Sprout Social is a social media management tool created to help businesses grow their social media presence. The web application integrates with... read more
- Based in Chicago, Illinois
- Founded in
- 360 employees on Linkedin
Sprout Social is a social media management tool created to help businesses grow their social media presence. The web application integrates with... read more
Hootsuite is the most widely used social media management platform. Our battle-tested technology, extensive ecosystem, and social DNA help... read more
Sendible.com is a social media marketing platform that allows individuals, agencies and small businesses to engage with their audience across... read more
BOOK TRAVEL FROM REAL EXPERIENCES read more
Brandwatch is the worlds leading enterprise social intelligence company, allowing users to analyze and utilize conversations from across the... read more
Buffer is the easiest way to schedule social media posts, photos and video to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn & Google+. Fill... read more
The recipient of the Shorty Awards Small Agency of the Year for 2017, Carusele, helps brands improve their online share of voice, increase... read more
Influencer Marketing. Simplified. Considerable Influence (CI) is a self-serve platform that commercially connects engaged Influencers with top... read more
Lithium delivers awesome digital customer experiences at scale for the worlds biggest brands including Airbnb, AT&T, Sephora and Spotify... read more
As a leading Influencer Marketing Agency, Mediakix connects brands with top social media influencers to drive successful branded campaigns... read more
One of the fundamental challenges for hospitality marketers is the need to inspire trust in people who have never met you or anyone from your business, usually from thousands of miles away. Luckily, your prospective guests are already predisposed to trust your past guests, and what they have to say about your property in the way of user-generated content, or UGC. We have spoken about the importance of social proof and UGC before, and have even discussed some of the ways you can encourage more guests to post content about your offerings, but one of the most effective forms of user generated content, the photograph, is also one of the most difficult to encourage. So, we thought we would look at some great real-world examples of the ways you can encourage guests to take (and share) photos of your property. Create vignettes around your property that people want to photograph Analysis has shown that one of the most mentioned (and presumably photographed) aspects of a hotel room on social media is the view, and a quick browse through twitter shows no shortage of “view from my hotel room” style tweets. But what do you do if your view simply isn't that great? You could relocate, of course, but a less drastic option would be to create little vignettes, or styled still lifes dotted around your rooms and common spaces that make your guests think “this will impress my friends”, “that really sums this place up” or “I’d like to remember this scene”. A clever piece of furniture, remarkable holiday decorations or even something as simple as a striking flower arrangement can do the trick. Show guests where the best photo opportunities are The trend of giant yellow frames for tourists to pose in took off for a reason – it’s cute, quick, fun, and means that travellers don’t have to apply mental effort to deciding where to take their photos, and can instead just concentrate on enjoying themselves. Pointing out to your guests where the best photo opportunities are doesn’t have to involve great big yellow boxes, if that’s not your style. A subtle floor sticker that says “great selfie spot” or even some strategic positioning of wall art with your brand's hashtag is often enough to get social media savvy travellers snapping away. Do something innovative, amusing or unexpected It can be tricky to figure out how to get this one right while being careful to stay true to your brand, but doing something unusual is often a great way to get social media attention. An amusing sign, innovative check in procedure, interesting decor and even a quirky bedside phone earn hotels some social media airtime. Go out of your way to surprise and delight your guests Striving to surprise and delight your guests has far-reaching benefits. Guests who are looked after personally, or exceptionally impressed with how your property or team go the extra mile, are more likely to mention it in reviews, to their friends and family, and share photo evidence on social media. You don't have to give each and every guest a personalised welcome package if it’s not in your budget, but even small touches, when thoughtful, will find their way into your guests hearts and onto their social media feeds. Quick tips: Making the most of your guests’ photos There are plenty of ways to ensure you are making the most of your property’s UGC, but with photos, there are a few key things to remember: 1. Keep an eye on your hotel’s location and other related hashtags and keywords Just because a guest has snapped the perfect pic at your hotel, it doesn’t mean they will tag you. For guests, the name of the accommodation provider isn't always top of the list of things they want to tell their friends. To ensure you don’t miss out on great UGC, keep and eye open for posts from near your hotel, or mentioning keywords like vacation plus your area. 2. Acknowledge and thank guests for their shares and posts Whenever you come across a photo of your property shared on social media, regardless whether you have been @mentioned or if the guest has used the correct hashtag, you still have a chance to assert your brand. Simply reply to the post from your brand’s account with a simple “Thanks so much for sharing this photo! We pride ourselves on [whatever the image is about]!”. This not only makes your guest feel appreciated, it also gives you the chance to ensure your brand is associated with the image. 3. Ask before you repurpose Of course, it’s easy to embed and link to social media photos (as we have done in this post) but if you’re planning on sharing your guests images, its always a good idea to ask permission first – and it gives you an opportunity to politely engage in their social media conversations and ensure that all their followers know exactly where the photo they are admiring was taken. Encouraging guests to take, and post, photographs at your property can take some work, but the reward is clear to see, not just for you, but for all those who will get to witness your property’s glory across social media, and be inspired to visit in real life.
