Multilingual Dialogues: Can Your Social Media Strategy Handle It?

By Emil Atanassov General Manager, Asia Pacific, Sajan, Inc. | November 23, 2014

Social media stands to be one of the hallmark features of the hospitality industry's marketing approach in coming years. Consider that around 46 percent of travelers post hotel reviews on social media after their trip (Nielsen) and the number of social media users worldwide now hovers around 1.73 billion. By 2017, this number is predicted to crest 2.5 billion, according to SocialMedia Today. Out of these users, the fastest growing and most engaged markets are in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Connecting with current and prospective guests on social networks helps build loyalty in key markets. But social engagement on a global scale demands careful planning to do it correctly.

For the best possible outcome with global dialogues on social media, you will need to choose resources appropriately, consider when it makes sense to outsource, identify key social networks in your target markets, and think about your overall staff capacity. Everything begins with an honest look at what you want to achieve-your hotel's overall business goals. Once that is identified, you can begin to build up your social media presence in multiple countries.

Destination: Business Goal Achievement Fostered by Social Media

All of your social media efforts need to map back to a larger business goal. Otherwise you run the risk of putting forth scattered, and potentially ineffective, efforts. For example, you could launch a presence on the latest social media platform only to find out later that your prospective guests in the Ukraine don't even use that platform. If your hotel is planning to open a new site in Mexico, it makes sense to align social media efforts to Mexican social media users' habits and preferences. Spend time thinking about and identifying what your region-specific goals are. That will naturally lead into how social media can support those goals.

Research where your target audiences spend their time online, what they do there and the type of content they seek out. For example, South Korea inhabitants' use of social media is heavily influenced by video and blogging. If you were trying to engage with South Koreans, you could use this knowledge to effectively reach them. Remember that social networks differ in popularity across cultures, too. While Twitter could be a good way to connect with your South Korean audiences, V Kontakte makes more sense with Russian fans due to the network's wide use there. Researching each region's favored social channels gives you needed insight to ensure that global social media will fit within-and help you achieve-your business goals.

To Get People Socially Engaged, Get Personal

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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.