It's no secret that hotels have been slow to adopt the use of social media marketing to reach out to guests. Despite the proliferation of travel sites; hotel and service review sites which let guests share their opinions, and mobile apps which search nearby hotels, the industry as a whole has repeatedly and deliberately ignored the move toward the use of social media.
As an example of what is possible when a hotel does finally choose to embrace social media, I offer the new website for Four Seasons.
The new site fully integrates social media for each individual hotel, offering easy access to Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Guests can communicate with each other, share stories, insights and I suppose, even their complaints, with impunity.
So far, the Four Seasons site represents what is in my opinion the best possible mix of traditional and social media marketing integration. Notice how they don't shy away from allowing their guests to say what they will, via their Facebook Page or Twitter feed, about a stay at their hotel?
The fact is, nearly everyone who expresses reluctance to use social media does so from a fear of allowing unfiltered comments. What they don't realize is these comments get shared whether they are using social media or not. But if they are NOT using social media they don't see them and can't respond, defend themselves or offer a solution. In a way it's like sticking your head in the sand to avoid a tornado: just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.
Do yourself a favor and check out the new Four Seasons hotel web site (no, it's not an affiliate link and no, I don't get a commission.) It's a fine example of social media integration done right and should be a call-to-action for other hoteliers who have yet to accept the importance of having a social media presence.