Nearly one-quarter of hotels are not utilizing social media to increase occupancy and revenue per available room (RevPAR), according to a poll recently conducted by New York-based TravelClick, a hospitality industry consultant that focuses on revenue-generating ideas.
Only 20% of the poll’s approximately 600 respondents cited using Twitter, 10% cited using Groupon or other forms of online couponing, and 8% utilize FourSquare promotions. Facebook was by far the most preferred social media channel for hoteliers, with 65% of respondents using it to increase bookings and revenue.
“Instead of running cost-efficient promotions on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, hotels are electing to increase their advertising spending through online advertisements (57%) and paid search advertising (20%),” says Jonathan Cherins, chief marketing officer of TravelClick.
“It’s important that hotels don’t rely solely on advertising to increase bookings. Hoteliers should be incorporating a mix of online marketing, GDS [global distribution systems] media as well as social media in order to touch their key audiences.”
The poll also showed that despite the improving economy, hotels are still attracting rate-driven guests. Two-thirds (66%) of hoteliers agreed that although they are seeing less price sensitivity from their guests, rate is still a key factor in bookings. Only 4% of respondents believe that rate is no longer the driving issue for hotel guests.
“The data from this poll shows that while rate is often a key factor in consumer booking rates, ultimately smart hoteliers need to have better data in order to optimize channel mix, set competitive prices and forecast revenue,” says Cherins of TravelClick.
Another way hotels are looking to boost occupancy is through added room amenities. When asked what amenity their hotels are adding, two-thirds of hoteliers cited “free WiFi” as the No. 1 amenity change. Hotels also are introducing better televisions (42%) and iPod docking stations (20%) to help stay ahead of competitors.