The Secrets of Successful Social Media Marketing

By Robert King General Manager, Travel & Hospitality, ClickSquared | December 26, 2010

If you've been reading my articles regarding optimizing guest (and travel agent) communications, then you've probably noticed that there is no one "silver bullet" that does the trick. Rather, communications must be integrated and orchestrated for maximum impact: this is the essence of cross-channel marketing.

It's no different with social media marketing -- the "new frontier" for marketers today.

Just to be sure we're on the same page, social media marketing is the use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Usually when consumers think of social media, sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube spring to mind. These communities give people a way to connect on a more personal level, enabling them to create content to share with family, friends, co-workers and other like-minded individuals.

It's all about conversation, and the first and most important part of any good conversation is the ability to listen. For marketers, social media, at its essence, is primarily a listening post into customer sentiment.

The Evolution of Social Media Marketing

How is social media marketing different than other kinds of marketing? Traditionally, marketers have created marketing campaigns based on specific events, promotions, product launches, etc. They've been in the driver's seat – they decide the message, the medium, and the recipient. With social media marketing the marketer becomes a "facilitator". You engage in a "conversation" rather than deliver a monologue. While initially passive in this space, marketers are now active participants in the conversation and using community dynamics to their advantage.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.