a good stay, well that is a whole other story. This gave me the feeling that I had a person to talk to with any questions about the room or anything else. That is what''s called excellent customer support. And it was all done using Twitter. See the screen shot below.
Brand LoyaltyIt is one thing to stay at a hotel, it is another to want to come back again. That is not accomplished by a nice room or good food, that is accomplished by creating brand loyalty. This was done by tweets like the one below. The hotel or at least the person manning the hotel''s Twitter account managed to balance the need for professionalism and a personal touch perfectly.
SalesFinally, if done correctly, social media can be used as the ultimate sales tool and once again, that is exactly what the hotel did. See a few of the tweets that later led to leads and even sales on the part of the Intercontinental.
That tweet is responsible for converting me into a loyal customer. I know that if and when I am staying in one of the locations listed in the map, I know exactly where I will be staying.But that wasn''t enough. The hotel also used Twitter to sell to others. See what happened when a friend asked my opinion of the hotel for a future conference she was going to be hosting.
Well, suffice to say, I had a wonderful time at the hotel and as I left and felt the need to tell my Twitter followers just how great the experience was, the hotel sent one more tweet, which really sealed the deal for me.
Now, it is important to understand, this is just one example of a company utilizing this platform to enhance its business. Social media is a new platform that is changing various industries, and this story proves you can add one more industry to that list.