Finding and Engaging Target Guests on Social Media

By Tim Sullivan Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Cendyn | February 18, 2018

With so many options, and so much growth potential, targeting guests on social media should be a top priority for every company in the hospitality field. The challenge becomes how to efficiently and effectively get your message across to current and prospective guests, inspiring customer loyalty while driving revenue growth.

Know Your Platforms

Seven in ten Americans use social media, and nearly 90% of internet users in the US have a Facebook profile, with three-quarters of Facebook users checking their profiles at least once a day. Because of its universality, Facebook has become a valuable reference tool for finding recommendations from friends and family, with a strong word-of-mouth component and powerful advertising reach.

With its compelling visual nature, Instagram has also become an important channel for hotels, and it dominates when it comes to interactions with followers, boasting the highest engagement rate of any social platform. The number of companies using Instagram for marketing has doubled in the past year, topping more than 70%, and 80% of users follow their favorite brands on the platform. It has evolved into a very strong platform where we can directly attribute measurable revenue growth to targeted campaigns.

Snapchat is a newer platform, and though we haven't seen much revenue that we can directly attribute to it, the user engagement level is very high. The channel reaches 41% of 18-34 year olds, with over 400 million snaps sent every day, and 55% of users report following brands on Snapchat. The targeted advertising we're doing on that platform is following a similar trend to what we saw in the beginning with Instagram, where we weren't getting much direct response, but a lot of engagement on the content. We're doing additional testing, and the platform itself is making heavy investments to better support brands and businesses.

It's All About The Data

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.