Leveraging the Power of Earned Content for Your Hotel

By R.J. Friedlander Founder & CEO, ReviewPro | February 25, 2018

No doubt your hotel is already generating a wide variety of content whether for your website, your social media channels, or digital marketing campaigns. Based on this information a future guest builds up an image about the experience they are likely to expect at your hotel, which helps them when making decisions about their trip. Content can be divided up into three key areas. They are all are important and serve distinct purposes:

Paid content is content a business purchases such as cost-per-click and display advertising, listings on online travel agency sites and social media advertising. The business has high control over the messaging, but the content has lower trust with consumers because they know it comes from a marketer who wants to sell them something.

Owned content is content a business owns and controls, like its website and blog, social media profiles and the content it posts on them. The business has high control over the messaging, but owned content has only moderate trust with consumers because, as with paid content, it comes from a marketer.

Earned content, also called user-generated content, is content posted by other people about a business. It includes guest reviews and ratings, media and blogger coverage, and social media shares, likes and comments. A business has lower control over the messaging because it originates from other people, but earned content has higher trust because it comes from consumers rather than marketers.

This type of content is not directly generated by your business, but instead it is produced by users of your product, your guests, detailing authentic and real feedback in the form of reviews, blogs, social media interactions, or even feature articles, depending on who they are. However, it is useful to view it as being indirectly generated by you, because the foundation of the positive sentiment begins with the great service received at your hotel.

Great service should mean great reviews, and you want those reviews to impact on as wide an audience as possible. Social media plays a vital role to this process: one of the first things people want to do when they have had a positive experience is to hit the ‘share’ button. This is one of the most powerful ways you can harness the power of earned content.

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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.