NB: This is an article by Tambourine
There is no one we trust more than a friend or family member.
According to Nielsen Media, 83% of people say they trust recommendations from family and friends over all other forms of marketing. This is the modern anti-advertising dynamic that has enabled TripAdvisor to grow into a global powerhouse; making past guest reviews critical to your property’s success.
And now, more and more smart hoteliers are taking ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing to the next level by investing in technology that converts their own guests into a powerful extension of their hotel marketing team.
By using social advocacy platforms like Flip.to, hotels are providing a system for guests to spread their excitement about their upcoming stays via social media. Flip.to automatically sends an offer/incentive to the social connections of each new guest after they book… and leads their connections back to a personalized landing page on the hotel website
We spoke with Flip.to’s Richard Dunbar, Director of Partnerships and Diane Van Leunen, Director of Marketing to explain why social advocacy reaps so much success and tips on how hotels can start turning their own guests into their proudest and loudest brand champions:
What can Social Advocacy do for your property?
1. Help you Reach Similar Audiences
The friends and family of your guests are a like-minded demographic with similar travel and purchasing habits. This is the audience you want to be in front of—and you’re already trying to reach on your other channels anyhow.
2. Reduce OTA fees
Acquiring new guests by leveraging current guests is infinitely better trying to acquire new guests than through an OTA where you’re paying upwards of 25% of the booking (or more.) Not only do you own the lead for the potential guest, but the lead was introduced to your hotel in the best way possible—through someone they already know and trust!
3. Cut Competition Off From the Very Start
You can start to build and own a relationship with potential guests before your competitors even have a chance. From there, you have the opportunity to nurture this warm lead into becoming a future guest.
How can your property do it right?
Regardless of whether you invest in systems like Flip.to, all hotels can benefit from the emerging power of social advocacy… here’s how:
1. Offer Guests Clear Incentive To Share
Incentivize your guests to spread the word about you. You can’t nurture brand advocacy by force-feeding your guests the same ol’ tired marketing messages. Instead, you need to make it worth their while to talk about your hotel and their upcoming stay with their social connections. Give your guests great stories on social media and an incentive to pass along to their friends and family that makes them look like a hero.
2. Ask for advocacy at the Right Time
Capitalize on where the guest is in their travel experience. For example, the moment of confirmation on your hotel booking engine is a time when your guest is most excited (they just booked!) as well as a time they would likely have shared anyway.
3. Make The Message Real and Authentic
Messaging and authenticity are highly important. If the message is not attractive to share or something guests would want to share (and not just because of the incentive)—then you’ll see low engagement. Authenticity goes a long way; use real language, and make sure it’s something your guests feel good about posting to their network of friends and family.