The hotel industry is moving a pace in increasing its reach to new and existing customers, through social media. The ever-popular Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, to name just a few networks, have created a community for travellers to talk about their likes and dislikes, and smart hoteliers are joining the conversation in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Some hotels are even creating apps – available through social networks and mobile phones – to help clients search and book hotels quickly and easily, speed-up bookings and promote hotel facilities through photos, offers and videos.
These apps have the ability to elevate a hotel brand, improve customer loyalty, gain interest from investors and potential employees, as well as of course, increase revenue.
Here we review some of the most popular applications and examples of social networking which are helping major brands stay on top of their game.
Concierge insider guides – Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts
With nine brands operating in 100 countries, Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts has a wide customer base, so in order to reach these customers, as well as future guests, it has created a number of apps for various devices.
The Concierge Insider Guides app, one of several apps made for the iPad, is made up of encyclopaedic knowledge about the 120 cities where Intercontinental Hotels can be found.
It gives users information about the best restaurants, shops and nightclubs in each location, as recommended by concierges.
For android users, Intercontinental has a Priority Club Rewards app which allows loyal customers to redeem rewards for their stays at the Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn, along with other brands.
Preferred guest – Starwood
Starwood’s Preferred Guest (SPG) app allows members to view upcoming reservations and book stays at any of Starwood’s 1,000 hotels worldwide from their iPhone, iPod touch or Blackberry.
Users can also access their loyalty points (Starpoints) balance, view upcoming stay information, including a map to the hotel from their current location, access customer support from around the globe and browse TheLobby.com blogs to stay updated on the latest travel trends and insider information.
The perfect travel companion – Marriott International
Available for iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, the Perfect Travel Companion app provides users with a tool to easily reserve stays at any of the 3,600 plus Marriott hotels and find hotels near them using the GPS function.
The app also allows them to view hotel tours, maps and city guides and enrol and earn points with the Marriott Rewards account.
Marriott has also tapped into social media gaming to help generate interest from potential employees. At My Marriott Hotel on Facebook, gamers can manage a virtual hotel restaurant before moving onto other hotel operations.
On the go – Omni Hotels
According to a company statement, Omni Hotels was the first hotel company to offer both iPhone and Blackberry mobile applications.
Its apps offer mobile check-in, sign-in access to loyalty accounts and mobile reservervations.
Future mobile apps enchancements will include mobile room service, mobile concierge services, mobile GPS and location-based services.
Like many other hotel groups, Omni also has a Twitter account, which has thousands of followers and can be accessed from any device.
One delighted guest recently tweeted his feedback regarding his hotel stay, saying: "So impressed w/ my experience so far at @OmniHotels & @OmniMeetings during #pcma12. Thank U for outstanding service. Omni people make R gr8!"