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Increase Direct Bookings by Not Talking About Your Product on Social Media

If we sell tomatoes, we speak about tomatoes, if we sell shoes, we talk about shoes, if we sell accommodation we talk about rooms. I believe this is the wrong approach in today’s noisy world.

 

People are actively looking to block adverts, to keep their attention away from all the noise we have in this world. Nobody goes online or reads a magazine because they want to consume more adverts. We all want great content that helps us solve problems.

 

Smart marketers with degrees from Universities have been taught that we need to speak about the product, we need to create adverts for a mass market on TV; that used to work in the seventies and eighties, not in 2020. If we use this strategy in today’s world, we will not last long.

 

Marketers find it hard to come up with great content consistently. And of course, you can understand it because it’s hard to come up with things that will add value. So, if we sell accommodation, we can talk about breakfast, the view from the room, benefits of staying with the hotel, attractions in the city or town, and then do it all over again.

 

How many times can you talk about the same thing? How many times can you post about the bed and free Wi-Fi, the menu, and the receptionist who will welcome you. If we are being honest, if those marketers or people who are posting those types of content on social media left the company tomorrow, they would never follow that account, mainly because there is no added value. As I call it, it’s ego-boosting content.

 

What is ego-boosting content? It’s content that serves the company, it’s content that is created by the company and is approved by the company that boosts the marketer, the GM, and the owners’ ego. It’s amazing how great the hotel is, it’s music to GM’s ears, who doesn’t like compliments? It’s like striking your own ego, looking in the mirror and saying look how great I look. The problem with ego-boosting is that it’s not beneficial to the end consumer. It’s not putting the customer first mentally.

 

But Alex, guests always choose hotels based on reviews. Yes of course they do. But there is a place for reviews – TripAdvisor, Google, Booking.com, Expedia.com, your website and other places. People don’t go to social media to read reviews, people go to social media to get inspired, to educate or to be entertained. I’m not saying you should NOT include reviews in your content marketing strategy, but you can add a twist to your reviews on social, or add one review every 15 days. On the other 14 days if you add value to your guests on social, people will not mind it.

 

The problem with the majority of hotels is that they don’t add value, some have beautiful photography, but there is no added value. You post the bed from one side, then the bed from another side, then the drink that you can have by the bed, then the coffee you can drink in the bed, then a model (or an influencer) that will sleep in the bed, then she will wake up with a smile in the bed and it goes on and on. Six posts that had absolutely no value to a potential guest. Look at the feed below from a hotel in London.

That’s three posts in three days that are meaningless, they do have more bed pictures and more breakfast pictures and more interior pictures on their account, but I wonder, don’t they get bored? Of course not. The agency or the person that posts them is just posting and saying we have X people liking our posts.

The solution is to create a content strategy that adds value to potential and current guests. The question we should ask is, who are we targeting with our content on social? Current guests? Well if I’m a current guest I can see my bed live, I don’t need a picture on Instagram to remind myself of the bed. If I’m a potential guest I can see the bed on your website, where I’m actually going to book if I want to stay at the hotel.

 

The keyword here is value. Let’s define what value means; The regard that something is held to deserve, the importance, worth or usefulness or something. Principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.

 

 To add value, we need to speak about topics and things that are close to our story, our brand story. For example, if we have a story and a brand purpose that talks about exploring more, doing more, we can talk about different places in London. As an example, we have a client we work with and their story is explore more, do more. Our content strategy is to help people become explorers and not be a tourist. Our goal is 90% to inspire and educate people about certain places in London, and 10% to sell our rooms. You can see below three posts from their Instagram feed.

Another great example is Nike. We can learn a lot of lessons from their Instagram feed. They don’t stuff their shoes down our throats, and bang on about why they are better than Adidas or Rebook. They create content with people telling their stories. They are inspiring runners to become better runners, and based on Nike’s story – if you have a body, you are an athlete.

If our strategy is constantly about putting our services/products in front of people telling them buy now, book today, free breakfast, it’s probably not working out as well as it could.

 

It’s 2020, people see billions of adverts telling them to buy something every single day. To be precise, people in London are exposed to 120 adverts every single day. Do you think they remember any of those adverts?

 

People buy from brands that inspire them; they buy from brands that can tell their story in an inspiring way. People want to align their beliefs with brands that communicate those beliefs.

 

That’s why Nike has 102 million loyal followers, and the hotel posting ego-boosting content is struggling to get 500 followers. As a side note, some hotels and brands do have millions of followers and all they post is ego-boosting content, but trust me, people will get bored of the same content all the time.

 

This is not a new phenomenon, this thinking and these strategies existed years ago. The Michelin Guide was created to help people in London and Paris drive outside their cities to experience B&Bs, Restaurants, and Hotels. The goal was to write in the guide useful information to help people choose where to go. The guide was created for one reason; increase sales of their tyres. What a smart idea – create valuable content about places in the countryside, and people drove to the country side to experience new places.

A company I wouldn’t expect to create valuable content is RyanAir. They created a podcast called Try Something New where they shared insights, tips and ideas on where you can go, and what you could do in that city. They hired two travel bloggers (Andrew and Emily) from Along Dusty Roads to create these podcasts and convert podcasts into written articles as well. I actually enjoyed their article and their episode, it added value to me, and if I were to travel to one of those places, I would definitely check out some of the places they mentioned.

They also created a new series on Instagram called #RyanairStories where they share stories from different cities from different people. This type of content has more emotions and more personality that it makes you want to visit that country.

They also created a new series on Instagram called #RyanairStories where they share stories from different cities from different people. This type of content has more emotions and more personality that it makes you want to visit that country.

 

How can we increase our direct bookings without talking about the property? We need to create content that adds value to potential guests, it needs to speak about things you care about, it’s changing the mentality from ‘selling’ to ‘creator’, and the most important shift is understanding that every single company that wants to survive and win needs to become a media company; and by media company I mean the BBC, BuzzFeed, and whatever media it is that you are all about.

If you have any questions, you can always comment below or send me a message, I would happily help you.

 

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