Online hotel comparison websites were once considered the pinnacle of value, but a new method for sourcing low-cost hotel deals appears to have emerged. Nowadays, before tech-savvy travellers turn to Agoda or Priceline, they search on Twitter for their preferred cities and hotel chains. It’s the latest development in social media marketing, and it could become a revolutionary change for hoteliers.
Twitter has changed a number of business models since its introduction in 2007. The micro-message service has millions of users and a dedicated business community, with chief executives and experts in finance posting their thoughts and findings daily. While the website has been hailed as the public relations industry’s biggest asset, it’s also proven itself to be a worthwhile direct marketing tool.
Hotels, for example, have been using Twitter over the past three years to alert customers whenever a great deal is available. With occupancy rates fairly low over the past twelve months, marketers have turned to Twitter as an outlet for their special deals. Want to find a hotel room at half-off the regular price? Don’t search using a standard ‘negotiation’ agent – take a look at the hotel’s Twitter account.
It’s a marketing method that’s changing perceptions of social media as being something that only the world’s biggest companies should invest in. While brands such as Coca-Cola and Nike benefit from the website’s power as a customer service tool, independent hotels and other small businesses using Twitter have found that it is immensely helpful in moving discounted units.
So next time you’re in need of a budget hotel room, don’t pick up the phone to call, pick it up and go straight to the nearest hotel’s Twitter account. While a greater number of followers are snapping the best deals up, there’s more than enough to go around – hotel occupancy rates remain low, with many independent operators surfing the ‘net daily to find new customers.