If the traditional travel agent is dead, it might be because they’ve been replaced by social media. As a powerful tool for travel marketers, and hoteliers in particular, social media rides the full path to purchase.
According to Social Times, 52% of people acknowledge that their friends’ photos inspire their travel plans—prompting people in their dreaming phase. When travelers plan and compare, social media again guides the conversation: travelers are 44% more likely to learn about a new travel brand on Twitter. When it comes to booking, 33% of those who use social media to research travel changed their original hotel selections.
No longer can independent hotels treat social media as a distraction or a side project. Rather, it’s time for hoteliers to embrace social media and become socially savvy.
What Social Can Do for You
- Transforming customer service. Want to hear and respond to complaints? Want to know what people love about your property? All of those conversations take place online—on people’s Twitter and Facebook feeds. Reaching out and connecting with guests about their complaints and compliments in real-time is an effective tactic for managing their experiences.
- Know your competition. Just as people will talk about your property on social media, they do the same for your competition. See what people say about others and use that information to hone your own messaging.
- Alternative avenue for marketing. Using social media, you can get more, and often free, advertising. #socialselling
- Express your brand. Are you a fun party property? Are you known for having a luxurious spa? Your social media accounts allow you to further embody your brand, and ultimately reach more in-market travelers.
Getting a Grip on Your Social Handles
Having a social presence means putting your property on one or more social networks, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and more. Trying to keep up with all of these networks is an impossible task and will end up monopolizing all of your time to little benefit. Instead, here’s some quick tips to get your property social and running successfully:
Focus your efforts. Trying to hit every single social network is too time consuming to do it well. Instead, focus your efforts on two to begin.
Find the channel that fits. If you’re a spa resort, chances are LinkedIn isn’t the best place for you to post ads given its business focus. Advertising your business center amenities on Instagram also isn’t the most thoughtful effort. Think about what features you want to highlight, and pick social networks that speak to those. If customers love sharing photos of them sitting poolside, chances are Instagram and Facebook are your best bet.