Hotels fail to get a handle on Twitter…By James Bland
Twitter is one of the most immediate and visible channels with which to interact with customers. But whilst many brands are busy thinking through their social media marketing strategy, often consumers are simply viewing social media as another problem resolution channel. And why not? When you consider the degree to which companies seek to protect their public relations image, one well developed tweet can be one of the most effective ways to jump the traditional call centre queue.
Twystery® is a new assessment and performance tracking service from BVA BDRC that measures how well a brand is servicing social customer care. The report gives a view of each sector and where a brand sits within it, helping the brand capitalise on the opportunity presented by Twitter.
Amongst 31 other sectors, we surveyed the hotel sector. All in all, the hotel sector can probably be a little disappointed, as I was on their behalf, with the latest set of Twystery® results. A sector whose ‘product’ is an experience should probably aim for more than a mid-table position, yet the hotel sector lies in 14th place, trailing sectors where the relationship is generally far lighter in touch. The Twystery® report ranks brands on two axes – ‘response’ and ‘quality’ – and even worse for hotels was that it was the quality score that was the poorest; the sector placed third from bottom on this measure.
Anyone who knows me may have heard it said that if I can’t plot something on a 2x2 matrix, I’m generally not interested. Looking, therefore, at quality and response in that way, something of a theme emerges…
The global groups, by and large, have prioritised speed and incidence of response over quality. The domestic-only brands tracked have, consciously or otherwise, taken the opposite path. You’ll get a very good response from Travelodge, but only to every third Tweet. On the other hand, DoubleTree by Hilton will respond to nearly seven in ten, but that response may not be fantastic. That Low Quality, High Response quadrant contains Radisson Blu, Hilton, InterContinental, Hotel Indigo, Waldorf Astoria, Holiday Inn and DoubleTree by Hilton, while the High Quality, Low Response box is occupied by the likes of Village, Malmaison, QHotels, Travelodge and De Vere Venues. Village and Malmaison, despite an excellent quality of response (1st and 5th respectively), actually completely bottomed out on the response score by answering just a handful of queries and leaving 84% of our Tweeters hanging.
There are, of course, exceptions. Citizen M, which flies the flag for the sector, responded to every Tweet sent to them within two hours, and a third of those in less than fifteen minutes. Their quality score was also very good, with the end result being an overall placing just outside the top 20 (out of 395). Also performing ‘above the line’ were Premier Inn and Crowne Plaza. On the other hand, there is probably still a battle to be fought on both fronts for Marriott International and Accor.
But looking at the hotel brand dynamics, in general you can either have a fast response from a hotel brand or a good one – you don’t (often) get both!