How to engage with your guests on social media?

Did you know that 4.48 billion people use social media worldwide? So it’s fundamental to have a social media presence for your hotel because of the huge potential in this space.

Guests today not only use search engines but also troll social media to make informed decisions about their next vacation. Looking through online reviews and posts from other travelers to help guide their decision as to whether or not they will book with your accommodation or not. Hence it’s essential that you have a solid social media marketing strategy that will entice guests to frequent your accommodation and also recommend you on social media.

So just posting random content and pictures will surely do the trick, right? The answer to this question is an emphatic, NO! Managing your accommodation’s social media is beyond ‘just posting’.

If this is your first time creating a strategy for social media or perhaps you want to rethink your approach, then you can read our previous blog post that guides you through 5 ways to improve your social media strategy.

This blog post will help you discover ways that you can better engage with your audience and help you increase your exposure through social media.

Engagement is key

Have you ever felt ignored? Right or wrong, it creates a negative association that stays with you, and chances are you are reminded of it when you see that person again or even hear their name. The same applies when guests leave a comment on your social platforms and there’s no response.

A golden rule that all social media marketers should follow and never break is, ‘you must respond to all comments made on your page’. Even if you have a few hundred followers, never break this rule. Engagement is key, and if you want to position your brand positively, respond to all comments, but also ensure that your response time is quick.

Use high-quality images

This is often the most overlooked aspect of social media marketing. Make use of high-quality photos across all your social media platforms because this will convey consistency, professionalism and sets a good reputation for your brand. Highlight your guestrooms, restaurant decor, food, wildlife, show pictures of your guests enjoying their experience (make sure to get consent from your guests before posting), and perhaps even tagging your guests on social media, this will increase your exposure and family and friends of the guests will take notice and hopefully plan a trip to your accommodation in the new future.

Stay engaged on your platforms, and use high-quality photos to accurately depict local attractions and essential features your accommodation may offer, which will in turn easily influence search results.

Make use of #hashtags

Hashtags play an important role in improving your brand’s visibility and help grab attention on your social media platforms. A hashtag helps to highlight the social media post to the audience. Hashtags have no boundaries, so people from all over can connect to you without any barrier.

Reach out to travel influencers

Influencer marketing is a profound way to reach new audiences and boost your brand awareness. Most travellers in this era are young and tech-savvy, and leveraging partnerships with travel influencers can help hoteliers reach a wider audience and boost engagement and bookings. 

Research shows that today’s consumers trust peer recommendations over and above all other forms of marketing, so making use of social media influencers can be of great benefit to your brand.

The added benefits are that most influencers are on highly visual platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, and these are excellent sources for compelling and engaging content. Partnering with an influencer can be a cost-effective method to boost your content creation thereby having a direct impact on your online social presence.

There are many ways to skin this cat, and there’s no holy grail when it comes to social media marketing and each approach and strategy will differ from brand to brand within the same industry. So finding the right strategy will involve trial and error, but the most important thing to remember is to be consistent and follow through with all interactions on your platforms.

Increase your direct bookings with ResNova 3

Meet Bob, an extreme “hodophile” (One who loves to travel). After his most recent trip to Africa, enthralled by the beautiful landscapes and captivated by the majestic “Big 5”, he couldn’t help himself but trawl to your website to plan his next trip to Africa.

However, his booking experience has left a bitter taste in his mouth, after finding the process to be slow, and difficult to view on mobile – as a result, Bob, unfortunately, decides to abandon his booking.

Just like Bob, there are many users/customers who experience the dissatisfaction of a poor booking experience. One thing that is crucial to note, is that your guests’ first experience of your business begins with the success of their booking experience.

So just how can you tap into this opportunity and turn it into a success for your lodge?

The place to start is with our booking widget, ResNova.

What is ResNova?

ResNova is our booking widget, which enables you to embed your ResRequest availability and rates anywhere on your website. It offers two formats so you can show your information in either a calendar matrix or a quick search…or both!

You have choices when it comes to deciding how you would like to set your widget up. You have the option of simply showing availability, or enabling the full booking process.

You even have a list of payment gateways that you can choose from, to ensure your guests can make payments during the booking process.

Why ResNova?

Remind your incoming guests thOur most recent development on ResNova, means that it is now built with technologies that provide a sleek and stable booking experience. Just like Bob, most of your guests will access the internet using their mobile devices and with our latest development, we wanted to ensure that their user journey is optimal and user-friendly.

Our new features include:

  • Let your users make bookings in a few quick and easy steps from any device.
  • Customise the buttons, colours, and hover states to align with your website branding.
  • Now includes an integration to DPO payment gateway.
  • Payment plans are now accessible to users making bookings from your ResNova widget.
  • Track where your bookings are coming from by selecting a source per widget.
  • Extended search functionality allows the guest to select and filter properties.
  • Back-office live chat to stay connected to our team, for any ResNova queries that might pop up.

To learn more about ResNova, and our latest features, contact our support team or visit our Learn Online site.

Global Protocols: ‘Safe stamps’

COVID-19 has certainly made most of us navigate this world with much fear and trepidation. From the paranoia of going to the grocery store to even the anxiety of leaving our homes out of fear of somehow being exposed to COVID. The tourism industry was undoubtedly hit the hardest with travel restrictions placed upon most / if not all countries across the globe. Since then we have seen a gradual lifting of those regulations and so responsible tourism has taken on an entirely new emphasis as we turn our attention to the most effective ways to enable our economies to recover from the fallout of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

To adjust to the “new normal”, the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) together with health experts and other leading associations are working together to achieve effective recovery protocols by developing meaningful action plans that optimise sector-wide recovery efforts, according to the WTTC.

