Hotel GMs were warned that they should employ a social media strategy or risk "losing credibility" at yesterday's Great GM Debate in Dubai.
Martin Kubler, founder of Iconsulthotels who led a workshop for GMs entitled Making Social Media Work for You, admitted that while it was still very difficult to measure a concrete return on investment from social media, success depended on a GM’s ability to “think out of a revenue generation box”.
“Facebook fans are not yet financial assets in the traditional sense, but they are important indicators," he said. "A few years ago a hotel may not have had a website but nowadays every hotel has to have one. Today we are moving towards a situation where if you have no social media presence you have no credibility."
In terms of which social networks hotels should be marketing themselves on, Kubler said every hotel should set up a Facebook page as an “absolute starting point” to their social media strategy.
“If you can only be on one social media site it should be Facebook – this is the dominant social media site.”
He advised GMs to “look behind the numbers” and focus on building up “quality connections” through their Facebook page rather than just trying to get as many friends and followers as possible.
“Size does not matter. It’s about the quality of connections. You could have 20,000 friends for your hotel on Facebook, but if 19,999 are outside of your target audience and never look at your hotel it won’t make a difference to you.”
"If anyone comes to you and says I can increase the number of Facebook friends you have 100 times, you can show them the door. They are missing the point."
He said hotels should think carefully about their target audience before they launched into a social media strategy. For example, a hotel mainly targeting Russian guests should set up a Facebook page in Russian to engage with that audience.