Should I have a company / personal profile on LinkedIn?

Needing or not needing a company profile on LinkedIn is not necessarily the question. The question should rather be: what do you want to achieve with your profile on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

Looking at LinkedIn, we all know by now that it is a professional platform on which people and companies can interact on a professional level about industry related topics. It is not a social platform, like Facebook, which is mainly used to stay in touch. LinkedIn is used to link people for business purposes rather than social purposes.

You need to decide whether you, as the owner or manager of the hotel or guesthouse, would like to “get linked” with other people in your industry or if you would like people to follow your hotel’s brand. The problem with the brand is that the brand needs to already have gained a certain amount of popularity in order to even be visible on a platform like LinkedIn. Interacting via the company profile is also much more difficult than from a personal LinkedIn profile. Your company profile would for instance not be able to link with people, even though people can follow the brand. The only interactions possible for a company profile would be to follow other brands (company profiles). The usage of the LinkedIn company page is therefore very limited and I would therefore prefer to have a personal profile instead. Why?

  1. I will be able to interact with fans of the brand in person.
  2. Fans will interact more easily with a person than a brand.
  3. It gives conversations and discussions more credibility as it can be traced back to someone specific.

Be careful:

With a personal profile related to a certain brand (i.e. your hotel) you need to ensure that the brand’s promise, values and beliefs are always visible throughout. If you decide to have a personal profile on LinkedIn with the aim of promoting your company, it is important to remember that the profile will then only be used for business purposes and not for socializing. (Not that LinkedIn is meant for socializing in any case). You will have to have a clear policy with regards to personal profiles on LinkedIn whenever they are linked to your brand.

For Travelling Mystery workshop bookings and tips on the basics of LinkedIn marketing for hotels and guesthouses, contact Renate on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

Why your guesthouse needs to be on Facebook

Have you ever wondered why your guesthouse might need to be on Facebook? Are you afraid of opening a Facebook page or do you just not have enough time to manage it?

Facebook

Facebook

I have found that guesthouses seem to have a very low presence on Facebook even after many seminars, blog posts and discussions on the matter. Reasons for this might be due to ignorance, social media incompetence, the lack of time (or effort), the lack of consistency, a lack of understanding with regards to the benefits of social media or just no interest in the matter.

Unfortunately, in our ever changing industry (and fast changing world) social media has become a necessity, as this is the main platform being used by customers to engage and interact with brands.

Your guesthouse (the brand) needs to think like your customer (the guests) and interact with them on a level they will understand through a medium / platform that is most convenient and user friendly for them. In order to do so, we need profiles and pages on at least Facebook and Twitter, as these are the main social media platforms from which guests plan their trips, do research on certain accommodation establishments, ask for quotations and more information and even book accommodation.

I believe these five reasons should encourage each and every guesthouse owner out there to immediately open (or re-open) a Facebook account:

  1. It gives you a competitive advantage against other guesthouses who are not on social media.
  2. It creates more awareness online for your brand as more people will be able to see your presense on Facebook.
  3. It gives you the opportunity to share your story (which forms part of your brand identity) with your fans.
  4. It gives your regular guests and other guests the opportunity to engage with you in a more convenient way than usual.
  5. It shows that you are willing to adapt to your customer’s needs, which will encourage them to stay at your establishment rather than the not-on-facebook-guesthouse around the corner.

For assistance on starting your guesthouse’s Facebook page and for the basics of managing a Facebook page, book your Travelling Mystery workshop by contacting Renate on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

10 Tweeting Tips for Hotels

Tweeting for your hotel and using Twitter to your advantage might just make your guests return! Do not miss out on small opportunities on Twitter with these tips:

What is your Twitter handle?

