Not really, no. Social media is a way of doing things, which applies to everything. In the same way that understanding how to exercise well is good preparation for any sport you care to name, understanding how to use social media is the way that you prepare to advertise all customer driven businesses online.
When I say “customer driven” I mean businesses that have groups of customers coming to their premises and consuming their products. Products in the case of a hotel are easy enough to define: atmosphere, cleanliness, comfort, customer service.
A hotel clearly has elements that define it from other business types – and in this at least social media for hotels becomes a special case, or rather social media for all hospitality environments becomes easy to define by the way in which hospitality businesses work. When you run a hotel or a restaurant, people come and stay at your place (or come to eat at your place), they have (you hope) a great time and they go. This is different from a shop, where people come in, buy something and leave – the hotel’s consumer consumes his or her products in the place in which they were bought.
Social media advertising for a hotel, like for any other business, revolves around people who use that business introducing it to their friends. This is the whole point of using social networks to spread your brand. People come to your hotel, you make them aware of your Facebook page or Twitter feed, and they sign up for it because their customer experience has made them want to show allegiance to you as an establishment.
People within the social networks of your new friends are now linked to your hotel despite the fact that they have never been there. If you regularly update your status, upload video clips and generally get involved in the way that an everyday net user uses the social sphere, then you’ll attract the attention of your friends’ friends just by existing. When they start to follow the links you post and the videos you make, they’ll think of adding you to their own social networks, which opens your hotel to even more potential visitors – and suddenly your hospitality brand has gone viral.
Clearly then the nature of the posts you make on your Facebook page, or in your Tweets, are vital to the success of your social media advertising campaign. As a hotel, you have some clear advantages over other types of business, in that you can post free offers, half price stays and other rewards – stipulating that your potential rewardees must first click “like” or sign you up as a friend before they are eligible to take part in your offer.
A hotel can run all sorts of time specific campaigns to get their rooms busy and their restaurants booming: seasonal deals, out of season deals, you name it and hotels have been doing it for years. Do it through a Facebook page and you’ll be able to ensure that every person who takes up an offer also becomes a fan.