Nowadays, we are living in a technological and globalized world where Digital Marketing has a significant relevance. As hospitality firms´ success is strongly dependent on the contact with customers and on the reputation that they shape through it, hospitality is one of the industries in which a successful social media strategy is the most essential. With the pandemic accelerating the adoption of state-of-art technologies to face the situation, sectors have become increasingly digital. In this context, hospitality firms have been taking proactive steps to ensure that their businesses can still thrive whilst being safe and attractive to their customers. By rearranging the way hospitality is promoted worldwide through social media channels, hospitality firms can promote a steady growth of their companies, while creating added value. Some inspirational tips and best practises are shared in this present article.
By posting diverse information about the many aspects of the property, one is also able to increase the likelihood of followers to book a stay at a certain hotel.
A crucial aspect of a successful management of social media is to be constant in delivering meaningful content that is diverse and adds value to users. An example to look up to by many hotel owners or managers is the one of Sani Resort. For a brand which is not present internationally, but only in Greece, the firm has achieved a large number of followers on Instagram. On a regular basis, Sani Resort´s Instagram channel is filled up with information of different kinds, accompanied by gorgeous photos of their property and of guests enjoying it. Posts cover different topics, ranging from more pragmatic ones, where simplified booking and cancellation terms and Covid-19 testing and conditions on-site are shared, to triggering and inspirational posts, generating desire of followers to visit by showcasing appealing facts about the surroundings and the gastronomic offerings at the resort. This combination offers both a feeling of safeness and an attractive feed that calls the user´s attention. By posting diverse information about the many aspects of the property, one is also able to increase the likelihood of followers to book a stay at a certain hotel.
One other part that hospitality firms need to focus on while overseeing their social media channel is to manage future guest expectations by sharing experiences of current guests. The powerful impact of word of mouth and the influence other users have in our personal future choices is closely related with this aspect. Hereby, creativity is the most welcomed, as there is no single solution. For instance, the high-end hotel brands Shangri-la and The Ritz-Carlton use the hashtag #shangrilamoments and #RCmemories, respectively, to market the experience transparently. Within these hashtags on Instagram, both the general accounts of Shangri-la and The Ritz-Carlton, as well as the local ones of the different properties worldwide share moments of the guests during their hotel stay. Such brings potential guests closer to the brand, as it is easier to picture themselves enjoying the experience.
It becomes utterly relevant to ensure a fit between the chosen influencer and the planned target, before making any investment.
A closely related topic is the one of influencer marketing, as it drags significant attention to the property´s social media and might ultimately convert it into bookings. Most globally renowned airlines and hotel chains have taken to influencer marketing to extend their brands´ digital popularity. Accor Hotels´ Executive Director Of e-Commerce & Digital Marketing, Mansi Vagt, referred to its campaigns involving influencer marketing for the Fairmont brand as very satisfactory, as they generated high levels of reach and engagement. However, as she pointed out, when implementing an influencer marketing campaign at a hospitality business, it might be challenging to find the right fit for the business.
In this context, it becomes utterly relevant to ensure a fit between the chosen influencer and the planned target, before making any investment. For instance, if a hotel desires to target millennial customers from the emerging and attractive market of China, it could be an opportunity to engage within local social media, such as Weibo by partnering with influencers in these platforms.
Lastly, it is key to add a human touch to this technological way of marketing a hospitality service of product online. A simple, yet time consuming approach to do so is by paying close attention to comments, mentions or messages on social media and engaging with the users. Instagram, specifically, became an essential channel for all businesses. Levels of engagement and interaction in this social media can be easily increased by sharing guests' stories, answering to comments in pictures where the brand is tagged, promoting contests or being active in celebration days. Such actions will humanize the brand, reducing the distance between the users and the brand. Depending on the size of the property, this could mean to have someone employed working full-time on it. Nevertheless, such a task would add tremendous value if the social media management of the channels would take place in a constant and personalized way, rather than making use of standardized messages.
The other option would be to outsource this responsibility to a social media management company. In this case, it would be guaranteed that guests would have answers in a matter of some minutes, relevant not only to build a relationship but even before that, to maintain the brand reputation.
When strategically done, the possibility of offering a customized customer service and real-time feedback contribute to the added value.
All things considered, social media marketing is increasingly becoming less renounceable for hospitality businesses, as it offers a wide range of advantages: a large audience reach, while being a cost-effective service. When strategically done, the possibility of offering a customized customer service and real-time feedback contribute to the added value. Lastly, the collection of guest’s insights and preferences is achieved simultaneously. With it, powerful analysis and market research can be developed to continuously improve the hotel’s offer.
These relevant metrics and objectives are certainly subject to improvement in several hotels. The best part is that, once one realizes how to effectively making use of social media to improve the online presence, such is as far away as some... clicks.
Carolina Carraca. Guillermo Rodriguez.