Recent News & Updates
Making the Most of Twitter's RSS Feed
Earlier this year, we set up a company Twitter account. We now have around 160 followers which sounds a little more impressive than it actually is.
The biggest problem is perhaps our name, which includes the word ‘computers’. This has unfortunately invited scores of computer shops, assorted technobods and a plethora of ‘bots’ (fake, computer-generated Twitter users) to follow us. From a commercial perspective, Twitter isn't proving to be an effective marketing channel in it's standard form.
So, what could be done to make better use of it?
We had a brainwave recently which has transformed the way we use Twitter. As you may know, Twitter publishes RSS feeds for anyone that tweets. RSS feeds are very useful as they present information in a standard, recognised format which can be incorporated into any website and, as I'll come on to, locally-installed applications. To see ours, just click here.
Our property management system, Welcome 21st, is in use at hundreds of hotels across the UK. One element of this software has always been earmarked as a potential tool to distribute news to our customers. Until now, we've been unable to find an easy, unobtrusive way of doing so.
Our technical team is always up for a challenge and very quickly incorporated our Twitter RSS feed into the aforementioned application. They’ve done it in such a way that any mention of Twitter is hidden from view. It wouldn’t matter if this wasn’t the case, of course, but it looks a little tidier and bespoke as a result. Clicking the links takes the user directly the URL within the tweet, not the tweet itself (you may even be reading this as a result of clicking on one of the links). We’ve even got a bit clever with dates so that only the last seven day’s worth of tweets are displayed. Similarly, if none are available, or the internet connection is down, the news section disappears altogether.
The alternative we had was to make our application display a web page, but updating this would be a much more arduous task. In comparison, Twitter can be updated with a couple of clicks and from anywhere on the planet, making the distribution of important news (for example the forthcoming VAT change) to our customers easier than ever.
Please get in touch if you’ve found similar ways of making Twitter work for your hotel. I’d love to hear from you.