Fostering guest loyalty via social networking

Fostering guest loyalty via social networking

Thanks for all the great comments on my first blog for HOTELS. I appreciated the questions and ideas, some of which I plan to address in future posts.

At Trump Hotel Collection, a big part of our brand mantra – “the next generation of luxury hospitality” – is manifest in how we use social media to connect with hotel guests. I’m happy to say that I’ve led the charge for our organization in this area of communication and marketing. I’ve organized my Facebook page with a “Must Go” tab that gives me a strategic and organized way to communicate with travelers regarding our hotels. I also speak to prospective travelers via Twitter. My personal commitment to interacting with our constituents bolsters the efforts of our individual hotels and the Trump Hotel Collection brand, each of which have accounts in their own names.

The committed and consistent use of these channels has given me a personal connection with friends and followers, and has helped create a personality for our luxury hotel brand. In addition to communicating news and offers from our properties, I discuss my own travel experiences and relay my perspective as a hotelier and my own preferences. At this writing, my Twitter following is at 858,730 and growing and 38,062 have indicated Like on my Facebook page – accounting for the largest hotel industry following.

Recent posts on Facebook include the recipe for Alaskan Halibut Steak with Coconut Rice – a favorite of mine from our signature restaurant at our Trump hotel in Las Vegas. On Thanksgiving Day, I talked about how fun it is to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from the vantage point of our hotel on Central Park West as it offers a perfect view of the parade route. During a recent visit to Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, I was inspired by the sunrise and view from the hotel, so I took pictures with my BlackBerry and shared on Facebook. In between these hotel-specific posts, I speak about my other businesses, weekend plans, what I’m making for dinner that evening – whatever is on my mind at the moment.

Putting a face to a name – in this case, a hotel or hotel brand – doesn’t require celebrity (although it certainly helps) as much as it calls for commitment, sincerity and transparency. I really enjoy the engagement with people who are interested in knowing about our hotels and the other businesses I am involved in. The fact that the communication goes both ways is the greatest indicator that I am on the right track.
Our hotels are benefiting through goodwill as well as reservations. Though brand loyalty is not built in a day, we are seeing it grow rapidly and tangibly week by week. The best example of this is
Trump International Hotel & Tower New York – our first property – which today enjoys an unheard of repeat guest factor of 70%.

While there is no formula for success in terms of level of engagement – number of posts and tweets per day, for example – consistency is key to maintaining momentum and the engagement of current and future guests for your hotel. Remember to incorporate photos and videos as appropriate; these are particularly well-received. Happy tweeting!