Twitter for retention

Twitter for retention

Twitter is a tool for customer service and retention more so than it is for new customer acquisition. For the past several years, hoteliers have been looking for ROI models to justify their social media investments, including those in Twitter. Technology, analytics and social media firms have reacted to hoteliers’ requests, developing effective metrics to attribute quantifiable revenue numbers to specific efforts. Still, most operators are underwhelmed with the amount of revenue their hotels generate via social media versus the amount of time and money they invest.  I argue, however, that the current focus misses some key opportunities — opportunities that some forward-thinking operators are capitalizing on.  

When properly implemented, a property’s Twitter feed can be a useful resource for plugged-in guests. For example, take a look at the Wynn Las Vegas Twitter feed. Wynn Las Vegas utilizes Twitter to post some general updates, as most hotels/resorts would do. The real power, however, comes from interacting with existing, future and past guests. In my most recent review of Wynn’s Twitter feed, it helped a guest connect with housekeeping to retrieve a lost cell phone, made restaurant and show recommendations to a guest, thanked guests who said they just checked out and had a great time and helped guide a lost group attendee. By setting some simple alerts, the hotel is able to scour the Twittersphere automatically and identify people talking about them; or to them. The hotel then responds appropriately in a kind, helpful way. The customers are initiating the interaction. Very few of Wynn’s Twitter interactions can be tracked to proactive revenue generation. In fact, it would be nearly impossible, or at least improbable, to connect an automated ROI measurement system to the efforts.  

I have written in the past about the flaws in ROI tracking. One important flaw is that current ROI models do not track the lifetime value of a new guest acquisition. It is just as important, if not more important, to bring a guest back for multiple stays as it is to get a new guest in the door. However, lifetime revenue is not currently tracked to the original source. Instead, current ROI models assume that every guest is a first-time guest. Over the long term, hotels can win by investing in customer service and customer retention. Online tools should not all be lumped into “new customer acquisition.” 

As demonstrated by the Wynn Las Vegas, Twitter can play a huge role. A small group of hoteliers are setting a new customer service and interaction bar, one that a majority of the industry will have to reach soon.