Social Media Marketing in the Digital Age
By Robert Rauch Chief Executive Officer, RAR Hospitality | February 15, 2015
Marketing and Customer service are constantly evolving in the digital age and hoteliers need to evolve with it. Marketing continues to be "anticipating the wants and needs of customers and doing it at a profit" but also doing it with a digital mindset and with digital tools. The definition of customer service has changed from just providing excellent service to being able to react to customer needs through digital communication. At R.A. Rauch & Associates (RAR), we have three main tools that help drive our marketing and customer service:
1. Social Media Marketing Strategy,
2. Digital Concierge, and
3. Our Secret Sauce (don't worry, I will share the ingredients).
Implementing these tools has helped our hotels thrive in the digital age.
Social media marketing has become much more than simply posting on Facebook or Twitter. It is about engaging with customers, providing an experience and seeing a return on your investment. At RAR we strive for innovation in our marketing strategy and in how we engage with our guests. When it comes to promoting and marketing several of our boutique hotels, we have implemented a technology called Flip.to that allows our guests to share their experiences at our properties. Flip.to allows us to engage with our guests from the moment they make a reservation to create a unique experience upon arrival. Our guests are able to share with their family and friends about their upcoming trip to our hotels. In turn, Flip.to creates a custom experience for their family and friends that drive direct bookings to the hotels.
In the first six months of implementation at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, one of the hotels we manage in San Diego, over 35,000 guests shared their experience on social media sites. And in just the first two months at our El Cordova Hotel, the property had 32 rooms booked directly from guest engagement. These numbers are more than just our hotels posting about the experience the guests have on property, it is about providing a word-of-mouth marketing strategy that is measurable.
Marketing through word-of-mouth has been a proven marketing strategy for decades. As reported by ClickZ and others, studies have shown that 75 percent of customers look for recommendations from people they trust before making a reservation. The success we have found using Flip.to has given us an innovative way to market our hotels using our own guests. In addition to traditional forms of marketing, our properties are being promoted using one of the most trusted sources, our target guests' very own family and friends. Using the trusted source as a marketing tool leads to engagement with the property that in turn leads to booking a trip at one of our properties.
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