People are talking about you and your area. They might not know that you’re on twitter but they do know that twitter can help them find answers. Are you listening?
There are many tools that can help you find these people and Twitter’s Advanced Search (search.twitter.com/advanced) is one of them. This searches for keywords in tweets, not people’s twitter bios.
The best part about advanced search is the “places” category. CVBs can use this function to search for tweets in their geographical target markets. This is a great way to find people who are in the planning stage and are looking for hotels. Remember, the more specific you are in your search, the fewer results you will get. Instead of manually searching on a regular basis, set up RSS feeds for your search results. It’s much easier to glance through your Google Reader than manually search every few days.
Of course larger cities will have more search results but this also means that there are a lot more tweets to sort though. Searching for the word “Chicago” alone will result in a lot of non-travel related tweets. I’ve seen great results by searching for a city name with words like suggestions, tips, recommendations, recs, etc.
Once you see a tweet asking for suggestions in your city, reach out to them. If you’re providing a link in your tweet, make it as specific as possible. Linking to a homepage is not very helpful. If you have time, look at the person’s bio before responding and try to customize your reply to their interests. A generic reply may be seen as spam. A well-thought reply that connects with the user will be seen as helpful customer service. And really, isn’t that the purpose of the hospitality industry?