The coronavirus lockdown has forced everyone to stay inside their homes and the isolation from friends and loved ones means consumers are using social media more than they ever have.
NB: This is an article from Vizergy
Reports have shown a 61% increase in social media engagement since the lockdown. That makes social media channels like Facebook and Instagram a valuable way to reach and engage past guests and influence future guests that are dreaming of where they’ll travel to the moment, they are able to leave their home.
However, businesses – hotels especially – should be focusing on connection over conversions right now.
Staying present and top of mind with past or future guests is important for hotels to be successful when people are ready to travel again. Establishing connections now will lead to conversions in the near future.
With many hotels choosing to cease all marketing activity when their doors closed in March and April, social media is also a very cost-effective way for hotels to begin re-establishing their marketing funnel. This is particularly true for engaging consumers in the dreaming stage of the travel customer journey, since that is largely the stage that most consumers are in perpetually during lock down. Staying active on social networks helps to keep guests engaged and keeps your property top of mind once travel resumes. Here are our suggestions to position your property for success amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Stay Active on Social Networks
Being active also entails being responsive to online guests. Appointing someone to be attentive to any questions asked is a great way to stay on top of any questions or concerns that may roll in.
Your property’s social media accounts serve as a great resource for accurate, up-to-date, information for any online guests. Is your property currently open? Are you still offering all services, including your restaurants? Do you have a clear cancellation policy?
Here would be a good place to mention any limitations on capacity requirements, reduced hours or service capacity, as well as any promotions or specials being offered.
2. Prioritize Connection Over Conversions
Leverage your property’s social media accounts as a way to maintain your brand and communicate in a caring and compassionate way. Rather than being concerned with driving conversions, now is a time to prioritize connections with your guests. Use social platforms to spread positivity during this uncertain time and convey your excitement to reopen your doors and welcome your guests back.
Over the coming weeks and months guests are going to need to be reassured and have their concerns validated in order to be convinced that travel is safe and that your hotel is complying with new social distancing guidelines and state mandates. Reiterate any additional measures being taken to ensure guest and staff health and safety.
3. Encourage User-Generated Content
User generated content consistently rates higher in trust and authenticity with consumers than traditional marketing content. Now is the time to leverage user generated content on social channels by encouraging your audience to share memories, photos, videos of their time at your hotel and restaurant. It is also a great way of getting some quick and free market research into what guests like most about your destination and hotel amenities.
As hotels start to re-open, leverage user generated content on your website and social channels to show that your hotel is open, and guests are back. Positive user generated content around how the hotel is dealing with social distancing measures is likely to be more trusted by consumers that are planning a trip than anything they read on your website or social channels directly from you. If shoppers can see guests staying at your property and having a good time it is a strong validation that their travel plans can go ahead and that your property is the right choice.
4. Get Creative
Now is a time for hotels to get creative in how they entice guests to visit their location and stay at their property. Showcase your property’s uniqueness. With people spending even more time on social media during social distancing, now is an optimal time to get in front of increased audiences.
Utilize appealing pictures and video content from your property to grab online travelers attention. This can include ‘behind the scenes’ footage when the hotel is preparing to re-open and then content that shows how the hotel has adapted processes and procedures to meet social distancing guidelines. “cleanliness is the new flat-screen TV” – meaning it is now essential to communicate the hotel’s practices and procedures, in the short term future it is impossible to over-communicate those aspects to your guests until there is a better sentiment around travel and coronavirus generally.
You can also utilize gift card sales as a great way to capture revenue upfront for reservations at a later date. Finally, you can offer a sweepstakes or caption competition that will drive engagement and capture email addresses that can then be used for future campaigns.