May 4

In the hotel industry, it’s crucial to set yourself apart. With a multitude of options for guests to select from when choosing where to stay, how do you ensure that your hotel is the one that’s picked? There are many factors that guests consider when choosing a hotel, so it’s also important to have a strategy for how to turn your first-time guests into loyal fans upon their stay so that they continue to return.

A key part of this strategy is creating surprise and delight opportunities for your guests.

So, what exactly is a surprise and delight?

This concept involves creating a special, unique experience for your guests. It’s something that makes them feel welcome, important, and treasured—which is how you want every guest to feel by the end of their stay.

How do you find a surprise and delight opportunity via social media?

The most important thing is to incorporate social listening on a day-to-day basis to intercept an opportunity when it arises. Be plugged in to your social channels and monitor who’s tagging you, who’s using your hotel hashtag, and who may be geo-tagging their posts from your hotel. We also recommend taking it a step further and incorporating significant keywords in your monitoring, such as “traveling to X CITY” or “Need hotel in X CITY”. By pulling in these keyword searches and appropriately inserting yourself into the conversation, it may make that user more likely to look into your hotel and potentially book.

What are some good examples of a surprise and delight opportunity?

Any time a guest or upcoming guest posts about a special occasion—birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc.—is a great time to execute. Maybe it’s also as simple as someone posting about how excited they are for their first time in a new city, or they’re treating themselves to a staycation. Opportunities can be found in all of these scenarios.

Once the opportunity is uncovered through social listening and passed on to you as the hotel, there are a few next steps.

  • Do your research. By doing a little digging, you may be able to find out that the person who posted is a big craft beer enthusiast, or maybe they’re celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary. This brings us to our next step.
  • Personalize. For the craft beer enthusiast, why not create an amenity featuring some amazing local brews? For the couple celebrating ten years, maybe you write a personal note congratulating them, accompanied by ten chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne. The more personalized the amenity, the more special your guest will feel.
  • Include a social activation piece. You’ve prepared and delivered this amazing, personalized amenity and your guest is probably feeling extremely important and special, but what now? Often in today’s society, people go directly to social media in cases where they want to showcase this wonderful experience they’ve had, but others may not. It’s critical to include a call to action in your amenity. It could be something as subtle as including your social media handles on the stationery on which you write the personalized note, or including a separate social media postcard with messaging along the lines of “Let’s connect! Share your photos with us at [hotel hashtag here.]” This allows you to fully see the surprise and delight when, through your social media monitoring, a photo pops up of a guest’s unique amenity and how excited he or she was to receive it.

When a guest posts on social media, all of their friends and followers see it. If you’ve provided this unique experience for one of your guests, chances are their followers will be impressed and excited about your hotel, and they’ll be more likely to book their future stays with you rather than with a competitor.

It all comes full circle.

If you want to build a loyal base of raving fans for your hotel, executing surprise and delight opportunities is a great place to start. Whether you’re welcoming someone to a different city, helping them celebrate a milestone, or just making them feel especially welcome, it truly goes a long way in creating a loyal base of raving fans for your hotel.

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