As our online behavior begins to reflect a shift away from traditional search and desktop-only consumption, it should come as no surprise that more people are turning to social platforms for information. Most hotels today have active profiles on social networks and are using the channels to engage with prospects and guests. But, it’s important that hotel marketers take note that social media communities are only growing more active and more influential than ever before.
Here are three interesting insights that every hotel marketer should be using to inform his or her social media strategy this year.
1. Social media is number one
As of December 2014, 31.24% of all web referral traffic was tied to social media (up from 22.71% last year), according to a recent Shareaholic report.
Additionally, organic search traffic was greatly impacted by Google’s Panda update last year. “Intended to weed out low-quality content and reward sites with high-quality, actively updated content, the Panda update radically changed SEO strategies from a basis in keyword-stuffing gimmick to a basis in user-focused content strategy,” writes Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a content marketing strategy company.
While this does not imply that you should abandon your SEO strategy, it’s clear that it’s time we start to prioritize social efforts and quality, guest-focused web content.
2. Engagement leads to bookings
Engaged social followers are your best customers. With the right marketing initiatives, you can turn brand enthusiasts into influencers. Influencers create a word-of-mouth phenomenon by spreading the word about the best parts of your property to their social networks.
When you engage with prospects and satisfied guests on social media, you create increased satisfaction and loyalty. Guests that feel as though they have a personal relationship with your brand are more likely to book with you, and are more likely to choose you over your competitors. You also have the added benefit of influence on those guests’ social networks This new word-of-mouth marketing is highly valuable.
3. Customer service and recovery is now public
Social Media is becoming a very public, interactive support line. It is more important than ever to respond promptly and appropriately, for the purposes of both real-time service recovery and reputation management.
An Accent survey found that nearly half of consumers use social media to make issues public. More than half (51%) use social media to see if others have had similar issues. Close to half of the consumers (44%) who post about issues to Facebook in particular expect a response from the brand. Guests may complain on social media while they’re still on property. If you resolve the issue before they check out, you may save yourself a bad review on TripAdvisor. Responding quickly to any negative feedback on social media also reassures potential customers that you care about your guests.
Are you a hotel marketer who wants to do more on social media? CLICK HERE to download our free 2015 Social Media Action Plan for Hoteliers to learn how you can build a plan that will work for your hotel.