Tap Into the Travel Marketing Powerhouse That Your Competition Can't Touch

By Diane Van Leunen Director of Digital Marketing, Flip.to | January 29, 2017

We hear all the time that travelers have changed. Now we’re highly-connected, mobile-crazed folks who want the freedom to choose. We want experiences, and we want to share those experiences with family and friends at the touch of a button, all in search of the next like. This is often attributed to the growing number of Millennial travelers born-and-raised on tech somewhere between 1980 (or ‘85, or ‘90 depending on who you ask) and the early 2000s.

The reality is, travelers aren’t so different. We’re still dreamers and adventure-seekers. We always enjoyed experiences and we always shared them with the people we love. What’s changed is just how we do those things—how we dream, how we connect with our like-minded tribe, and how we discover new adventures. All of these are made faster and easier thanks to the explosion of mobile and social.

It makes good business sense that hotels are adapting to this phenomenon. Being present on these channels is a must. After all, social media is where billions of conversations are happening every day. But what sets these conversations and the medium itself apart are the people. It’s their connection to each other that makes their personal exchanges unique. This is discourse a brand, big box or building just can’t have.

Ultimately, it’s the people who have the massive influence, connectivity and trust that can make a big impact for hotels (or any brand for that matter), and can even give your property a competitive edge. Herein lies the opportunity. So who are these people? They’re your guests, and you can use them to earn big wins for your hotel.

Reaching Travelers is Tough. Here’s Why Your Competitors Might be Winning

Before we look at why your guests are such an incredibly valuable marketing asset, it’s worth looking at the challenges hotels are seeking to overcome.

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Sherri Merbach
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Robert M. O'Halloran
Andy Ellicott
Sheetal Singh
Scott  Watson
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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.