During our recent webinar, Delivering the Ideal Millennial Experience, one hotelier asked us about inspiration. How do you inspire travelers to think about you before they travel?
Our responses mostly had to do with ways to engage via public channels:
Social Media. Engaging on social media is more critical for hotels now than ever before. It’s where you can identify and engage with your brand advocates (your best customers), and leverage user generated content to build a relationship with their social networks. We’ve talked about this before, so CLICK HERE to access a useful blog post with more details.
Update your TripAdvisor and Social Media pages frequently with fresh images. TripAdvisor recently released a study that links photos to increased direct bookings. CLICK HERE to read the article.
Display reviews on your site. Reading reviews is now part of the booking process, so having reviews on your site enables travelers to make purchase decisions without leaving to look for reviews on OTAs. According to a case study by L2, Four Seasons launched user reviews in 2010, and was among the 17% of brands that featured them on their brand.com sites. Those brands sent 39% less traffic to OTAs, avoiding expensive OTA commissions.
Try Pinterest! If you have the resources, Pinterest is a great place to find highly engaged customers who are very likely to be inspired. If you’re interested in learning more, we blogged about it recently: CLICK HERE to access the post.
But, these are all public channels. We didn’t get the chance during the webinar to dig into private channels, which can be highly effective at inspiring repeat bookers. Once you have your guest’s email, the possibilities for inspirational messaging open up quite a bit. If you’re able to learn more about your guests, like their job titles, interests, marital statuses, and more, you can deliver much more targeted marketing messaging, which has shown to be much more effective than traditional marketing. If you can develop a relationship with these customers, they may become repeat customers and brand advocates.
The trouble is, collecting your guests’ personal information is a tricky thing. 65% of US consumers worry about how marketers use their personal data, according to SDL’s Data and Privacy Study. But, the same study also found that 80% of US respondents are more likely to provide personal information to a trusted brand.
As hotel marketers, you understand the importance of using guest insights to offer more targeted promotions and discounts to your guests. But guests also want to protect their data. Here are some things to consider when collecting guest data:
- Communicate clearly to your guests what they will receive in exchange for their data.
- Deliver the right offers and discounts for your audience, based on that data. If it doesn’t seem relevant, it won’t fly with your guests.
- Offer a compelling reason for guests to share data. Perhaps they’ll get a coupon for the restaurant for sharing their email addresses or connecting on Facebook.
- Reassure your guests that you won’t ever share or sell their information.
By using customer data judiciously and protecting the privacy of your guests, your brand will create loyalty.