Are you wondering if social media is worth it for your hotel? Many hoteliers have asked themselves this very question and aren’t really sure where to find the answer. The simple truth is YES. Not only will social media help drive relevant traffic to your website, but it provides search benefits and useful information for current and potential guests – IF you are using it correctly. The key being you need to be using certain strategies and know how to properly implement them. Let’s go through some of the common misconceptions hoteliers have about social media and explain how it should be integrated with your online strategies. No more runaround, let’s get straight to the facts. Here’s exactly why social media is important for hotels.
Social Media for Business
One of the biggest misconceptions about social media for business is that anyone can do it. Everyone has a Facebook account so anyone can post right? Nothing could be farther from the truth. You will see cases where hotels will assign social media tasks to the front desk or another employee who may have a little extra time to post – even though this person has no knowledge of using Facebook for business, nor do they conduct regular research on social media marketing. After continuing this for a while, they won’t see any results and management will automatically assume that social media has no value. Social media for personal use and social media for business are two compeltely different ball games. You wouldn’t hire a person who has zero experience to lead your sales department at the hotel, so why would hire someone with zero social media marketing experience to lead your hotel’s social media strategy?
Top of the Funnel Interaction
If you are a seasoned marketer, you are aware that when you are trying to sell a product or a service, there is a sales funnel or sales pipeline that customers travel through. This is also known as the buyer’s journey to purchase. Social media works in line with your SEO and Paid Search strategy to create awareness of your hotel. Awareness is usually at the beginning (or top) of the sales funnel, which means that more interactions are needed in order to push the customer down the path towards purchase.
Google offers a great tool that gives you information on how social plays a role during the journey to the online purchase when it comes to travel. You can adjust the tool to Small businesses (sell $500 or less online in a 45 day period), Medium businesses (sell $500-$10,000 online in a 45 day period), Large businesses (sell over $10,000 online in a 45 day period). Here is what the purchase journey looks like for a Medium hotel in the U.S.:
You can see that for Medium properties, social is closer towards the left, and mostly acts as an assist interaction. This means from here, they will conduct further research about your property such as reviews, rates on OTA sites, etc. Here is what the purchase journey looks like for a Large property:
For larger properties, you can see that social is around the middle, but still closer towards an assist interaction.
Since social media is more often than not part of awareness, it’s the hotel’s job to provide content that is compelling enough to spark an interest within potential guests that leave them wanting to learn more. Unless you are skilled at hotel marketing and have an understanding of the customer buying journey, you won’t be able to easily do this. Keep in mind that without awareness, a guest may not even know your hotel exists.
Stick around for Part 2 of the article, which will be posted later this week!