How to create engagement from fans on social media:

Having a fan page on Facebook, being on Twitter and writing a blog post every now and again does not always create the engagement on social media you would expect. How can you create more engagement? Here are a few tips:

 
1. Ask questions that are relevant to your fans.
2. Post fill-in-the-blank sentences, i.e. Complete the sentence: Travelling Mystery Guest’s workshops are _____.
3. Ask followers to retweet your tweets.
4. Share videos.
5. Share jokes and memes relevant to your industry.
6. Run competitions.
7. Post a quiz.
8. Comment on other pages’ posts or tweets and create conversation.
9. Share before and after photos.
10. Share photos of guests or visitors (with their consent, off course).

 
To learn more about the basics of social media, be sure to book your seat at our upcoming workshop, back by popular demand, on 6 OR 8 May 2015. For more information, contact Renate on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

Exciting Workshop Coming Up!

To anyone and everyone interested in learning more about the basics of social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, here is an exciting workshop for you to attend. This social media workshop will teach you all the basics you need to know to be able to use these platforms as free marketing tools for your small business or even as an individual.

The workshop takes place at Eagle’s View Guest House and Conference Centre in Little Falls, Johannesburg on two consecutive dates: 11 and 14 March 2015.

Contact Travelling Mystery Guest for more information on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za

Social Media Workshop March 2015

Social Media Workshop

Small things with big impact

On my travels, locally and abroad, I’ve noticed that there are numerous small things that make a big impact in the hospitality industry.

“Sometimes doing something ordinary a little different makes a bigger impression.” –Renate de Villiers

Here are a few things that caught my attention at different guesthouses, restaurants, hotels and other venues:

A normal cup of coffee becomes more special with a hint of nostalgia:

Koeksister

Koeksister

What could have been a normal champagne birthday celebration became a special champagne picnic at the Kamonande Game Reserve in Limpopo:

Picnic

Picnic

Not just the ordinary glass of champagne, but one with an edible hibiscus flower:

Champagne with Hibiscus

Champagne with Hibiscus

A common dinner at a fancy restaurant gets new meaning with entertainment in between. Dinner theater is becoming more and more popular as customers search for new, exciting things to do.

Waiters with some extra skills (like magician tricks or surprise elements) make a much better impression than the usual “can I take your order” attendant.

What small things does your restaurant or tourist destination do to make a bigger impact on your guests?

Let us know your thoughts and ideas by commenting below, or send us your comments via Twitter (@TravellingMG) or Facebook.

For more info about Travelling Mystery Guest, contact Renate on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za.

Getting off-line guests online

Have you noticed how many of your regular guests are not following you on social media? Some of them might be on Facebook or Twitter without following you, others might have profiles, yet they don’t use it and some might even not have a profile on social media. How do you get off-line guests to follow and engage with you on social media?

Here are a few tips and ideas to think about and PLEASE feel free to share your experience and expertise on this topic – we are here to assist each other! 🙂

Create awareness that you are on Twitter and Pinterest by inviting guests to follow you on these platforms with a small gift like this:

Twitter and Pinterest Biscuits

Twitter and Pinterest Biscuits

Create professional notice cards with details like your Twitter handle, Facebook link, Pinterest link and Google+ name to encourage guests to follow you on certain social media platforms. This will definitely also encourage guests to Tweet about your establishment while they are there, as you provide them with information allowing them to tag you.

Consider having a television screen in the foyer, displaying your Twitter stream all day long. This creates transparency, guests will be able to see that you are active on Twitter and they might also be encouraged to Tweet something in order to see their own name on the screen.

Create social media contests and promote them in printed media. This will allow people who are not following you on social media to consider liking or following your profiles.

Add your social media links or at least just the social media logos to your printed collateral – this will create awareness among guests who fill out your questionnaires, read your information files in the rooms, etc.

On arrival, ask guests if they are on Twitter, request their Twitter handles and welcome them at your destination online too. This will make them feel even more special and they will most definitely follow you back!

Create unique hashtags for certain events at your destination and ask the event manager to remind guests to use the hashtag when Tweeting about the event. Also ensure that your Twitter handle is visible during the event for when people want to follow and tag your destination.

Do you have any additional ideas on how to get off-line guests online? Feel free to comment below.

