Using Twitter in the Hospitality Industry: An Interview with Fiona

Interviewer’s Note:  It’s interesting that in this day and age of conglomerates and mega-companies, chains, franchises, etc; small businesses are probably in a much better position to use social media than can a large multinational company.  I believe that the larger a company is, the harder it is to make a genuine connection with a customer and build a relationship.  Many chains feel rather impersonal, such as hotel chains.  Today we talk with a hotel manager in Ireland and learn how she uses Twitter to distinguish her business and cultivate a following.

Hi Fiona, welcome to the Pluggio Blog!  Tell us a bit about the Pembroke Townhouse: what makes it special?

It is a large guesthouse – 48 rooms – in one of the nicest parts of Dublin, Ballsbridge and it is small and homely and personal for someone looking for something authentic and Irish, but not so small as a B&B.

What role does Twitter play in your business? 

I set it up a few years ago – it took me a while to get started and “get it” and didn’t really use it at first for about 2 years…then it clicked – on a trip away.

What made the difference?

I am very interested in food and we serve a lovely breakfast in Pembroke Townhouse…. I have found Twitter very powerful and very in use by those in the food business and interested in food in Ireland anyway…also journalists use it a lot for ideas, so.some influential food and journalistic people have praised the breakfast at PTH and consequently this brings followers, also customers.  Many people tweet to recommend us and to book, so Twitter alerts me on my iPhone so I reply pretty fast…

What impact or change have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing? 

SO many places I go now (foodie places in particular) know who we are and talk about our breakfast, especially as they hear about it on Twitter – which is amazing for a small place

Are there any of your accomplishments with social marketing that you are particularly proud of? 

1 Breakfast promotion. 2 Journalists writing about us. 3 Getting the name out about who we are. 4. Meeting and talking to people on twitter you wouldn’t get to usually meet!

How did you build your following?  What kinds of people/businesses are they? 

Food businesses I knew of, journalists I know,and food/ travel journalists.

How will you choose who you will follow?  What do you look for in a follower? 

Someone who can promote us and like our food offerings.

If you could go back to when you first began using social media, what is one thing you would have done differently? 

Started a few years earlier than I did!!

What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do? 

It allows you to talk to people you would never get to talk to.

What lessons have you learned about Twitter and online marketing? 

Always stay positive… Remember the ‘silent tweet’ : do not say something if it is nasty…. Tweeting is very powerful.

Follow Fiona on Twitter here.

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