Integrating a Comprehensive Social Media Marketing Campaign

By Jennifer Dunphy Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Vayu Media | March 16, 2014

It doesn't matter whether you're a luxury resort, boutique hotel, large chain, eco lodge or even a surf shack, social media marketing will boost your brand awareness and generate targeted website traffic all while engaging your past, present and potential guests. Were you aware that 55% of travelers liked Facebook pages specific to their vacation, while 76% posted their vacation photos to their social networks? Implementing a strong social media strategy can catapult your hotel into an entirely new playing field of guest engagement. Social media has the power to sway travelers' decision making process and in this article I will discuss why every hotel needs a comprehensive social media strategy, recent social media statistics, real success stories and how to get things started if you haven't already.

I'm sure that if I were to ask you, what is your best form of marketing? You would respond with something like "Word of Mouth and Referrals". Of course you would! It's free, it's easy, and what better way to attract new guests than through the praise of a past happy guest? Well, why is it that you are not actively engaging in a comprehensive social media strategy? It's free to join, it is relatively easy, it just takes time and the right strategy and you are well on your way to attracting more "word of mouth referrals" than you could have possibly imagined. Social media has often been referred to as word-of-mouth on digital steroids. Social media allows you to turbo charge your word of mouth and referral network far beyond the scope of "good old word of mouth". To put things into perspective, 92% of consumers say they trust earned media such as word of mouth (social media) and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.

Knowing The Numbers

Were you aware that 85% of travelers use their smart phones while traveling or that 46% of travelers will "check in" to a location via Facebook or Foursquare, for both business and pleasure? Better yet, with the explosive advancements of mobile marketing, 30% of these travelers have booked their hotels via mobile apps offering hotel deals.

Taking photos is the top action that travelers use their smartphones for while traveling. As a matter of fact, 76% of travelers will post vacation photos to their social networks both during and after their trip. Ensuring that your hotel has a strong social media presence is key to enhancing your property's exposure and making it as easy as possible for your guests to "spread the good word"

Social media guest reviews have the power to either increase your bookings or drive them away. In fact, 92% of all global consumers trust their friends and family's recommendations and word of mouth (social media) over any other form of marketing. A whopping 70% of all consumers around the world claim that online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertisement, only second to actual word of mouth referrals from people that they actually know outside of cyber space. More importantly, when allocating your marketing budget, you should consider that only a mere 47% of consumers trust paid advertising such as TV and magazines.
Most important of all is that after a vacation, 46% of travelers will post a review of their holiday hotel. Every aspect of their stay will be recollected when they compose this review so the overall guest experience is the utmost importance and social media keeps hoteliers on their toes which ends up being a win win for everyone… the guests and the hotel alike.

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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.