Social Media Trends Impacting your Hotel in 2018

By Gaurav Varma Product Marketing Manager, Milestone Inc. | February 11, 2018

Social media is the natural extension of your business. It helps you to engage with your target audience to inspire real-life conversations. Social media is particularly engaging and with the increasing mobile penetration user engagement is only going to increase. More and more businesses including hotels are trying to connect with audiences on social media to establish a meaningful relationship to become a partner of choice.

1. Social Networking Remains Popular

Social media penetration is increasing year over year. Per Statista in 2017, 71% of internet users are also social media users with future projections showing no signs of slowing down. In 2016, more than 81% of the US had a social media profile. For many people social media is now their primary source of news and information, elevating it to more than just entertainment. With increased digital connectivity, around the clock access to smartphones and the lower cost of data, social media is now a way of life.

Mobile devices occupy a center stage role to enhance user experience. Location based services and Apps, near me searches such as Google Now, Foursquare, Uber and AirBnB are now solving a range of customer problems and delivering experiences in the here and now. Most social networks have launched mobile specific apps to cater to the on the go user making social media seamless in one’s lives. Thus, it’s important for your hotel to actively include social channels in your marketing mix.

Action Points for Your Team:

  • Make social media marketing part of your 2018 digital marketing road map
  • Find talent within your company or hire a professional agency
  • Start by auditing your existing digital assets (vs competition) to know where you stand

2. Bet on Video

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Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. 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.