The luxury Loews Hotels & Resorts, a subsidiary of Loews Corporation, recently announced that hotel booking is now possible through Twitter. Customers just have to tweet @loews_hotels with #bookloews to express interest, at which point a Loews agent will respond with an attached link to a secure chat channel to shore up booking and credit card details.
The first Twitter user to take them up on the offer misspelled the company name, but got everything else right:
@lowes_hotels #bookloews I want to book a room in NOLA March 14-19
— J.W. Engblom (@JWXYZ1985) November 21, 2013
Twitter booking seems a logical middle ground between option 1: picking up the phone and probably wasting time spelling out your name four times (but with a real human being), and option 2: punching in all your credit card and contact information into sad, white boxes without any human interaction.
For luxury hotels looking to attract tech-savvy guests, it offers a closer-to-concierge feel than the grueling online forms system, or GDS (Global Distribution System, or the “single access point” where hotel, car, flight reservation deals connect). Plus, it becomes part of the history of your Twitter feed.
A study by travel market research firm PhoCusWright found that “34% of hotel room revenue comes from online and mobile app bookings,” a figure that is by all accounts only going to rise in the future. What Twitter does that mobile and site bookings do not, however, is maintain a transparent link between booker and bookee through the follower/followed system, which is a much more convincing relationship than holding an account on a company’s website.
According to Piper Stevens, Loews Hotels’ social media director, the goal is to “convert that Twitter follower into a guest.”
Another hotel using social media to attract visitors is Starwood Hotels, who reaches out once you’ve “liked” their Facebook page to inquire about booking a room. They will also correspond with prospective guests by asking about pillow preferences and minibar contents. Trump Hotels likewise uses Facebook for booking purposes, connecting you to an “attaché” to complete a “dossier” of booking preferences after the Facebook interaction.
Loews is the first luxury hotel to use Twitter for booking purposes, and if all goes well it will probably not be the last.
Is your brand ready to start converting Twitter followers to loyal customers?