The Dos and Donts of Responding to Guests on Social Media
Understanding the way guests use social media can help you anticipate the ways they’ll communicate with you. Overall, this is crucial, because in a world where most communication is done online, you’ll want to know why guests are reaching out to you and what to do (and not to do) when you respond. Getting right to it, let’s talk about how guests are using social media.
First, they’ll use social media as a way to gather inspiration. Their friends are posting about their latest vacations, sharing beautiful images of the properties they stayed at. Maybe one of them is yours! Either way, you’ll want to ensure that you have an array of attractive posts so that, if a guest is scrolling through a tag for an area or amenity, they see your property.
Second, guests use social media to research more about your property. This is research that goes beyond a simple Google: they want to see what other guests have accounted about their stays with you. Guests will also look to your social media to find additional photos of your property, or information they can’t find through an OTA.
Finally, guests will use social media to read and write reviews. Guests will use platforms like Facebook to write reviews based on their stay with you. Though not all “reviews” may come in the form you expect: on other platforms like Instagram or Twitter, you may just get a direct mention from a guest in their caption about their visit. These are more informal than reviews, but still, they may impact the first impression you give to future guests.
In relation to direct messages and the real focus of this post, guests may also reach out to you directly through a direct message, or DM. These messages are sent directly to your inbox on social media platforms, and they may feel very personal compared to other lines of communication you have with your guests. You may feel confused about the best way to respond to these guests. Today, we’ll go over three different reasons guests may reach out to you, and what to do and not do in each situation.
In general, guests will reach out to you for three reasons. One, they have a question. It could be quick or complicated, so you’ll want to be ready for both. Two, when they have an exceptionally good experience. While most happy guests tend to leave good reviews or make positive public-facing social media posts, sometimes a guest may want to reach out to you directly to share their experience, especially if it involved a specific employee of yours. Third, they’ll reach out when they encountered a problem.
The first and last reasons will be the most common reasons that guests come to your inbox, so let’s begin with questions.
When a guest asks a question:
- DO respond quickly. A guest with a question may be a guest about to book with you, so you don’t want to keep them waiting.
- DO be polite and concise. Thank them for reaching out, give them their answer, and leave the door open if they need to ask anything else. Chances are, the guest will take the information and continue on with their day, so you won’t need to worry much about anything else.
- DO personalize the response. You are having a one-on-one conversation with a real guest, and users online appreciate feeling seen and heard. The best way to do that is to personalize the message back to them. If your response warrants more than a sentence or two, try to address them by their display name, if appropriate.
Guests may ask questions in a variety of ways, but some may be less polite than others. A few tips to keep in mind when frustrations may surround a question:
- DO NOT lose your temper. Responding to frustration with frustration opens the door for that guest to take photos of your conversation and spread them to friends, or worse: post them publicly on their social media profile. Take a breath, and respond politely!
- DO NOT give a vague response. If it’s a question about pricing or policy, be as clear as possible. Guests will not like unwelcome surprises regarding any fees, deposits, or policies that they may have missed during their booking journey.
- DO NOT dodge the question. If a guest asks about a COVID policy, something related to their general safety, or something about the area, do your best to treat the situation delicately without talking around the point.
What if you’re a little short on time, and you know a guest can find more information somewhere else that’s accessible to them? Redirecting a guest for more answers is totally acceptable and encouraged, especially if the answer can be found on your website.
So, what are some other ways you may want to redirect guests for more information? Sending them to your website is useful if they have questions about policies, fees, room layouts, or amenities. If they have a specific accommodation they need for their booking, ask them to call you directly and leave a number for them to reach the front desk.
Overall, you want to focus on the pathway to booking. Handling guest questions in a kind, comprehensive way will leave an incredible impression on your potential guest. In fact, it may be the tipping point that convinces them to book a stay. After all, you have redirected them to a website where they can book with you online right away, and if you were nice and your property still fits their needs, why not book with you?