As 2013 comes to a close, it’s time for your hotel to start turning its attention to the New Year.
Visual storytelling will continue to emerge as a dominate force as masterful hotel marketers are telling a memorable story online with the help of social media.
What new trends should your hotel be aware of come 2014? Check out the top 6 social media developments that will change your hotel’s marketing plan:
1. Social Media Will No Longer Be An Option, But a Necessity
Social media has changed the way businesses communicate with consumers, now it’s possible to engage in a 3 way conversation (business to consumer, consumer to business and consumer to consumer), ask questions and hear from travel shoppers in real time. Social media platforms have become vital for successful hoteliers, and in 2014, getting in the game is no longer optional, it’s a necessity.
Creating and maintaining social media accounts, like Best Western Leisure Inn in New Jersey has, offers very real and measurable benefits, as you can monitor and track the traffic being created by your profile. New Jersey’s Best Western Leisure Inn has customized their Facebook to generate more traction and engagement online. Facebook users can take a virtual tour, and even book directly through their hotel’s page!
Get ready for #socialmedia to become an even bigger influence once the ball drops this New Years Eve.
2. Google+ To Become An Even Bigger Force
Launched in 2011, Google+ is the second largest social networking site in the world, with 359 million users (businessinsider). Backed by online super-power, Google, Google+’s popularity is expected to reach new heights in 2014. The beauty of Google+ is that it isn’t just another social network, but rather an integral part of Google’s grand scheme in terms of SEO, social signals, visual capabilities and providing a more personalized search experience.
Is your hotel on Google+ yet? Having a presence on Google+ will allow your hotel to collect information from guests, like their demographics and location, to better understand who your hotel should be targeting. Google+ will also help your hotel create a larger social media trail, which will in return improve your SEO. Utilize Google+’s photo sharing capabilities by uploading interesting and relevant images of your property and surrounding locations to create a visual story that your guests can follow.
As more people turn to Google+ as the new ‘it’ social media network, it’s time your hotel creates an account and takes advantage of all its benefits.
3. Micro-Video Is In
When writing 140-characters on Twitter seems like too much of a task, social media users can now turn to micro-video apps to share real-time content. Two social media newcomers, Twitter’s Vine and Instagram’s Video platform, allows users to share short videos, ranging from 3-15 seconds, online. These platforms are ideal, as consumers are craving more bite-sized stories to be consumed in smaller pieces.
In 2014, ask your guests to tag you in micro-videos of them enjoying the amenities at your hotel. Does your hotel have a new restaurant that guests are anxiously anticipating? Or are you in the process of finishing a major renovation? Create a buzz by sharing short behind-the-scene clips in the weeks prior to its opening.
4. Pinterest Will Continue to Grow
Since its inception in 2010, Pinterest has realized tremendous success and growth in the social media world. Having launched pages for commercial use in early 2013, Pinterest now enables businesses with the opportunity to connect with consumers all over the world by sharing engaging and relevant images online.
Hotels can now take advantage of this visual social network by creating various photo albums with images of their property and local attractions. To create engagement with customers, hotels can create Pinterest albums dedicated to crowd-sourced images that guests have taken while staying at their property.
As we move into 2014, the hotel industry can follow the lead of other businesses, such as Lowes, who have used Facebook to leverage their Pinterest account.
5. Bite-Size Bits of Content
The average attention span of an adult online is only 8 seconds (smartblog.com). Make every second count by sharing content that’s quick, shareable and mobile – in other words “snackable.”
Hotels can create “snackable” content by converting the content they already have into small, easy to digest snippets of information. The best way to do this is to use visuals and short descriptions (1-2 sentences) to convey your message to travel shoppers. Snackable content is particularly well-suited for social media, so post, share, pin, tweet it as much as you can!
6. LinkedIn Will Continue To Be The Choice of Professionals
LinkedIn has successfully held the top spot as the best social network for professionals and in 2014 it doesn’t look like anything is going to change.
With business travel being as present as ever, LinkedIn is the best place for your hotel to connect with professionals on the go. Should your hotel have large conference or boardrooms, LinkedIn could be the perfect place to advertise this.
Most hotels are now aware that they need social media to stay competitive, but in 2014, this will become truer than ever before. In the New Year, it’s time that your hotel put the necessary time and resources into sharing a visual story across the social networks in snackable chunks to stand out to travel shoppers.
To find out more about how your hotel can tell its story on social media, download A Playbook for Amplifying Your Hotel’s Story on Social Media.