Personalised relationships between hotels and guests made on Facebook
By using social media such as Facebook and smartphone apps, hotels are hoping to bring back direct bookings from guests who had been using online travel agencies, especially since hotels make more money if guests book direct rather than via an OTA. The idea, explains David Godsman, vice president for global Web services for Starwood Hotels, is “to be there when someone transforms the recommendations of their friends into booking a reservation. If they press the ‘Like’ button, we want to start a conversation.” Starwood currently has Facebook pages for around 1,000 properties spanning its nine brands.
Hotels have to make their booking engines visible wherever the potential guests are, rather than expecting them to have to look for them. Through social media, hotels can find out personalised preferences, such as the pillows, minibar drinks or type of room guests prefer. That stimulates loyalty. Ivanka Trump of the Trump Hotel Collection explains that if guests make reservations though Facebook, a hotel representative contacts them to ask them to tick off a list of their personal preferences, from the newspapers they would like to be delivered to their preferred room temperature.
The New York Times
[pictured: Trump Ocean Club, International Hotel & Tower, Panama]