SUN, sea, and Internet surfing. How can hoteliers utilize social media to turn desire into demand for rooms?
The answer: Eight seconds. Eight seconds is the crucial window to secure that booking. Thanks to infinite bite-size chunks of entertainment online, the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish.
This means the days of indulgently flicking through travel brochures and scrolling through lengthy blog posts are gone. Instead, millennials now obtain their information in easy-to-swallow snippets that can be quickly digested on their morning commute.
Therefore, for holiday providers to tap into this huge market of 2.46 billion daily social media users, they must create immediately engaging content that not only captures the imagination of millennials, but also generates website hits and secures bookings.
The Peaks Resort & Spa, a four-star property in Telluride, Colorado, started a successful social media campaign in summer 2016 that did just that.
Through its launch of an online storytelling competition about the resort on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, they managed to steer online traffic from social media to their website through incentivizing prizes of vouchers that could be used on resort.
The competition entries then cleverly generated a second-wave of social media engagement, as the best stories were shared on social media platforms to engage with potential customers who could relate to the reviews. As a result, the resort managed to both cement brand loyalty and generate interest among new customers with similar ideals to existing customers.
The Peaks Resort & Spa’s successful campaign teaches an important lesson in social media marketing: branding is key. If a resort can create a consistent brand that seemingly fulfils the needs of millennials and can be utilised across multiple social media platforms, they’re in the money.
— The Peaks Resort (@PeaksResortSpa) February 8, 2017
And potentially one of the best ways – if not the best – to create a strong brand presence across the social media board is to launch a hashtag campaign. This is a cross-platform strategy, which means it can involve and link several social network sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (to name a few), and allow each platform to come into its own.
Whilst Instagram may be best for pictures, Twitter can update followers on the latest events at the hotel whilst Facebook may be best for sharing videos. A universal hashtag can link all the content together, and allow guests to easily find posts and share their experiences with other potential guests.
This was the strategy of Marriott Hotels when they launched the #travelbrilliantly hashtag in 2013, which is still ongoing. The campaign allows Marriott Hotels to market themselves across all social media outlets under a common vision, thus creating a strong brand presence millennials can become a part of.
The hashtag is often used to suggest ideas customers can vote on or to encourage visitors to share their experiences, making social media users personally involved with the hotel’s evolution in a way that they were previously removed from.
There are uses for maller boutique hotels to use social media to directly appeal to millennials through social media engagement, and for larger resorts and hotel chains to offer impressive prizes and larger marketing campaigns.
But, regardless of whether it’s a small B&B or a super-chain, if one thing is necessary to drive in millennials, it’s an engaging yet consistent brand and interactive campaign.