Twittering Hotels

Hotels are starting to set themselves apart by becoming a part of the conversation, instead of using Twitter and Facebook as purely sales pitches, by humanizing their business by creating an emotional connection with their guests and fans.

Offering Twitter as an in-hotel communication tool is just one of the innovative elements being used at the boutique Townhouse Hotel Maastricht, which is set to open in September. Want a midnight snack in 140 characters or less? Guests can just tweet their requests to the front desk. Although the boutique hotel doesn’t offer room service, they do serve breakfast, soup and light snacks for guests who are unwilling to make their way to one of the city’s many restaurants.

Kelly Nelson, director of marketing at the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto, CA, has become the first in the 82-hotel chain to get permission to Twitter officially on behalf of the chain. She gives tips about how to tweet on behalf of a business and get new business to come in the doors. If you’re wondering why your business should be on social networks like Twitter, Friendfeed or Facebook, Kelly has a good answer: “It takes, at minimum, seven touch points to talk to a customer,” she says. “It’s an obvious choice.”

Up and running for about a month now, Hyatt launched HyattConcierge, the first global, 24/7 dedicated concierge service on Twitter. Ideally, it’s supposed to function as a new medium for the company to communicate with its hotel guests, to tweet concerns, questions or requests. For instance, someone can Tweet, “How far away is your Park Hyatt Hotel in Chicago from the stadium where the Chicago Fire soccer team play? Walking distance? [sic]” to which someone from the Hyatt Concierge Twitter responds, “Toyota Park is approx. 17 miles from the Park Hyatt. Please allow 45 min. for travel time.”

However, before hotels embark on Twitter, we agree with Hotel Chatter’s assessment: “….we see so, so many people and businesses using the social media platform to, well, Tweet about how they’re using Twitter and how awesome it is that they’re doing so. And, many times, we watch those same people and businesses who arrive on Twitter with a big, glitzy ‘omg-we-are-now-on-Twitter!’ blitz sort of let their accounts go stale just as quickly, and we see them abandon the whole thing quietly (or at least scale back on the frequency of their Tweets and user interaction).”

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