What is your Twitter handle? (Image from http://www.digitaltrends.com)

  • Keep an eye on Tweets where your hotel’s name is mentioned and act on it. Did one of your guests tweet that they are busy preparing for a difficult meeting late at night and desperately craving chocolate? Why not surprise them with two or three homemade truffles from your in-house kitchen?
  • Studies show that 48% of brand followers mainly follow the brands in order to get discount. Have a look at who the followers are that regularly engage with your brand and offer them a discount voucher to the on-site spa or the restaurant.
  • Use Twitter to share nearby events and entertainment with your guests. If there is a band playing at the pub next door, share the ticket link on Twitter. This shows your guests that you are not focused on your brand only, but you take part and interact with your community.
  • Share links to your other social media platforms and blogs via Twitter, as well as current specials. Your followers will appreciate being first to know.
  • Retweet and respond. By doing this, you not only show that you are interested and you engage with your followers, but it also create more awareness for your brand and it might add some followers to your list.
  • Personalize your Twitter profile. People like to know who they are talking to. Add the name of your guest relations manager or your social media ambassador. The word “social” indicates interaction and therefore guests would prefer interacting with a person rather than the hotel. You may even consider putting a photo of the person on the profile.
  • Promote your Twitter profile wherever possible. Put your Twitter handle (the “@” symbol with your name which your followers use to tag you in their Tweets) up at the reception area, on your menus, and in other public areas in order to allow guests to follow you, Tweet about you and interact with your brand.

I’ve been to many establishments where I wanted to Tweet something about their great service, ambiance or my experience, only to find that they don’t give me the opportunity to find them on Twitter.” -Renate de Villiers, owner of Travelling Mystery Guest.

  • Be active on Twitter. This will increase awareness and it will build your reputation and trust. This also means that you need to interact. One Tweet per day is not going to cut it. Take part in discussions, start new discussions, share interesting things with your followers by tagging them and even try to take part in discussions with hash tags (#) that are trending.
  • Acknowledge retweets and mentions. This just shows your followers that you have noticed them, it will probably impress them and this might in event encourage them to retweet or mention you on a more regular basis.
  • Use keywords in your Tweets (words that will appear in searches) and also use only 120 characters in your Tweets in order to allow space for retweets (i.e. RT @TravellingMG)

Follow Travelling Mystery Guest on @TravellingMG and Renate de Villiers on @RenateTravel.

Happy Tweeting!

Storytelling for hotels and guesthouses – Part Two

Nowadays, with people being on the move, telling your story with words might be quite challenging, as people don’t have time to read. How can you tell your story, capture their attention and have them understand what you are all about?

Sharing Content

Sharing Content (Photo by: Marda de Villiers)

  • Tell your story visually – people like looking at and sharing images. Use platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and Facebook, as well as photo blogs. With the typical guest using a dozen different touch points to research their trips, you want your story to be visible on as many platforms as possible.
  • Combine your hotel’s story with an educational tour around the resort or establishment or an art class that interconnects with your story (tourists prefer interactive and educational experiences these days).
  • Have your audience take part in your story and take photos of their experiences which you can share with them through social media.
  • Tell one part of the story today and the other part tomorrow.
  • Write only a part of the story and ask the audience to partake in a competition to complete the final chapters or to add the visual content to the story.

Why tell your story?

Because “nothing holds attention like a great story”. (MSGroup – Creative Storytellers). According to research the human brain still searches for a story to make sense of information. Stories are universal and therefore they cross the boundaries of language, culture, gender and age. They are told and retold and build a sense of community which in event establishes emotional connections and creates a shared sense of purpose.

By telling your story, you will be able to create emotional connections with your guests which would never have been possible otherwise.

Learn more about storytelling, content creation and social media sharing at Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshops. Contact Renate for more information on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

Go ahead – write your story and share it with the world!

Storytelling for hotels and guesthouses – Part One

Storytelling is a very exciting (and not so new) way of marketing. It has also become a great tool of keeping record in the hospitality industry – especially with hotels, guesthouses and restaurants in mind. Not to mention the opportunities available with this marketing tool.

Storytelling

Storytelling (Photo by: Renate de Villiers. Berlyn Wall. 2014.)

What is storytelling?

According to the National Storytelling Network, storytelling can be defined as an interactive art using words, actions and images of a story to encourage the listener’s imagination.

With that in mind, your hotel or guesthouse (the storyteller) needs to find a way to support your listener’s (your guest’s) imagination. The difficulty of this is that you need to encourage your guests to imagine the correct things about your products and services. Unfortunately this story needs to be true. In business no fiction is tolerated. Your story needs to show guests what you believe in, where you come from and what your passions are. Your story needs to tell your guests why they can trust you.