The growth in technology tools for hotels has complicated life for hoteliers. While it has always been important to bring potential guests into the conversion funnel, there are now many ways to both capture and convert lookers to bookers. When considering the different ways to bring prospects into your hotel’s funnel, it can be helpful to start with the goal and then look at technologies that accomplish that goal. This approach differs from other common vendor evaluation processes in one key way: it puts the goal first rather than the category. For instance, rather than comparing only direct booking tools to one another, this process focuses on the desired outcome -- and then compares tools across categories that may help a hotel achieve that outcome. With this outcome-based approach, hotels have stronger odds of successfully matching with the correct vendor for a specific issue. "I want to improve conversion on my website" When it comes to getting more direct bookings, it’s all about the hotel website. After all, a hotel with a buggy website and poor user flow will scare off many potential guests who seek a trustworthy booking experience. Direct booking tools promise growth in direct bookings by increasing conversions on a hotel’s website through price check tools, real-time guest messaging, smart segmentation, and pricing optimization. These direct booking tools offer a mix of capabilities, so it’s best to evaluate each according to how your hotel prioritizes direct bookings. Booking engines are a necessity for selling rooms directly. Without a modern and intuitive interface that’s optimized for conversion, guests will go elsewhere out of frustration or suspicion. Look for a booking engine with real-time inventory updates; otherwise, you risk double booking across channels. Reputation management is more than just an operational tool: it’s also handy for marketing. Most hotel reputation management solutions have the ability to feature previous guest reviews on your website; doing so can dramatically boost your conversion rate. Virtual tours can help conversions. When potential guests consider a hotel, they want to be certain that the property is as advertised. Consider investing in a virtual tour to give guests piece of mind. "I want to drive new traffic to my website" Once a website has been optimized for direct bookings and conversion, the next step is to entice more potential guests to it. There’s a blended approach to making this happen. Content marketing is one of the most affordable ways to engage potential guests and to bring them to your website. With great content, you’ll have an engaging website to attract visitors, as well as plenty to post on social media. Be sure to make your content relevant to your guest profile. Social media is a challenging place but can deliver results when done right -- especially for distribution of the great content you’ve created! Social media is also a goldmine of consumer insights. Leveraging social media tools can bring you closer to your customers. Influencer marketing continues to be a growth area for hospitality marketers. Inviting influencers to experience the property, or paying them to post about the property, appeals to hotels looking to reach particular demographics. These influencer marketing tools should factor into the mix, helping identify the right influencers and tracking the success of your campaign. Digital marketing agencies are assets for those hotels that have enough budget to engage subject matter experts. Hospitality marketing agencies use their experience across clients to build high-impact campaigns that can be quite intimidating to deploy solo. "I want to bring back old guests" According to research from the company that invented the Net Promoter Score, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. Statistics aside, it really comes down to customer acquisition cost for hotels. With each booking channel taking a large commission for bringing in a guest, it can be extraordinarily lucrative to re-engage former guests. Loyalty programs are helpful assets to organize and track a comprehensive loyalty program for independents. The best technology will give you insights into your guest profiles, and help you craft the best offerings to each group. Read our article "Do independent hotel loyalty programs actually work?" to decide if this option is right for your hotel or properties. Email marketing is a critical piece of the loyalty puzzle. When evaluating email marketing tools, you want to be sure that it integrates with your existing loyalty program and hotel CRM tools. "I want more bookings on OTAs & Metasearch" Third-party websites and metasearch are important pieces of any hotel revenue management strategy. As part of a cohesive approach that includes direct bookings, wholesale, and groups, these channels are valuable tools to shore up low demand periods and achieve overall revenue targets. Metasearch and ad tech bring advanced reporting, bidding and inventory management to your third-party distribution strategy. These metasearch tools help hoteliers wrangle the complex web of metasearch campaigns, as well as integrating in real-time with existing systems to maximize profitable bookings without overbooking. Review management software performs a critical function: it monitors your hotel’s reviews for potential operational issues. Catching poor performance before it affects the guest experience means better reviews -- and a higher ranking in search results on OTAs and metasearch sites.
