A survey by BDRC Continental into the response times and quality of responses on Twitter by companies in 32 sectors found that hotels and restaurants sat in the bottom half of a league table.
Hotels ranked 14th in the table, while sit-down fast casual restaurants were lower, in 18th place and fast food restaurants and takeaways even lower, at 25th.
Banks, credit card providers, rail companies and insurance brokers were some of the sectors with higher rankings than hospitality businesses the Twystery survey found.
Best performing brands
While the hotel and restaurant sectors performed badly overall, there were some companies monitored in both sectors who did buck the trend.
Within the hotel sector, Citizen M was highlighted as a good example, responding to all Tweets it was sent with an average response time of just 38 minutes and giving it an overall score of 76. Malmaison ranked the lowest with an overall score (given in reponse to the responsiveness of the brand and the quality of the reply received for each Tweet) of nine.
Radisson Blu, Hand Picked Hotels, Hilton, Premier Inn, Ramada and The Hotel Collection all had response rates of over 92 per cent but had differing response times with Hilton the best, responding within 18 minutes and Hand Picked Hotels taking an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes to respond.
Within the casual dining sector there was also a ‘huge gap’ between top scorers and low rankers, with top place going to The Restaurant Group’s Frankie & Benny’s answering 88 per cent of Tweets with an average response time of 24 minutes and JD Wetherspoon with a response rate of just 4 per cent.
BDRC director Tim Barber said: “Frankie & Benny’s did well on Quality (9th place out of 25 restaurants surveyed), and in its Response Rate (88 per cent of tweets answered). It also responded quickly coming top of the table with an average Response Time of just 24 minutes.
"Ironically, second place on Response Time went JD Wetherspoon but it had the worst Response Rate (just 4 per cent of tweets answered) and came bottom of the table on Quality, scoring just 35. The scale of the Twitter followings here are similar: Frankie & Benny’s has around 55,000 followers while JD Wetherspoon has some 30,000. So in terms of the logistics of answering tweets comprehensively, the volumes should be manageable.”
James Bland, head of hotels research at BDRC Continental said with Twitter celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, the hospitality sector should be familiar with its use and said companies should be making more of it.
“Companies have had plenty of time to learn how to use this social media tool effectively to handle customer queries and complaints," he said. "However, the hotel sector will be disappointed with the latest set of Twystery results. A sector whose ‘product’ is an experience should aim for more than a mid-table position, yet finds itself in 14th place in terms of its overall performance, trailing sectors characterised by much ‘lighter touch’ relationships.
“Many hotel brands can strengthen their brand proposition by recognizing how many people like to enquire via Twitter. Twitter is a fantastic platform for the hotel industry.”
Twystery's six rules for responding to Twitter enquiries:
- Rule 1: Always respond The first rule of engaging on social media is ‘engage’.
- Rule 2: Put some effort into it: Avoid a response that appears rushed or impatient. Show you value the enquirer.
- Rule 3: Get the tone right: Ensure words, spacing and punctuation create am impression that is neither too casual or too informal.
- Rule 4: Mind your manners: Be friendly. Phrases like “hope that helps” will give your customer a positive impression.
- Rule 5: Think about links: Include a relevant URL or contact number so your customer can access further details easily.
- Rule 6: Answer the question: Online responses often miss the point of the customer’s query. Try to provide the exact information a customer requests.