Don’t be THAT business with bad social media strategy. Learn from the global brand Starwood Hotels and Resorts on how they engage customers on social media. Kehinde Otitoju, Digital Marketing Manager of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in Nigeria, talks about the importance of knowing your customers, how their hotel serves as a mini-hub for the diaspora and how to deal with negative feedback on social media.
Who’s the typical Starwood customer?
So I’ll narrow it down to four points. We get a lot of corporate clients from various countries. We also get entrepreneurs who come to the hotel to use the Internet, have a cup of coffee or have meetings. And then we’re home to Africans in the diaspora. So a lot of Africans – be it Nigerians or Ghanaians – when they’re coming to Nigeria, our hotels are a hub where people come and meet. And finally Nigerians living here who want to get away from the Lagos hassle and the traffic.
What are three successful ways that you engage your customers on social media?
Videos are major. For example, we’ll have a video of a chef in our kitchen whipping up a pasta. Also, we have a lot of giveaways for our fan base. And also through simple pleasures like tips of the day on social media. It could be healthy tips or tips of how to make a good coffee.
Tell me an experience where you’ve received negative feedback on social media and how did you deal with it?
When we get complaints we empathize with the guest. We make sure that these issues that are being highlighted from the customer actually did happen. And if they did, we ensure that they don’t happen again, especially if the person is a returning guest. And we give out compensations as well if need be.
Do you have a story of a specific complaint?
We get a lot of corporate clients who come from the States and the U.K. Many of them aren’t used to the power situation in Nigeria. Sometimes the lights turn off for a couple of minutes but then come back on. So when we do get complaints regarding this. We empathize with the guest and try to explain that we’re in a country where we don’t have 24-hour electricity.
What’s the advantage of Starwood being a sponsor of SMW Lagos?
We’ve been partners since inception. We see it as a great opportunity to reach a digital savvy audience. A lot of companies attend as well and we see it as a chance to share best practices and also see how social media is changing businesses in today’s world.
A big thank you for Four Points by Sheraton Lagos for being a sponsor for the third year in a row. We can’t wait to work with them again next year!