Hotels often try to be all things to all people in social media, but you’ll be more effective if you identify and focus on key target markets. “Traditionally, hotels have broken target markets into categories like corporate, group and FIT and by geography or demographics. But those segments often miss critical questions,” said panelist Robert Cole, founder of RockCheetah.
Cole recommended targeting social personas. Identify who they are, what they want and why they stay with you. Give them a name such as “adventurous honeymooners” and write down everything you know about them: income, lifestyle, hometown, needs, etc. “Then identify the services you can provide to give them an incredible, unforgettable time,” he said.
Strategy #2: Integrate content
Panelist Suzie Wotton, vice president of marketing at Red Carnation Hotels, recommended integrating three types of content in marketing campaigns to amplify visibility and reach.
Paid content includes cost-per-click, display ads and OTA listings, whereas owned content includes your website, blog, media releases, Facebook page and Twitter feed. For both types of content, you control the messaging- but its influence is limited.
Earned content is what other people say about your hotel. It includes user-generated reviews and imagery, media and blogger coverage, and social endorsements such as “likes,” “pluses” and shares. You don’t control the messaging, but it has high influence because consumers trust other consumers more than advertising.
“Traditionally, marketers focus on paid and owned content, which often involves ‘aspirational’ brand messages,” Wotton told ReviewPro webinar attendees. “Social media provides an optimum platform for integrating all three types of content. The key is to understand how all three types work together.”
As an example, she cited a recent post to Red Carnation Hotels’ Facebook page about gift certificates. The post is owned content, controlled by the brand. It received several shares and over 500 likes, which is earned content. The company advertises it as a sponsored post, which is paid content.
All three content types increase reach, but, “It’s the earned content in the form of guest comments that authenticates the message,” said Wotton. To maximize opportunities, she recommended “creating unique, bite-sized pieces of content that encourage engagement and can easily be shared across multiple channels.”
Strategy #3: Make reviews the priority
Review sites must be the priority because people visit them to shop, whereas social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are primarily used for socializing. Moreover, reviews are a valuable resource for guest feedback. That’s not to say social networking sites aren’t important; they have emerged as important marketing and guest service channels.
Panelist Adele Gutman, vice president of sales, marketing and revenue at Library Hotel Collection, shared the remarkable story of how her four New York boutique hotels climbed the ranks on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index.
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