For more on this topic, book a workshop with Travelling Mystery Guest and lets get all South Africa’s hospitality and tourism establishments social savvy!

Contact Renate de Villiers on 082 336 1562 or enquire@travellingmystery.co.za for more information.

How to identify customer expectations

Even though customers tend to change and not one customer seems to be the same, they also make things easier for us in terms of identifying their expectations. We just have to learn to identify it. How?

You would have noticed by now that many companies have employed social media managers who are responsible for communicating with customers via platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And it doesn’t stop there. Then came LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest…and Instagram and Flickr and I whatever else. The point is…customers communicate via social media. Not just with companies, but also with friends and family. They share stories and ideas via links on Facebook, they mention good (or bad) reviews on Twitter with creative accompanying hashtags and they create dream boards on Pinterest. What does this have to do with identifying customer expectations? Well…let’s look at a few examples:

Facebook:

Facebook gives you the opportunity to learn more about your followers in numerous ways. Your followers will only interact on posts that they find interesting or worth their while. You can also view your page insights, which shows you who your followers are, where they are from, which types of posts they mainly interact on, how many female and male followers you have and more. You can also view your followers’ most basic information like where they are from and some of their interests. This should already give you a good idea of what they are into and therefore you have an opportunity to act on it. No excuses!

Twitter:

To view discussions on Twitter and the people’s tweets and interactions with your brand is sometimes quite interesting. People’s title descriptions usually also say quite a lot about their personalities and what they would enjoy.

Pinterest:

I believe Pinterest to be one of the best ways to identify customer expectations, as this is where people pin everything they would like to have and not necessarily what they have. It includes things they dream about and things they hope for like the perfect wedding dress or the most beautiful presented dishes or creative recipes. If these people are like me, they most probably will never have all these things that they pin to their boards, but it’s never a bad thing to dream. And that’s where you could come in and sweep your customers off their feet! Make their dreams become reality with a popular Pinterest recipe for dinner or plan a contest with a dress similar to the most pinned wedding dress on Pinterest. Identify what your customers dream about and act on it.

Need some assistance in identifying your customers’ expectations? Contact Renate from Travelling Mystery Guest on 082 336 1562 / enquire@travellingmystery.co.za for more information.

Practice here:

Have a look at Renate’s Pinterest page and identify five of her customer expectations from the list below. The first one to identify all five expectations correctly will receive a Customer Journey Evaluation for your destination for FREE!

Renate’s 5 customer expectations:

Does your hotel need a Google+ page?

It is difficult to say yes or no to the question whether your hotel needs a Google+ page or not. The difficulty comes in when we think about the current activity on Google+. South Africans are not very focused on this social media platform, even though it offers quite a few benefits.

If you ask me, having a profile with your hotel’s basic information and posting once or twice per week might just do the trick for now. But that’s just me.

Google+

Google+

What are the benefits of having a Google+ page?

  • It increases your hotel’s search rankings and traffic on Google,
  • Therefore you will also have an increased web presence,
  • And a greater subject authority.
  • Google now devotes more energy to Google+ people and page suggestions than on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, so if you are on Google+, chances that you could be suggested in searches are better.
  • Google has made social media, specifically Google+, an integral part of every business’s SEO campaign. (SEO: Search Engine Optimization)
  • More customer engagement via the Google+ Local social features
  • Direct access to customers that you can connect with them on a more personal level, encourage feedback and ask for reviews.
  • Integration with Google Maps which allows customers to find more information like your hotel’s contact details, address, directions and hours of operation.

If you have a Google+ page, but you have neglected it because you were not sure how to use it, perhaps now is the time to at least update your profile and include the most important aspects into your profile, like:

  • Photos with descriptive captions that highlight your hotel / guesthouse / restaurant
  • A link to your website
  • Links to your other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and your blog
  • Videos

Even though Facebook and Twitter are the current leaders in Social Media in South Africa, Google+ might soon be the platform with the most SEO value to add due to its standard integration with Google’s search results. It would be a good idea if you start learning more about this platform in the meantime – small steps at a time.

For workshops on the basics of social media, contact Travelling Mystery Guest on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562.

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!

What makes a customer change?