6 Things to remember when writing your story:

  • Stories are interactive. You are the storyteller and your guests are the listeners. The listener’s response has an influence on the way the story is told.
  • Storytelling directly connects the storyteller (your hotel or guesthouse) with the audience (your guests).
  • Storytelling uses words. Be sure to use the best language / lingo relevant to your target market.
  • Storytelling encourages the activation of the listener’s imagination. Be sure to encourage your guests to imagine realistically (or to make the correct conclusions about your product). Your story resembles your company’s true core, its values and its timeline. Your guests would want to relate to that.
  • Storytelling is a universal thing. It happens in many different cultures, languages and situations. From kitchen table conversations to traditional rituals. Every guest has his own story and somewhere his story will relate with yours.
  • If your hotel or guesthouse is one of those that does not really have much history, doesn’t have a unique feature like a super modern look or something similar, your best storytelling material will probably come from your everyday operational happenings.

Learn more about storytelling, content creation and social media sharing at Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshops. Contact Renate for more information on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

March Workshops

Travelling Mystery Guest has quite a few really informative and motivating new workshops for you to attend in March! The company has also taken your busy schedules in consideration and therefore presents the workshops at your establishment at a convenient time for you and your employees. Now tell me that’s not customer service!

Workshops for March

Workshops for March

In March we will be taking a closer look at the most important social media ports and how you can use it to your advantage. You’ll learn more about the importance of storytelling, sharing relevant content with the right audience, engaging with customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and much more.

If you can only attend one workshop in March, but you would like to learn more about the other topics as well, stay connected with us online. You will be able to find regular blog posts on similar topics, as well as some slideshares and other tips on a regular basis – it’s unfortunately just not as much fun as actually attending!

The workshops for March include the following topics (and if you would like us to include additional specifics in the workshop, please give us a shout!):

  • Creating the best content, storytelling and sharing with the right audience
  • Marketing your tourist destination on Facebook
  • Marketing your tourist destination on Twitter
  • Marketing your tourist destination on Google+ and LinkedIn

For bookings and more information about the workshops, what they include, how much it costs and more, feel free to contact us on 079 110 5674 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za. Also follow Travelling Mystery Guest on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest and stay up to date with our whereabouts.

WORKSHOPS FOR THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY IN 2014

Exceed your customer’s expectations

28 December 2013. Johannesburg. The New Year is upon us and every tourism and hospitality establishment has its own plans for 2014. Whether you are planning on increasing sales or offering more products to your guests, it all comes down to one thing: Customer Service.

Travelling Mystery Guest, a hospitality and tourism consultancy company offering workshops, customer journey evaluations and PR opportunities, will be kicking off the New Year with exciting workshops focusing on South African hospitality, customer service and social media within the travel industry. Guesthouses, B&B’s, lodges, hotel groups, restaurants and even self catering facilities will be able to learn more about the importance of linking social media with customer service and the changes in the average traveller’s purchasing habits.

Workshops will be presented by the company’s founder, Renate de Villiers, and January’s venue is none other than the lovely Africlassic River Lodge in Rivonia. A special thanks to Jan and Magdel van Sandwyk, sponsors of the venue in return for workshop attendance and a customer journey evaluation.

January Workshops

January Workshops

Workshops for January and February:

Johannesburg:

23 January 2014                And THAT’s why the customer is in charge!

30 January 2014                Exceeding your customer’s expectations without too much effort

6 February 2014                Creating and sharing compelling content

7 February 2014                “Face” the “book” of social marketing

13 February 2014              “Tweet” your heart out!

14 February 2014              Google+ and LinkedIn for your small business

Pretoria:

20 February 2014              Creating and sharing compelling content

21 February 2014              “Face” the “book” of social marketing

27 February 2014              “Tweet” your heart out!

28 February 2014              Google+ and LinkedIn for your small business

Travelling Mystery Guest is looking for a venue in Pretoria that might be interested in a trade exchange. For more information, please contact us!

For bookings and more information, contact Renate de Villiers on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za or 079 110 5674. Workshop topics and content information will also be readily available on the TMG blog. ▪▪