In the world of social media, focusing on how to make your property more “Instagrammable” (meaning, more people wanting to share a photo of your property on Instagram) can not only help with branding, but has also been shown to impact website traffic. Whether it is an art installation in your lobby by a local artist, guest rooms with interesting décor or a photo-perfect spot, encourage your guests to tag your location and share their amazing photos. So how can you achieve this “Instagrammable” status? Here are a few quick tips to get some “Insta love” from your guests – starting with your own Instagram feed. Can you picture it? The platform is visually driven, so your engagement should be as well. When you take photos of your property and guest rooms for your own Instagram feed, capture moments and showcase something that catches the eye. Also, filters are abundant on Instagram, so you want to use them to make your photos interesting and visually engaging. However, have a consistent look with your images to help you stay in-brand. #besthashtag: Yes, you can and should use hashtags on Instagram. When you are choosing your hashtag, remember why hashtags are used. Be more specific when choosing your hashtag to reduce competing posts using that same hashtag. Also, having a few hashtags can be appropriate, but listing too many can look unprofessional and come off as inauthentic. If you are not sure how many to use, look at your top competitor. Start with that number of hashtags from your competition and modify as needed. Be insightful. The Insights feature of your business account provides valuable information on when followers are most active, and therefore most likely to see your posts. This includes what days are better for catching your followers on the platform and what times work best. You should also post at different times, including the weekends, to see when you get the most “Insta love”. Get your Instagram account up and running and see your property become “Instagrammable”.
Millennial-targeted marketing has taken the business world by storm. While some brands are just testing the waters, some others have been successful in figuring out “how to market their hotels to millennials”. But invariably, one of the most influential ways to attract millennials to bring their business to you, is to connect with them via social media and a Hotel social media strategy is inevitable in this context.. If you have identified millennials to be your target audience, or if you wish to reach out to them for a particular season (say, if there’s an annual music festival that takes place in your town), then all you need to figure out is how to attract millennials with social media. Once you have this in place, reaching out to them becomes a lot easier, given that word spreads like wildfire on social media. There is no dearth of social media platforms today. There’s something for everyone- for chatting, for posting images, for blogging, for microblogging, for videos, for vlogging, for professional connections, for restaurant reviews, for just about anything! In an earlier blog that our readers loved, we’d discussed all the platforms that hoteliers can explore in order to improve their reach and social media strategy. But it is easy to get overwhelmed in today’s digital world and there’s no denying that some platforms just serve certain industries better than the others. To help you cut out the noise and focus on the most rewarding experiences, we will discuss one of these social media platforms which will help you attract millennials to your hotel: Instagram We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. Your guests’ journey with you begins even before they make a reservation or arrive at your property. Make sure that you set the best and the right expectations. Images are a fantastic way to let prospects know what awaits them at your hotel. The marriage of Instagram and Hospitality Industry is absolutely meant to be. Don’t believe us? Consider these stats: (Source) · Instagram has 1 billion users as of June 2018 · 500 million people use Instagram daily, as of September 2017 · There are 25 million business profiles on Instagram · 80% of users follow a business on Instagram · 75% of Instagram users take action after visiting a post · Instagram users are 70% more likely to make business purchases · Instagram has the highest interaction rate With over a billion users, Instagram has surpassed Twitter in the number of people using the platform to communicate with their peers, discover and learn. This is why we consider this as a must in every Hotel’s social media strategy. There are those who argue that this may not be the best platform for business opportunities, but they couldn’t be more wrong. If 25 million businesses have an Instagram account, there must be some value they see in it. And for the hotel industry, it makes absolute sense as it is a great platform to pictorially share with your prospects and guests the experience that awaits them at your property. This is where we are convinced that Instagram is non-negotiable, if you wish to attract millennials to your hotel. But first, let’s take a small detour and look into something really interesting: In 2015, Millennials surpassed baby boomers to become the largest living generation in the United States of America. A Millennial, in the context, would be anyone between the ages of 18 & 35 (as of 2015) and this generation represents more than a quarter of the country’s population! In the same year, it was also announced that millennials are the largest generation