Hotel Customer EngagementWhat can social media do for hotels as far as brand loyalty?

Well, according to a new survey from Medallia, hotel properties that actively engage with social media reviews grow occupancy at double the rate of properties that don’t.

The study examines customer and business data from more than 4,400 hotel properties worldwide to understand and quantify the impact of social media engagement on a company’s revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and social reputation.

According to the study, there is a direct relationship between responsiveness to social media reviews and occupancy rate. Properties that responded to over 50% of social reviews grew occupancy rates by 6.4 percentage points, more than twice the rate of properties that largely ignored social media reviews. These socially engaged properties also outperformed the hospitality industry as a whole, which achieved a 4.3% growth rate during the same period.

“The hospitality industry has experienced the impact social media can have on their business, both positive and negative, but these findings allow properties to quantify the impact of taking action on reviews—and make it easier to justify additional investments in social media engagement,” said Aurelia Setton, Medallia’s General Manager for Hospitality.

The properties that increased their responsiveness by more than 50% earned double the occupancy rate growth of those that didn’t improve their responsiveness:

50%+ increase: 6.8 percentage points of occupancy rate growth

30-50% increase: 3.7 percentage point growth

10-30% increase: 2.2 percentage point growth

1-10% increase: 3.2 percentage point growth

A commitment to social media engagement was found to drive similar gains in overall customer satisfaction, the study noted. Properties that responded to more than 50% of social reviews saw their Net Promoter Scores® (NPS) increase by an average of 1.4 points—while all properties with Hotel Social Medialess than 50% responsiveness saw their scores decrease:

50%+ response rate: 1.4 point NPS growth

30-50% response rate: 0.3-point decrease

10-30% response rate: 1.5-point decrease

1-10% response rate: 1.7-point decrease

“One notable aspect of these findings is that the responses are taking place at the property level,” said Michael Morton, Best Western’s Vice President of Member Services. ”Hotels already trust their frontline with in-person customer interactions, and this research shows that letting employees engage with customers online as well—armed with their first-hand knowledge of specific customer experiences — pays real dividends.”

The speed with which properties respond to customer feedback also has a significant impact on their occupancy rates. Properties that responded to feedback in less than a day on average had average occupancy rates 12.8 percent higher than properties taking longer than two days.

Responded within a day: 52.3% average occupancy rate

Responded in 1-2 days: 49.3% occupancy rate

Responded in over two days: 39.5% occupancy rate

“Companies often use social media primarily to raise awareness about their brand, but these findings show that social engagement can also drive organizational learning and increase accountability about meeting customer needs,” said Dorian Stone, Medallia’s Vice President of Customer Experience Strategy. “Engaging thoroughly and promptly with all kinds of customer feedback shows frontline employees what they need to do to deliver better experiences—and when social media is utilized in that spirit, the gains are significant.”

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