Social media is a very cost effective marketing tool that can enhance awareness, customer loyalty and increase the level of engagement with your brand. Hotels are entering a new era of online marketing but not all accommodation providers are harnessing the power of social media and understanding how it can increase hotel website conversions. Here are five tips to help you with your social media marketing campaigns and improve your bottom line.
For social networking to do its job and boost your hotel website conversion rate, you need to integrate social media into your website design and have a cohesive approach to social media marketing (SMM). Social media features that can be added to the website itself can include: a company blog, RSS feeds (see below), links to social media sites and sharing buttons, user rating and polling tools and inversely publish your website link on these sites.
Travellers like to book hotels that they trust and you can inspire consumer confidence in your site by publishing social media live feeds such as your Twitter account directly on your website. This is a very ballsy move because you don’t know what your target audience might say but it shows transparency and honesty. It also gives you a chance to respond directly to any negative feedback or complaints.
Social networking is your golden opportunity to step it up a notch and show the personality behind your brand to create a stronger connection with customers. The Marriot hotel chain does this well with the Marriott on the Move blog written by the Chairman and CEO, Bill Marriott who shares his personal insights about the hotel industry. Where the Marriott blog could be improved would be to encourage more interaction with customers instead of a monologue.
The one thing hotels must do is to put together an online reputation management (ORM) strategy and monitor the net for any web chatter about their hotel. This may be in the form of good reviews, not so good reviews and bad reviews. More people are researching their travel choices via the net and reading what people are saying about your hotel. You can use free tools such as Google Alerts to premium tools including Tracur to monitor online chat.
Work smarter, not harder – if a customer has posted a positive review on your social media sites, ask them if you can publish it on your website or whether they would be able to post the same review on your Google Places Page and review sites such as TripAdvisor. As above, more travellers are doing their online research before they book hotels so you can increase hotel website conversions by leveraging social proof in the form of testimonials.
Hotels can increase their online community on social media platforms by offering exclusive social media promotions. This will encourage people to join your company pages to take advantage of these great deals. You can also drive traffic back to your website, your main sales channel and track exactly where the traffic is coming from by giving people coupon codes to enter to redeem promotions that are used for a particular promotion and site.
Social media is a good segmentation tool to be able to target specific customers and drive traffic back to your website. However, look further than Facebook and Twitter for hotel internet marketing. Flip.to can integrate with channel management systems and provides loyal hotel guests with incentives to spread the word about the hotel throughout their social networks. Other sites highly relevant to the hotel sphere are Foursquare and Instagram.
This is a social media marketing strategy that can work well with all accommodation providers regardless of whether you are running a small bed and breakfast or international hotel chain. Brand ambassadors are people or groups who already love and support your brand and would be delighted to forward your message. They can be official or unofficial brand ambassadors and you can cultivate them by:
Done well, SMM is a cost effective way to attract new visitors to your website and foster your existing customer base. Hotel Website Designers is a full-service agency with a team of web developers, web designers and online marketing experts. If you need help in improving your bottom line and hotel website conversions, through social media and other online marketing campaigns please contact us today.
Hotel Website Designers is proud to recommend the SiteMinder suite of services as being one of the world’s leading Hotel Channel Management and Online Distribution products.
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