The Power of Content Marketing, Viral Videos, and Social Platforms

By Brenda Sandoval Valdes Associate Partner, LINKS WorldGroup | November 12, 2017

Savvy hotels now seek sleeker and smarter ways to attain brand loyalty among current and potential customers, according to the leading communications and marketing agency, LINKS WorldGroup. Today’s technological innovations create almost limitless ways to share information and engage with the public. Combining this ability with age-old corporate social responsibility initiatives and actions allows for the opportunity to allow customers to feel they are supporting important causes, while simultaneously creating loyalty to brands.

Customer surveys have confirmed that international hotel groups and major names who give back to the community which their property is in, care for the environment with green practices, and implement process and investments that go beyond mere profit, are ultimately more admired through the eyes of customers. Companies must also take into account that today’s modern consumer has limitless access to information and is incredibly savvy. This is a key factor for hotels that wish to create long-term brand leverage, as they are able to highlight their role in community development through smart social media presence and content marketing.

According to a recent survey, 75% of respondents revealed that they felt organizations weren’t doing enough to increase brand loyalty. While some may argue that sponsored content is not the best way to go about public relations for CSR, there is data to show that in such cases sponsored content is not perceived as advertising. It is still important to identify such content clearly and gain trust for being transparent.

Social media is a platform that is attracting major attention for its ability to bring companies closer to consumers. Buzzwords such as sentiments, engaging content, viral, reach, influencers, quick interaction, feedback, complaint resolution, and regular stream of content can build positive rapport when implemented correctly. Companies in travel have a lot to gain from trust built on social media. It is always, however, important to remember that consumers want to engage with corporations, and companies should use this platform to speak with rather than pander to customers or simply advertise their initiatives. Customers can quickly see this as companies simply wanting to ‘do good’ for the sake of their bottom line. That is why smart and clever content marketing is key.

It is also possible to measure and quantify the results of social media activities and keep track of how successful any campaign or activity is. It is important for hotel executives to implement strategic marketing consultancy to engage in and track social media initiatives. Through an organized process of content creation for social media and other content marketing efforts that includes research, analysis, data collection, organization, writing, and editing of blogs, newsletters, press releases, brochures and overall collateral, LINKS provides an in-depth approach that results in powerful content for hotel clients. The end goal, LINKS says, is to build long relationships between hotels and their audience through a strategic communication process. This translates into creative and adaptable ways to reach the target audience.

This explosion in content over the last decade has resulted in hotel marketers waxing eloquent on how best to sell content and how to best deliver that all-important message. Quality content has always been important in the travel and hospitality industry, but now it is more essential than ever. Marketers must focus on providing travelers with relevant and share-worthy social media posts and engaging articles. This is a key opportunity to build hotel brands through insightful compelling content and smart delivery. By having consumers share to their own networks and creating traffic through outside sites, the possibilities to reach international feeder markets are wonderfully cost-effective and much more impactful than traditional print advertising.

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.