Let me start off by apologizing for the title of this blog post – the things that I am about to write are painfully obvious and simply require a shift in your thought process.
My first job in the hospitality industry was with a leading extended-stay hotel chain, and the lessons I learned there have stuck with me over the past fifteen years. This particular brand was very well managed, and brand managers communicated the mission and vision throughout the brand extremely well. In fact, hotel managers for this brand were required to attend training classes at the corporate office from time to time. While there every day we started the day by singing the mission and vision song. I know, I know… it sounds corny (and it was), but fifteen-plus years later I could sing it to you. In my opinion, the brand managers of the chain when I was there were top-notch, but this post is about social media, not brand management.
Part of the mission for this hotel chain included, “where talented people deliver service so memorable, our guests tell stories about it.” Believe me, we all felt like total geeks when we sang the song, but the truth of the matter was that when we all went back to our properties we actually did provide guest service at such a high level that guests DID tell stories about it. This finally brings me to my point.
Fifteen years ago that hotel brand understood that happy customers would talk to each other, and the positive buzz would create more business. People did tell stories about the service that our brand provided, but they weren’t able to impact as many people as they could today. Imagine if that hotel brand had access to Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or any of today’s social media!
People WILL tell stories about the service that your hotel or restaurant provides whether you want them to or not. The secret to social media success is to do what you do extremely well. Hire the best people, offer the best service and be the best hotel or restaurant you can be. Be obviously better than your competition – if they stink the world will know it. There aren’t any secrets anymore. Don’t be afraid to use social media to tell the world your accomplishments, but understand that the power of social media is being so good at what you do that the rest of the world uses social media to tell stories to each other about how great you are.