Mobile web and social media have grown dramatically in the past years and in fact, a recent study found that 97 percent of millennials post on social media while they travel. All that User-Generated content (UGC) is gold for hotels. You have pictures, Facebook Posts, Tweets, Snaps, Reviews on TripAdvisor, reviews on websites and all those blog articles which are key to any hotel’s marketing. We all know that reviews have a big influence on prospective guests and that’s because people trust reviews more than they would trust an expensive advertising campaign. You can use that content and increase your guest engagement and sales!
“52% of travelers change their original travel plans due to social media”
Luxury hotels are increasing investments in UGC, but still more than half of the Index brands fail to incorporate it anywhere on their sites. By taking advantage of UGC, Luxury hotel brands can effectively enrich their content strategy with guest-generated images that are both authentic and brand specific, communicating genuinely with prospective guests. Recently I wrote a blog article about Four Seasons social media channels and I mentioned how they used The Rollinson London (lifestyle blogger) to create user generated content. Great way to promote their hotel.
The first thing I will say is the obvious; promote your social media presence. To engage with your guests you need to be on the channels they are sharing their experience. For example your guest might share his or her experience on Snapchat or Instagram and you are not active or more importantly you are not listening. Don’t you want to say a simple ‘Thank You Dear Sarah, We Appreciate You Staying With Us’? It sounds very simple but unfortunately it breaks my heart when I see hotels not thanking their guests. People save money to go on holiday and they choose YOUR hotel, they choose to PAY you rather than the hotel next to you. The second reason why it’s a good idea to promote your social media channels is because when users share their experience, their friends will check out your social media presence and they will see what your hotel is up to. Don’t you want to capture them with great content?
The second topic is monitoring social media. I will not mention the basics; somebody making a comment on your social media channels and you replying (because I know you do reply to them). You can monitor all your social media channels by having the right tools like Sysomos, Brandwatch or any other listening tools to engage in conversations. The reason you need to monitor is because someone might right a blog article about your hotel or users won’t tag your hotel on their pictures or won’t mention your @username and you still need to be informed about what they are saying. As Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) says; “Your brand is what other people say when you are not in the room”. This is a great way to ‘catch’ guests content when they don’t tag you correctly or don’t even mention you. This is what I call a content opportunity.
Promoting your social media channels to your guests is very important. The majority already share their travel experience either we like it or not. Why not encourage more sharing within your hotel? That would result in more exposure for you. Guests need something WOW to share something, to make them feel special you can add something in their room, that they will not be expecting. You can even create a ‘station’ where people take pictures with some fun accessories. It doesn’t need to be too branded, something simple and creative will do the work.
This year I went on a weekend break at Rowhill Grange Hotel & Utopia Spa (Alexander Hotels) just outside London. The spa was amazing and the whole experience was great. I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. They subscribed me to their newsletter and I occasionally receive their newsletters about special offers and other stuff (which are not very valuable to me). I liked their Facebook Page so I don’t forget the location to go next time and hid their posts because I don’t want my news feed filled with hotel and spa pics. What I realised, is that I didn’t share my experience anywhere except Snapchat. I didn’t see anywhere a reminder that I can share my experience on social media. I wouldn’t have shared it on other channels but I’m sure other people would love to do that. If they had something that was creative and fun people would be reminded. I’m sure they had their social media logos somewhere on their brochures but those are not noticeable anymore because everybody has them and those logos don’t make an impact anymore. I believe small little things help increase brand awareness and of course sales as well.
You might ask me what do you do with all this new content that you will generate? Okay, first you need a content strategy in place. Once you have your content figured out you can generate all the pictures from the web and ask your agency or your web designer to create a branded simple template where you can add your guest pictures and post them once a week for example. Obviously don’t post it every day but in your content strategy mix you should spice it up; on Tuesdays you can post testimonials, on Wednesdays you can post a blog article, on Thursday you can post that picture from @sarah. I hope this article helps you and you that you will implement one or two things. If you have any questions or need help you can always contact us at IQD Hospitality.