Social media and mobile have an increasing influence on the travel industry; it’s important for hotels to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to capitalize on the market. I recently attended Eye for Travel’s 2013 Social Media & Mobile Strategies for Travel Conference in San Francisco to hear what they had to say about the topic.
Here are some highlights from what was shared at the conference about how to improve your hotel marketing with social media and mobile strategies:
1. Prepare for the Traveler of Tomorrow
The traveler of tomorrow is more mobile and social than ever before. “1 in 4 travelers have used social networking sites to plan their travel.” (IHG The New Kinship Economy)
The traveling demographic is becoming younger and younger; the new “laptop and latte” generation relies heavily on mobile technology. Smartphones have made mobile and social media easily accessible. “The invisible traveler books online, checks in via mobile and has extensive knowledge of the area without ever interacting with people. They increasingly rely on information from social media.” (Will Pinnell)
Word-of-mouth recommendations are now taking place over social media, this is where people are sharing, asking questions and seeking advice. It’s important for hotels to be present where the Traveler of Tomorrow is spending their time- which is social media and mobile.
2. Create unique stories that connect with consumers
Marketing is moving to a more personal form of communication with consumers. Services have become more customized, for example, hotels may hire vegan chefs and staff that can speak multiple languages to ensure they’re meeting the specific needs of their guests.
Better understanding travelers and what they seek in a vacation is huge for hotel marketing. Through events, research and enhanced profile capabilities marketers can zone in on consumer preferences and tailor unique visual stories to match those desires. As we know; there is no better way to stand out to customers than through visual storytelling. Humanizing your hotel brand on websites and social media can also help personalize the research experience for the travel shopper so they feel a connection to your brand.
3. Develop your social media engagement
When it comes to social media, one of the most important aspects is engagement. Hotel marketers can engage travel shoppers by:
– Humanizing the brand:
– The more personable your brand is, the more likely your followers are to interact with you.
– Maintaining good public relations:
– Portraying a positive image through social media and responding to any concerns/criticism customers may have
– New Visual Social Channels for maximum Impact & ROI:
– Pinterest, Vine and Instagram are great visual social media channels, and free to join, allowing for great ROI.
– Including customer engaging contests:
– Run contests with mass support that use initiatives that will leverage your fans to become brand advocates by sharing pictures or stories of your brand in order to win.
4. Make the most of mobile opportunities
“More than 45% of travelers are now browsing for travel on mobile devices and 15% are actually booking.”
Mobile technology creates many opportunities for hotel marketers. Hotel eMarketers can capitalize on this by enabling a user-friendly, accessible and navigable site on both Smartphones and tablets. If your mobile websites aren’t user-friendly, viewers will be directed away from you’re your mobile site and you’ll miss out on bookings from your mobile consumers.
Customizing a different platform for both Smartphones and tablets that differs from your regular digital platform make it easy for mobile consumers to book with you. It’s important that your mobile site offers shorter, “snackable” text, easily viewed images that adapt to both portrait and landscape orientation and clickable links that drive shoppers directly to book. Use your mobile sites to create value for your property in the eyes of your mobile consumers.
Eye For Travel raises some valuable points on how to improve your social and mobile marketing. To learn more on mobile, download our guide Six Critical Mobile Optimization Tactics Every Hotelier Should Know.
For helpful social media strategies take a look at our checklist: Stepping Up Your Hotel’s Visual Storytelling on Social Media.