The WTTC aims to publish protocols in phases for the following industries including; Hospitality, Attractions, Outdoor Retail, Aviation, Airports, Short Term Rentals, Cruise, Tour Operators, Convention Centres, and MICE, Car Rental and Insurance. Each set of protocols takes into consideration the guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By implementing these action plans the WTTC aims to standardize safe travel by developing new global standards and a stamp that allows travellers to identify businesses and destinations that are adopting world-class health and strict hygiene protocols. 

To obtain a Safe Travel stamp, countries and their destinations will have to share their protocols with the WTTC, who will then validate that they are in line with the WTTC guidelines. 

By following these protocols companies are eligible for a safety stamp that you can display proudly on your website, thereby providing travellers with confidence that your destination has taken all steps to ensure they travel safely.

4 ways to effectively work from home during the Coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is ravaging the globe and causing panic amongst nations. Many industries and businesses are already feeling its impact and the tourism industry is devastatingly hit the hardest. The extent of this impact would depend on how long the pandemic lasts, and while it is human to feel anxious and fearful, it is important to take the measures set out by the government and health officials. 

Due to the spread of the virus, most businesses are forced to change their strategy and adapt quickly to what seems like the new norm – working from home. There is no doubt working from home can be challenging, however, research from a Harvard Business review article suggests that people who work their same office schedule from home get more done per day. 

Here are four points to consider if/when you are working from home:

1. Start your day early

Waking up and immediately switching your laptop on to start your working day is not only an unhealthy habit, but you will find yourself burning out quite quickly as the day peters out. Start your day as if you are preparing to go to work. 

Doing this consistently creates a good habit and puts you in the right frame of mind to kickstart the day. Get out of your PJs and dress the part, spend some quiet time in meditation, exercise, listening to music or your favourite podcast, have a cup of coffee and even spend some time with your family before you do decide to switch on your screen.

2. Establish your workspace

It is important to note that whilst it’s a dream come true to work from home, if you’re not cautious you could quickly find yourself working on the kitchen counter, in the lounge and the bedroom. Working in these environments at home will most certainly take a toll on you physically and psychologically, therefore you need to be intentional when setting up your workspace.

Make a clear distinction in your mind when considering this, and that is, the kitchen is for mealtimes, the lounge is for rest and entertainment, and the bedroom is for sleep. Your workspace should be away from all distractions, you can call it your “in-house office”, make it clear to your family and pets that when you’re in your office you must not be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. 

Now that you’ve identified your “in-house office”, some important things to remember are:

  • Ensure your workspace is well-lit.
  • Set up a sturdy desk that’s clean and clutter-free.
  • A comfy chair that supports your back.
  • A good pair of headphones/earphones comes in handy if music helps with your productivity.
  • Make sure everything you need is within easy reach.
  • A bottle/jar of water and some snacks to ensure you don’t visit the kitchen too often.

3. Shift your mind to a strong mental state

Mind over matter, right? Absolutely! However, by now we know that working from home comes with a host of distractions, which can cause you to lose productivity and your focus. 

So how can you beat distractions and help push your mind in the right direction? Here are a few pointers:

  • Stay motivated – Listen to motivational podcasts to stay mentally sharp. Set clear goals for the day and perhaps have a checklist nearby to help you stay focused on all your tasks.
  • Avoid distractions – There’s a lot going on in the world right now and the temptation to watch TV and scroll your social media feed is highly tempting. Whilst it’s important to know what’s going on as far as the pandemic is concerned, the negativity can shift your mind to a state of panic and fear. Set specific times in the day to check your notifications or watch the news, whilst also making time to ensure your motivation levels are high.
  • Manage your time – Hours at your workstation will most likely get you fatigued, so take 5-minute breaks for every hour you’re in front of your screen.

4. Improve communication with your team

As you know, we at ResRequest love technology and are big advocates for digital transformation. With most countries now in lockdown, businesses are forced to adopt work from home strategies which include having a good communication platform such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Slack or Microsoft Teams to name a few. This may be a new way of communication for you, but if utilised correctly it can help you and your team reach your goals, even if you’re not in the same building.

Find appropriate times in the day/week to check-in with your manager/ team leader, as far as your KPA’s are concerned, and be sure to nott just disappear for days and weeks without communication. This goes a long way to ensure that you remain motivated and focused on accomplishing your goals.

How to Collaborate Effectively If Your Team Is Remote

We hope that this separation from each other does not go on for a long period of time, but we also understand that in order to get back to the office and pre-covid life we have to self-isolate. We have witnessed how self-isolation / self-quarantine can help flatten the curve in China (here’s why this helps), and now it’s our turn to play our part. 

Our team met last week to plan on how we can continue to build product and help our customers while being in lockdown. We have implemented an extended work from home policy and although we’re isolated from each other and in different locations, we’re ready and available to take your Skypes, emails, and calls. Our development team is also feverishly busy building product, in order for us to continue giving you what you need when we get back to a (new) normal.

This extended work from home called for some additions to our existing work from home policies, which we’d like to share with you for you to glean some tips. (Take a look at our work from home policy).

Take a look at some of our heroes working in the comfort of their homes. Follow us on Instagram to see what we’ve been up to.