Social media marketing for the hospitality industry has been a growing trend as social media as a whole has become more and more popular over the past few years. Increasingly, consumers and businesses are using these networks to make their travel plans. It has become essential for hotels and resorts to keep up with their competitors and engage with potential customers. Having a strong social media presence is key to keeping bookings high and business booming.
Another benefit of being active on social media is that search engines favor social media sites that have great search results. Recent SEO studies show that people who are searching for hotels are also using social media to explore activities and attractions in the same area.
Where To Begin?
Social media is a channel that brings together marketing strategies and customer service. Therefore, the way hotels and resorts interact with travelers on the web is key and can be the difference between gaining or losing a new booking. To participate in the conversation and gain traffic from social media, your web content must be interesting to potential customers and fit the platform. Let’s look at some of the top platforms for social media in hospitality and tourism:
• Pinterest is underused by the hotel industry, but it should be embraced. It’s a great resource to highlight events, beautiful accommodations, outside spaces, meetings facilities, local attractions and more. Using eye-catching photography, along with pertinent information about services, is simple and proven to be extremely effective.
• Instagram, like Pinterest, is a great visual platform that allows you to integrate photography and captions to promote your business but Instagram has the added benefit of video capabilities. Although videos are limited to 15 seconds each, it’s an effective way to show off your brand. The shorter timeframe can actually act as a “teaser” to longer content on your website, driving valuable traffic there. Smartphones make it easy to upload to the app. You can even enhance your content with various filters.
• YouTube is another way to put people in touch with the potential “experience” of staying at your establishment. It allows you to visually capture your brand in as short or long a timeframe as you desire. Don’t have video-editing skills? No problem! There are many apps and user-friendly video production programs that make it easy. Another option is to create a slideshow of photos accompanied by background music.
• Twitter is a quick way to share your content by sending out short and sweet “tweets”—messages that contain 140 characters or less. You can also share photos and, more recently, video. Add a catchy hashtag unique to your property to get people to join the conversation—this will allow you to track what people are saying about your brand if they use it in their own tweets. Twitter is also a very effective customer-service tool. The impact can be huge.
• Facebook has become a social staple with users treating it more like a search engine. If a business does not have a presence on Facebook, a prospective traveler may give up and look elsewhere. This platform is also a wonderful way to instantly engage with customers. Like Twitter, Facebook is a go-to for customer service inquiries—according to Revinate.com, one-third of consumers use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative daily.
• Google+ is one of the lesser-known platforms, but is still extremely important to businesses (and it’s popularity is growing, fast). A presence on this platform can help improve your search visibility on Google, which is a huge bonus. Another feature of this platform is Google+ Communities—this allows customers to add their input and interact with each other about your brand. It also allows you to interact with these customers. You can link your page directly to your website, as well as include a “+1” button on your site which—similar to a Facebook “like”—improves your visibility.
• LinkedIn is another medium that is growing in popularity. It’s especially helpful in reaching business professionals, so if you’re looking to promote your meetings capabilities, this is where you want to be.
Ensure A Great User Experience
The user experience is huge when it comes to great social marketing. Users want to be engaged and able to navigate though your social platforms easily. Usability factors such as overall performance, legibility, color and design play very important roles when it comes to your presence on social platforms. Incorporating a clear design with engaging content will help your web presence bump up overall performance. You can also track the performance of your social media platforms to see what is working and what isn’t.
Understanding the Journey of Your Customer
When it comes to your social media marketing strategy, take a view from your customer’s standpoint. You must take into account their travel inspirations, research tactics and social media understanding. In hospitality/travel, customers research websites, social media platforms and reviews to plan a trip or book a stay. Being present on every one of these resources gives your business that much more of an edge over your competitors.
At the end of the day, there are many things that you should take into consideration to build your corporation by incorporating different tactics in social marketing. Taking the time to research what will make your business stronger will benefit you in the long run.
To learn more about marketing through social media and how it can benefit your business, reach out to Lynn Kaniper at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 609.466.9187 ext. 117.