Category: News Created on Wednesday, 28 September 2011 06:32
A leading hotel expert wants Caribbean hoteliers to take social media more seriously.
Speaking at the second annual Small Hotels Conference, produced by the US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, Leon Thomas, a senior trainer with Choice Hotels International, told local hoteliers from St Thomas, St John and St Croix that social media is about engagement.
"It's not just about typing something ... in order to be successful, you must use audio, video and compelling photo images with your posts," he advised.
The sought-after Choice University speaker, who spends more than 250 nights a year on the road training hoteliers, described social media as both a customer service and also a loyalty building opportunity.
"Once social media tools are properly utilized, your past guests could become your followers ... as well as potential sales people for hotels and resorts serious about boosting their bottom lines," asserted Thomas.
The Baltimore-based trainer posited some hoteliers are averse to building a presence in the social media arena because of possible negative exposure.
But Thomas counters, "The negative comments that people make can provide an opportunity to fix a situation and explain to potentially thousands of people how good your service really is."
In spite of an astronomically high 753 million Facebook subscribers, and more than 250 million on Twitter (half of the Twitter population logs in every day), Thomas warns social media engagement should not replace traditional approaches. He also encouraged hoteliers to aggressively pursue sales, marketing and public relations activities.
Jose Salvador Icaza, director of emerging markets and Caribbean franchise development for Choice Hotels, was pleased his organization could contribute to the sessions.
"It was so good to lend the experience and expertise of one of our leading Choice University trainers to the Department of Tourism and the local hotel community," said Icaza, who added the US Virgin Islands remains a key Caribbean market for Choice Hotels. He pointed to the increasing popularity of the upscale Ascend Collection membership program for historic, boutique or unique properties.
Photo Credit To Jimmy Yeoh
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