How Hotels Can Improve Guest Loyalty Through SoLoMo Marketing and a Locals First Focus
By Bram Hechtkopf Vice President of Business Development & Marketing, Kobie Marketing | July 14, 2013
To loyalty marketers who thought they knew what SoLoMo stands for: think again. Spelled out as Social, Local, Mobile, too often the 'Lo' in SoLoMo is thought of as a strictly location-based initiative. But thinking in those narrow terms fails to consider a vital and valuable subset of hotel guests: locals.
Think about it. How often do locals say, "Oh, I wish I could be a tourist in my own city?" Instead of being incentivized to walk through hotel doors via an engaging experience or rich loyalty program, locals fail to consider options that are nearby or right in front of them. Only on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or nights out at the theater do some locals buck this trend. Otherwise, a largely untapped market is being unfairly ignored.
A recent info-graphic released by The Location Based Marketing Association and Venuelabs speaks to this point. In a review of 265 cities, it was found that hotel brands are missing as much as 85% of local customer feedback. It also found that locals are 12 times more likely to give a brand positive feedback compared to non-locals. Meanwhile, another study by hotel software company Monscierge found that 73% of hotel guests want local recommendations.
So "local" and location-based marketing isn't simply about performing a search for "hotels in Nashville" or researching "Vietnamese restaurants near New York's Plaza Hotel."
It's also about people living in proximity to a hotel. And, for hotel loyalty marketers, tapping that lucrative 'Lo' segment.
But as hotels are working harder to engage guests and create new experiences (which include 4-star onsite dining, book readings, poetry nights, free in-lobby Wi-Fi, wine tastings and the "Starbuckification" of the lobby itself) they should also consider the truly local aspects of the marketing term SoLoMo. Perhaps we should also be asking how can hotels more effectively wed that local engagement to social and mobile marketing.