The Power of Content Marketing, Viral Videos, and Social Platforms

By Brenda Sandoval Valdes Associate Partner, LINKS WorldGroup | November 12, 2017

Savvy hotels now seek sleeker and smarter ways to attain brand loyalty among current and potential customers, according to the leading communications and marketing agency, LINKS WorldGroup. Today's technological innovations create almost limitless ways to share information and engage with the public. Combining this ability with age-old corporate social responsibility initiatives and actions allows for the opportunity to allow customers to feel they are supporting important causes, while simultaneously creating loyalty to brands.

Customer surveys have confirmed that international hotel groups and major names who give back to the community which their property is in, care for the environment with green practices, and implement process and investments that go beyond mere profit, are ultimately more admired through the eyes of customers. Companies must also take into account that today's modern consumer has limitless access to information and is incredibly savvy. This is a key factor for hotels that wish to create long-term brand leverage, as they are able to highlight their role in community development through smart social media presence and content marketing.

According to a recent survey, 75% of respondents revealed that they felt organizations weren't doing enough to increase brand loyalty. While some may argue that sponsored content is not the best way to go about public relations for CSR, there is data to show that in such cases sponsored content is not perceived as advertising. It is still important to identify such content clearly and gain trust for being transparent.

Social media is a platform that is attracting major attention for its ability to bring companies closer to consumers. Buzzwords such as sentiments, engaging content, viral, reach, influencers, quick interaction, feedback, complaint resolution, and regular stream of content can build positive rapport when implemented correctly. Companies in travel have a lot to gain from trust built on social media. It is always, however, important to remember that consumers want to engage with corporations, and companies should use this platform to speak with rather than pander to customers or simply advertise their initiatives. Customers can quickly see this as companies simply wanting to 'do good' for the sake of their bottom line. That is why smart and clever content marketing is key.

It is also possible to measure and quantify the results of social media activities and keep track of how successful any campaign or activity is. It is important for hotel executives to implement strategic marketing consultancy to engage in and track social media initiatives. Through an organized process of content creation for social media and other content marketing efforts that includes research, analysis, data collection, organization, writing, and editing of blogs, newsletters, press releases, brochures and overall collateral, LINKS provides an in-depth approach that results in powerful content for hotel clients. The end goal, LINKS says, is to build long relationships between hotels and their audience through a strategic communication process. This translates into creative and adaptable ways to reach the target audience.

This explosion in content over the last decade has resulted in hotel marketers waxing eloquent on how best to sell content and how to best deliver that all-important message. Quality content has always been important in the travel and hospitality industry, but now it is more essential than ever. Marketers must focus on providing travelers with relevant and share-worthy social media posts and engaging articles. This is a key opportunity to build hotel brands through insightful compelling content and smart delivery. By having consumers share to their own networks and creating traffic through outside sites, the possibilities to reach international feeder markets are wonderfully cost-effective and much more impactful than traditional print advertising.

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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.