UK budget hotel chain Premier Inn recently announced that it would offer guests a Twitter concierge service, an interesting idea but is this the best medium for this type of service, or just a marketing ploy?
The hotel says that it’s the first UK hotel chain to introduce such as concept, but it doesn’t seem entirely convinced – it’s running the service as a trial on Friday evenings to see if it has proved of value to its guests.
Premier Inn is not the first to try this, as Hyatt introduced its Twitter concierge back in 2009 and now has over 12,000 followers, with a “small number of agents” working to monitor and respond to tweets. A year on, while Hyatt’s service is still working, the limitations of the concept have meant other brands have been slow to launch their own services.
Twitter’s format means that communication will invariably be somewhat stilted; multiple suggestions must be delivered through multiple tweets and there is always a need for extreme brevity – not perhaps the ideal way in the circumstances.
A study has found that while the concierge are happy to make strong recommendations in person, they are reticent to do so on Twitter, when guests can’t be engaged in a dialogue to understand their needs and desires.
Perhaps this is why other hotel chains have opted to arm their concierge with other, richer, tools instead of Twitter – InterContinental staff were given iPads this year, and the chain’s “Virtual Concierge” service provides videos and recommendations for guests from dedicated websites.
Sheraton, meanwhile, offers Microsoft Surface computers as virtual concierge, enabling guests to touch tables to research restaurants or plot a walking tour.
Wyndham’s Fashion26 hotel in New York, meanwhile, offers guests a free app to help them find their own way around the city, something several other chains are rumored to be working on.
Personally I cannot see why if a person has internet access they would want to make this sort of enquiry by twitter, a phone call or an email is far more effective. Alternatively a selection of apps from the Apple store or any of the other OS application stores can provide most information without the delay.
This is undoubtably a daft use for Twitter!