What Good Is Social Media?

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Even as many B&B’s and small lodging properties are jumping on the social media bandwagon, experimenting with Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, and many other social media avenues, a sizeable number of innkeepers are digging in their heels, figuratively at least, objecting that there is little evidence that participating in < put social media network here > actually provides real reservations.

So, when all is said and done, is there any measurable return on investment (ROI) from social media? Is it worth it? Just what good is it, anyway?

A brief summary would be this:

  • Social media represents a new way that people (your guests) communicate (much like radio, television, etc., have been), and you should get on board
  • Social media (at least some parts of it) are good ways to make potential guests aware of your business
  • Social media provides a way to educate your guests about events, features, specials, etc., relating to your property or your location
  • Social media is a good way to reach your guests to provide them with immediate answers to questions or concerns
  • Social media is where your guests will (most often) provide reviews (formal, or informal), comments and feedback on your business, so you want to be able to monitor it and protect your reputation.

All these areas can be explained in more detail, but much more effective would be to spend a few minutes watching the two videos below from Eric Qualman (@equalman), author of the book Socialnomics. The first video addresses, in a very powerful way, the need to be involved in social media.

The second addresses the concern that social media ROI is very small. As to the ROI question, sometimes the value of well-informed and satisfied customers may not be measurable as ROI, but it is undeniably an important result.

While some innkeepers have reported significant bookings from their social media efforts, others see very little in reservations. Still the return in guest satisfaction is something not to be ignored.