3 Essential Social Media Marketing Strategies for Hotels

By Leslie Wilkins Co-Founder, Pipeline Social Media | February 18, 2018

Co-authored by Keith Mather, Chief Revenue Officer & Partner, Pipeline Social Media

There is no doubt that marketing for hotels has evolved over the years. Hoteliers have more options than ever to spend advertising dollars in both traditional forms and digital forms, so how do you choose? While there is a need for advertising methods through specific channels like billboards, Google AdWords, and TripAdvisor, none of these channels can simultaneously maximize your hotel's digital presence in the three important ways that social media can: by managing your reputation, marketing your property by telling your story, and targeting your ideal guest.

I am here to argue that social media is the only place where you can accomplish all three necessary actions and -- to a more advantageous degree -- save money, as it is the least expensive route. Let's dive into these three strategies to explain why each is important and give you the insight you need to accomplish these marketing methods today on your hotel's social media.

1. Reputation Monitoring

In an industry where success is based on reputation, you want to control the conversations happening online about your property. With social media reviews, messages, comments, and check-ins happening every second, it's important to be at the forefront of these interactions, especially if they are negative. These negative interactions cannot be completely prevented, but I can tell you how to equalize and maintain these issues by responding efficiently and correctly. I believe there is a form of performance measurement in social media called a Negative Social ROI, and it occurs when reviews and social interactions do not have a response. Create a Positive Social ROI with quick responses that conciliate your customer, keeping in mind the potential impact of friends of guests or potential guests. To put it simply: if guests or potential guests are trying to contact you through social media, you have to be effectively present in order to connect with them.

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Coming up in June 2018...

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.