in America’s labor force. This is an extremely valuable piece of data which hotels need to cash in on. Considering that millennials also make for the largest working population in the US, hotels across categories (business, leisure, B-leisure, resort, etc.) need to pull up their socks and pay attention to millennial travelers and guests. Merge that fact with this stat, and you’ll understand why Instagram is non-negotiable. · 50% of Instagrammers in the US are under 30 Meaning, one in two people on Instagram in the US, fall under the category of ‘millennials’. Let that stat sink in and you will realize just how much potential there is for you to benefit from, on Instagram. A massive majority of Instagram users follow businesses. · 75% of Instagram users take action after visiting a post Meaning, they either check out the website link given in the bio, or click on the CTA, or check out your profile spending more time getting to know your brand, etc. So, the only hook you need here is to promote your posts impeccably well, so it reaches your audience. Chances are in your favor that they might just visit your website or check you out somehow. Some expert tips on how to market your hotel to millennials: 1. Create a “stand out from the crowd” identity. There are several ways to make this happen. You could maintain the same filter across all your images to create consistency and nurture a recall value. You could customize your images in other ways too in terms of the layout, the borders, the font, etc. 2. Take time in learning more about the importance of hashtags in social media. See what is trending and cash in on it. Create your own hashtags and encourage guests to use them while posting pics of your property. Incentivizing them to do so can fetch you great engagement. 3. Have a CTA for your posts and make your case a compelling one. Instagram users are 70% more likely to make business purchases. Use this to your benefit and give them an offer they cannot refuse. The ‘Book Now’ button has bridged the gap between people liking a picture on Instagram and making a reservation at that very hotel, to take a picture of it themselves and sharing it! 4. To this curious and experience-hungry generation, nothing is more valuable than the ‘new’, so give them something new! With everyone out there just posting pictures of perfection, you’d be more appealing to the millennial generation by showing them what goes into making that perfection too. Post pictures of what happens behind the scenes in a hotel. Acquaint them with the unknown and give them something they haven’t tasted before. 5. They aren’t here for the product. They are here for the experience. So make it worth their while and give them more than what they can even expect! Tease your millennial audience with what they might expect by booking a stay at your hotel and when they arrive, floor them with a guest experience that leaves them wanting for more. At the end of the day, what you need to realize is that no other generation in the past has been as aware and insistent about experience. This is a boon, if you can understand them and delight them!
Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would slowly be rolling out several updates and improvements to its business Pages features. It’s obvious that Facebook continues to optimize for mobile experience as many of these changes, including a rumored re-design for Facebook mobile completely, concentrate on ease of engagement while on your device. You may have noticed some of these changes take place across your own business page already. So what could these changes mean for your hotel or resort’s social media strategy? Overall, and without knowing or seeing too much as of right now, we don’t anticipate any immediate earth-shattering changes. If Facebook wants to continue to help businesses be seen as authentic, continue to encourage brand affinity and brand interaction on a real level with their customers – we’re all for it. Really, these updates should come as no surprise to brands considering Facebook’s first big reveal earlier in the year, announcing their focus on person-to-person engagements on News Feed. As with any digital trend, and despite the headlines lately, this is a Facebook feature on which you won’t want to find yourself left behind. With the platforms ability to algorithm-out “irrelevant” content, data, information – it’s important to do what you can to stay ahead. Here’s what we know (so far) about some of these changes and updates and how they could benefit your Page: Reviews will now be Recommendations Like Reviews, Recommendations are submitted by guests and patrons – not by brand managers themselves. The “Review” tab of business Pages is completely being replaced by the “Recommendations” tab. Currently, the feature is still being rolled out globally to all users on the platform, and that is why some of you may appear to have “both” live on your page right now. In the next few months, the feature will be completely rolled out platform-wide. The designated Star Ratings you’re used to – those are also disappearing. In the process of being removed globally, soon you won’t see any stars associated with your recommendations on Facebook. Guests will only be able to “Not Recommend” or “Recommend”. Recommendations will be required to be at least 25 characters long. This should help ensure authenticity and relevance. Recommendations can include uploaded images. This means that UGC will be more and more prevalent to any consumer. The good – and the very, very bad. ”Tag” features within the