Experts say that our customers are constantly changing. I suppose it is true, as customers are people and people change. But why? What makes customers change? Here are a few reasons for change:

Technology

Like we have different generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X and Y and more) we also have different technologies that the generations are comfortable with. Some parts of certain generations adapt, others not. They say generation Y is the Twitter generation. Boy, would I like to see my mother Tweet! It’s two different generations growing up with different technological habits. For many of our parents television was a luxury. Today we stay up to date with news via Twitter. It’s quicker, allowing for a faster pace and more knowledge on a wider variety of subjects, which means our customers want faster service and are more educated than ever with a pace that increases daily.

Life stages

Loyal customers, those people who return time and again, also change. We need to be sure to change with them in order to keep them loyal. A teenager who came to drink a milkshake at your restaurant close to the university will become a student who would like to enjoy a beer at the same spot a few years from now. It’s about getting to know your customers and giving them special attention. The guy who attended a party at your establishment yesterday might bring his wife and children to your restaurant a year from now. It’s about remembering.

Social Responsibility

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of social responsibility. If they can be part of your initiatives toward having an impact on your community, they might support you even more.

Green considerations

More and more travellers prefer to stay at hotels and guesthouses that take their environmental responsibility seriously. Do you?

Environmental Responsibility

Environmental Responsibility

Previous experiences and expectations

People experience things and then set a certain standard with which they are comfortable. They also hear about places and attractions from friends, which creates a certain expectation. Be sure to live up to that!

Increased health requirements

There has been a tremendous increase in food related illnesses and allergies. We need to be aware of these things and cater for them too.

Economy changes

This one I don’t even have to mention, because we all know what it takes to keep afloat in trying times. Our customers feel the same. We need to be willing to amend and change with them to show them that we care and we understand. We need to learn to put our customers first – even when it comes to financial stability. They are the ones who will keep your business alive if they feel that they matter.

Travelling Mystery Guest offers workshops on customer service, the customer’s journey and more. For bookings, contact Renate de Villiers on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 079 110 5674.

The different kinds of hotel guests

I love watching people. In fact, I think human beings are one of the most interesting and terrifying things at the same time. How many times do we tend to say that we wish we could understand someone else?

My point is – no one is the same. No one thinks in the same way and therefore no one acts or reacts in the same way. This goes for hotel guests (your customers) as well.

Types of guests

Types of guests – Image from: http://www.lifehacker.com

I’ve done some research on the kinds of hotel guests you can expect to arrive and came up with the following:

The Free Independent Traveller

Tourism specialists don’t call him FIT for nothing. FIT’s are fit to do everything themselves. It’s all about making their own decisions, bookings and, yes, mistakes. Even though travel agents have much more knowledge on certain topics, FIT’s (currently one of the fastest growing types of tourists) have found that the internet allows for many travel planning opportunities. More and more bookings are done via Facebook these days, so be sure that you have someone who checks your social media pages on a day-to-day basis. These guests can be anything from budget travellers to glamour seekers. Be sure to identify their likes and dislikes as quickly as possible and make suggestions accordingly. Note to self: Identify guest’s favourite social media port and send them links to things they might want to see in your area. With FIT’s it is all about internet savvy and engagement through the right channels.

The Foreign Free Independent Traveller

Pretty much the same kind of guest as your FIT. The only difference is that when it comes to foreign countries, the help of a travel agent might still be called upon. They still, however, compare different places and prices – remember that the I-pad has become number one on many travellers’ packing lists. All it takes is the press of a button. These guests need some assistance and tips from your side. Be creative and give them a customized map of your area with everything you know they’d like to see. Think foreign.

Group Inclusive Tourists

These “groupies” tour in groups in order to save some money. The group doesn’t necessarily have the same common interests, but the travel costs are lower. Obviously these guests won’t be your big spenders, so keep them happy by keeping them comfortable.

Single Ladies

All the single ladies, all the single ladies….put your hands up for these girls who have taken the travel industry by storm. Everywhere I go I see promotions for ladies travelling on their own. Way to go for not letting singleness stand in the way of you wanderlust! Many establishments have special promotions running for this guest type – so many great opportunities here! Focus on keeping them safe, helping them meet new people and pampering them and you’ll be sure to gain a few extra guests!

These types of guests can be segmented even further – check out our next post on the different guest segments.

Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment or connecting with Travelling Mystery Guest on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.