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Hotel Social Media Marketing. Unlocking Your Online Potential

Yelena Belashova
General Manager, Crowne Plaza
World Trade Centre Moscow Hotel

The present is getting more and more influenced by virtual reality. It could now be almost impossible to find a person who knows nothing about the virtual world. Sharing all kinds of information, starting from personal thoughts and ending with present location, has become the trend captivating people's minds and lifestyle with the help of different means of Internet connection. Another boom is the mobile devices that can be used anytime, anywhere. So probably there is no easier way to immediately share information about the company, its products and services, special offers, news, photos and other entertaining data than online. And precisely speaking: various social media.

Once a hotel decides to get involved in virtual social activity, there appears the question of where to be present. As the social media world is enormous, there is a vital decision of choosing. Being everywhere leads to complete failure in terms of providing proper information in proper amounts and keeping all your audiences entertained, informed and active. The simple and universal path for any company is to start using blogs (e.g. Twitter) and social networks (e.g. Facebook, Google+). Choosing precisely these social media means "killing two birds with one stone" as they allow the posting of all kinds of information including photos, videos and audio files. And they have tremendous possibilities to build your online audience.

When Crowne Plaza Moscow faced the question of being present in social media, the positive answer appeared immediately. Otherwise we would have lost a huge loyal audience of our online friends and subscribers without even gaining it. With this important step of sharing information, news and special offers, communicating with users all over the world has become the easiest and most pleasant thing we have ever done.

Would you ask whether there are benefits to developing your online presence? The answer is obvious as there are many. The world has gone online and mobile. People prefer to get information as quickly as a strike of lightning. Right now, right at the place where he or she is standing. And the help comes from social media. Why? First of all, communicating with the audience is easy. Once you get a message, you answer. But the main point is that all other users will see your feedback and know that you do take actions. Sharing is also easy. Once you post news, pictures and videos, a great number of people take notice immediately. For example, Crowne Plaza Moscow always shares photos of its new dishes created at our Real Food Restaurant.

Moreover we post recipes of these dishes with step-by-step instructions with photos starring either our chef or chef confectioner. These are the most popular themes we conduct. And our online friends are fond of them. They share them with their friends, increasing our hotel's audience. This is so as people usually cannot resist peaking at what their friends are interested in and get interested as well. I could also hint at creating contests and competitions: another tool to attract more audience. Would you like to get an attractive prize just for answering a question? I bet no one would refuse that, so once again you increase your loyal online audience. And what is the best with the virtual world is that there are no costs to be online: just the time you will spend on creating your page, creating your audience and posting content afterward. Creating and raising the audience from zero is probably still the most complicated question in the matter, but it is possible to deal within a rather concise time.

If you conduct a small survey and check who of your direct competitors already has an online profile, on Facebook, on Twitter or on some other popular social sites, you will surprisingly find out: all of them.

The competition is tough so straight away go social and keep up with the modern trends of living and doing business. Create content and create interest in your company. Tell people that you know how to be up-to-date, meaning you know what your client needs. And surprisingly you will see that the virtual audience has the desire to turn into real buyers.

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