recommendations (think special-made hashtags for your business) will generate based on keywords from other recommendations, or, you can choose your own. Facebook will give Pages the opportunity to report content that may be false or spammy, similar to the self-patrol methods currently in place. Facebook’s definitions of the Recommendations features: Rich Endorsements People can easily indicate if they recommend your business to others by simply answering “Yes” or “No”, and can explain why with tags, text, and photos. By selecting a tag, they can help themes emerge in the feedback from Recommendations, making it easier for potential customers to see what your business is known for. Authentic Recommendations We understand that authentic Recommendations are important to get and keep customers, that’s why we make it easy to report content in Recommendations that is fraudulent, spam or paid for. Reach people as they are making decisions Recommendations appear on your page and are discoverable across Facebook when people are searching for, or talking about your business. Because we know that people trust the opinions of those they know most, these Recommendations will be surfaced most prominently. What does the new Recommendation roll-out mean for your property? Tags could be both fantastic – and a pain. Eventually, these tags could act as close to SEO keyword functionality directly within Facebook as we’ve seen to date. If John Smith is looking for a recommendation for a “hotel with free wifi” and your property has been tagged as having “free wifi”, it could then automatically appear within Mr. Smith’s post result/comments. Conversely, if your property has been tagged as having “bad wifi” – it may not show in the results. And if it does…well then that’s a different story altogether. From a reputation and community management standpoint – all the rules still apply. As a brand, you or your digital agency partner should be putting their best foot forward in responding to questions, problem-solving with guests on their issues or concerns, and escalating negative feedback and experiences reviews within the recommendations. Even more important to consider – with the star ratings disappearing, guests who may be waffling between a typical 3-star of a 4-star could opt for a recommendation on either end. This will polarize what we’ve historically seen as reviews and make community management both digitally and in-personal – more crucial than it has ever been before. New Page Templates Facebook has expanded its templates for business Pages in order to optimize the user experience when interacting with a brand on the platform. The best templates related to Travel & Hospitality include: For most of our clients, we’re seeing Facebook recommend that we switch our brands from “Standard” or “Business” templates to “Services”. “The new layout is specifically for businesses like yours and will showcase important information about your business – like hours, prices, ‘most recent Events and Offers’, and even your menu – making it easier for people to connect with your property and its amenities.” – Facebook What do the new Templates roll-out mean for your property? The updates will happen automatically in late August if you’d prefer to let Facebook do the work for you, but Page Administrators can opt-out, selecting “Keep My Existing Template” via an email announcement being distributed this week – or through the Page’s “Settings”. For these new templates, increasingly relevant buttons and tabs will help potential customers and loyalists find the information they need – and make decisions – faster. We’re not seeing any immediate changes or differences between Business Page > Service Page, but we’re on the lookout. Pro Tip: You can see what we’ve done here with a “Custom Facebook Landing Page” for a client’s “Resort FAQ” website page. We’ve placed the landing page directly within a Facebook Tab and are able to track traffic and referrals from social media in our reporting. New Action Buttons Here’s where the real love for mobile-users starts showing. People will now be able to tap on a simplified and prominently featured suite of action buttons to do things like book an appointment, order food, send a message or write a Recommendation, all on mobile. In our opinion, it’s only a matter of time before this ability expands into booking a hotel room, on-resort amenities like a massage, and of course a dinner reservation. You’ve seen Instagram Stories, right? Okay, well then you’ll be familiar with Page Stories in no time. According to Facebook, these pieces of content “offer an immersive way to connect with customers and communicate new offerings.” As part of this series of new features, starting today, users can view your business story by tapping directly on your Page profile photo. Just like Instagram. What do the new Action Buttons mean for your property? It’s as easy as clicking a button to share your Instagram Stories directly to Page Stories – however just as users are going to Instagram for different reasons than they are to Facebook, you may want to consider showcasing different content accordingly. Shoppable Social is a trend Screen Pilot’s Content Team has our eye on for 2019. So far we’ve seen integrations with OpenTable, Reserve, and the like, but we anticipate more options for e-commerce across all platforms, specifically Instagram and Facebook. When booking engines are embraced with open arms – you’ll want to be ready with the most updated templates in order to make any transition and adaptation as simple as possible.