Guest author: Greg Bodenlos, Brand Marketing Manager for The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts and HSMAI Leader
Today’s travel shopping journey has never been more complex. In Leonardo’s recent webinar, “Strategies to Thrive in Today’s Complex Travel Shopping Journey,” we discussed the chaotic reality that hotel consumers today have never been more inundated with information across multiple channels – before, during and even after their travel experience.
During their journey, consumers will collect information about your hotel destination through a proliferation of avenues, including organic and paid search, online travel agencies (OTAs), metasearch, display and retargeting advertising, online review sites and social media.
As hotel marketers, today’s noisy landscape presents both an exciting and daunting challenge. Thanks to the maturation of social media and expedient adoption of smart phone technology, we have never been closer to the consumer experience, and must take advantage of the opportunity to leverage our hotel guests’ creativity in ways that have never before been imagined.
Below are some quick ways to gain the attention of and engage the traveler during the many phases of his/her shopping journey.
1. Keep your storytelling highly visual and unique to your property
The most effective social media posts incorporate some type of visual content and are highly representative of your property’s unique story. To determine what makes you stand out from your competition, leverage a reputation management solution like Revinate to identify what your guests love most about your property.
2. Know and emphasize your strengths
In addition to customer reviews, user-generated photos that guests post while on-property can provide a great indication of what experiences stand out the most to them. Once you get permission from these guests, use their photos to reinforce your strengths in future marketing campaigns.
3. Feature social content prominently on website
Committing resources to social media, whether that means human capital and/or advertising spend, is only half the battle towards managing a highly effective social media presence for your hotel. To amplify and extend the reach of your social media engagements with guests, feature your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other feeds prominently on your website.
4. Encourage your guests to interact with you
Unlike traditional marketing, effective social media interactions require a two-way dialogue with your audience. Create signage around your property that lets your guests know you’re engaged on social media and are committed to social listening. Unify your social media voice with dedicated hashtags so your guests know how to interact with and following along the conversation with you.
5. Respond to guests on-property
Leverage social listening platforms like SproutSocial or HootSuite to identify and engage with guests who are posting about their experience with you on-property. Respond to them as soon as possible so you can show how committed you are to engagement.
6. Promote your local destination
The optimal social media content calendar should incorporate a blend of content that is unique to your property as well as promotes the area that surrounds it. Your guests are choosing your property because it’s located in a place where they want to be; ensure that your content emphasizes the strengths of your neighborhood.
You can see some more examples of how we at The Charles Hotel are leveraging social media to amplify the guest experience and stand out in the travel shopping journey. Watch the on-demand webinar here.