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January 13, 2011 Comments (1) Views: 1634 GFR Travel, Good Food Hotels

Twitter: Taking Hospitality to the Next Level

By: Noelle Munaretto

From the sprawling Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, to the Little Inn in Bayfield, Ont., innkeepers and hoteliers are recognizing the importance of connecting with their visitors through social media. This week OCTA caught up with some of the province’s top properties to chat about the impact Twitter has on their business development, their customer relations and their marketing strategies. Read our Q&A sessions with these avid Tweeters below:

Jenn Godbout, Marketing Manager
The Drake Hotel
Toronto, Ontario
@thedrakehotel

Q: How long have you been on Twitter?

A: Since November 2008

Q: How many followers do you have currently?

A: Over 12,000

Q: What kind of content do you post on your Twitter?

A: The content we put online is similar to the actual experience of coming to The Drake. Depending on the day we post different content. We do a lot of twit-pics of food from the café that come from our in-house photographer. People love to share those. Contests also have a huge response.

Q: Why is Twitter an important tool for people in the accommodations industry?

A: It’s another way to communicate with the restaurant, the hotel, the bar, our BBQ shop, and our general store. We’re really good at staying on top of our Twitter and that is key for the hospitality industry. We want to reach out and respond to people in the same way as if they were here in person. It really is the best way to engage with our guests and open up a conversation about our brand. We take the feedback seriously and we always want to act on it.

Q: What is the part you enjoy most about Tweeting?

A: I like to view where the positive and popular responses are really generated from.

Q: Do you have a memorable Twitter story to share?

A: One Sunday brunch, when the café was really busy, we had a guest Tweet about an empty water glass not being filled for a while. I saw that tweet and our managers got more staff out on the floor. Even they were pouring water. The guest then Tweeted a pic right after his glass was refilled saying “thanks for actually listening to your customers”. It was really great to take something that had the potential to be negative and turn it around.

Q: Do you have any unique Twitter promotions coming up soon?

A: February 14 will be the seven-year anniversary of The Drake. During the month of February we will be giving away hotel rooms for seven dollars via Twitter. That’s going to be pretty cool.

***

Jessica Pearce, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
Langdon Hall
Cambridge,Ontario
@Langdon_Hall

Q: How long have you been on Twitter? Why did you join?

A:  Just over a year. We joined because we really saw a change in the popularity of social media.

Q: How many followers do you have currently?

A: Around 740

Q: What kind of content do you post on your Twitter?

A: We post anything from last minute room specials, to new menu items from Jonathan and the restaurant, to new spa products being offered. We also Tweet about if we’re mentioned in a news article, or if we are fortunate enough to win any awards, which in 2010 we have.

Q: Why is Twitter an important tool for people in the accommodations industry?

A: We pick up a lot of guest comments when they’re here on-site. We can enhance their stay and that in turn enhances our industry.

Q: What have you learned from being on Twitter?

A:  It’s a great outlet. We belong to the Relais and Chateaux group and a lot of their properties have taken up Twitter. We learn from what those other properties are doing. And the other properties learn about what we’re doing that’s unique and interesting.

Q: Do you have a memorable Twitter story to share?

A: Recently guests came to stay with us and brought a dog. Since we are a dog-friendly facility we put a welcome dog treat and a written message from our own on-property dogs in their room. They Tweeted about the package we left their dog and it gave our followers a great idea of what we do here.

***

Darren Erb, Innkeeper
The Little Inn of Bayfield
Bayfield, Ontario
@TheLittleInn

Q: How long have you been on Twitter? Why did you join?

A:  Probably two or three years ago. It just seemed like the direction everyone was going so we figured, why not jump on board?

Q: How many followers do you have currently?

A: 90

Q: What kind of content do you post on your Twitter?

A: Most of it is last minute deals for the people who follow us. The people who have taken the time to become interested in us are the first ones to get a deal.

Q: What do you enjoy most about Tweeting?

A: It’s simple, it’s inexpensive, and it gets around.

***

Melanie Coates, Regional Public Relations Director
The Fairmont Royal York
Toronto, Ontario
@FairmontRYH

Q: How long have you been on Twitter?

A: Our parent company Fairmont Hotels & Resorts had their first tweet on August 18, 2008 and The Fairmont Royal York hotel followed in September of 2008.

Q: How many followers do you have currently?

A: @fairmont hotels has 11,610.  We @fairmontryh engage with nearly 2,000 tweeting friends. We share friends too!

Q: What kind of content do you post on your Twitter?

A: The majority of our content is more about friend-raising than funds-raising.  Our content aims to appeal to individual guest satisfaction, guest retention and guest loyalty.  We also hope to engage a greater community of like-minded individuals and influencers who may have never even stayed at our hotel – yet. Still, for every one potential revenue generating tweet of a special rate or offer there will always be more than ten emotional tweets, contests or links to interesting relevant content.

Q: Why is Twitter an important tool for people in the accommodations industry?

A:  Twitter helps us all to rapidly multiply an idea or message. For us, it moves traffic from one Internet platform to others such as: Facebook, www.radioroyalyork.ca and www.fairmont.com/royalyork . It is one of the paths we can take on our journey to achieving guest loyalty.  One of the most beneficial aspects of participating in the “Twitterverse” is the forum it presents for engaging and actively listening to our guests and journalists.  I am specifically referring to the tactical use of hash tag for in-house groups.  This candid intelligence vehicle often proves to be mutually beneficial for host and guest.

Q: What is the part you enjoy most about Tweeting?

A: The hospitality industry is moving more and more towards catering to the individual.  Tweeting is a tool I use to engage with these individuals from my back of house office. Because I am not always face to face with a guest, it provides me with trend spotting opportunities for generating new business leads. I enjoy the fact that Tweeting is about sharing ideas. Nothing would exist if we did not multiply.

Q: Do you have a memorable Twitter story to share?

A: Twitter was instrumental in limiting media speculation and informing guests during the city’s July 2010 black out.  Dinner preparations for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had come to a stand still.  I was able to tweet that our resourceful Executive Chef, David Garcelon had gone to plan B.  We publicly confirmed that the State Dinner would go on, despite the outage.

Q: Do you have any unique Twitter promotions coming up soon?

A: Best for you to ask us that via Twitter @fairmontryh

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One Response to Twitter: Taking Hospitality to the Next Level

  1. […] and hotels have taken to using Twitter to promote themselves and it's serving them well. [Good Food […]

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