You like numbers? Let’s talk numbers! Strategy Analytics recently posted the numbers for advertising spend in the U.S. TV still has the largest slice of the market share with nearly $79 billion or 42% of the pie. It’s down -.6 from last year and it has been in a steady decline year after year, but it’s still king.
So your small boutique hotel or travel brand can’t afford TV advertising? No problem! Let’s go with print. The ad spend for this year is projected at $28 billion or 15% of the pie. That’s $8 billion less from 2011. TV may be declining; but it’s a small bleeding. Now print… that’s dropping like a rock! There’s a reason for that.
Social Media is quickly and increasingly taking over attention.
It’s starting to really take over those pie eating contests. As it turns out the biggest growth by 31% is Facebook and Twitter, followed by video 29% and mobile 20%. It’s seems like people are just looking at their fancy tablets and smart phones all the time. They are jumping back and forth from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram – and all in between.
That’s where all the attention is going and it’s not a ‘fad’ anymore nor planning to decline in the near future. Google announced that it will from now on include tweets on it’s search results. Posting frequent tweets just became a lot more shiny, especially if your hotel marketing strategy depends on SEO.
Bottom line: People don’t want to see ads and social media advertising gives the ability to market authentically. People don’t want to be interrupted. They are on social to connect, build relationships and find entertaining or useful content.
Traditional ads are declining and social advertising spend and non-advertising activity is increasing, giving us a huge signal of the importance of content being King. Copyblogger founder Brian Clark says, “today everyone is their own publishing company, today everybody is an online magazine”.
Your hotel can now allocate advertising budgets towards something that your audience actually wants. And something that’s trackable and adjustable.
Sure, it’s confusing because it changes at such a fast pace, but the overarching concept is simple: Use more social media, post good content your audience wants, and be authentic when you engage.
Where is the ROI on social media?
Let’s give you want you want now and then explain to you how this goes beyond ROI. Understating the implications is urgent to getting in the current marketing game.
A study done by Medallia concluded that “Hotel properties that actively engage with social media reviews grow occupancy at double the rate of properties that don’t.” Medallia provides software as a service platforms (SaaS) and enterprise feedback management software to companies in the hospitality industry and more. The sample was taken from more than 4,000 hotel properties worldwide.
Here are some numbers from the study:
- Properties that responded to more than 50 percent of social reviews, grew occupancy rates by 6.4 percentage points, more than twice the rate of properties that largely ignored social media reviews.
- Properties that did a 30-50 percent increase: 3.7 percentage point growth.
- Properties that did a 10-30 percent increase: 2.2 percentage point growth.
- Properties that did a 1-10 percent increase: 3.2 percentage point growth.
Furthermore, the study also concluded that a commitment to social media engagement increased overall customer satisfaction. Properties that responded to more than 50 percent of social reviews, saw their Net Promoter Scores (NPS) increase by an average of 1.4 points. While all properties with less than 50 percent responsiveness, saw their scores decrease.
Speed and engagement in social media engagement matters!
The speed with which properties respond to customer feedback also has a significant impact on their occupancy rate. Properties that responded to feedback in less than a day on average, had average occupancy rates 12.8 percent higher than properties taking longer than two days.
The study also concluded that Hotels with the highest responsiveness to social media, outperform competitors in their overall social reputation by 4.9%.
This is not an isolated study. Another study by the consulting firm Grant Thornton advises how hotels should adapt to the digital world fast. According to Erik Janse; an Information Technology Services Partner at ConQuaestor Grant Thornton, “hotels are simply not geared-up for the digital business era. And those that are showing interest, far too many are taking a too-slow, too-conservative approach.”
Authenticity matters more than anything
All the numbers above don’t mean anything if social media is not approached authentically. A survey done by Bonfire Marketing found that 63 percent of consumers surveyed would buy from an authentic brand over a brand that isn’t perceived as honest.
The content and engagement on your social media reflects your brand. If social media is handled poorly on your hotel marketing, it will reflect likewise on your hotel. The experience doesn’t start when guests walk in your door anymore; they start online.
Being in the hospitality industry, you are no stranger to the details making the difference. The details in social media make an experiential difference as well. How you respond, how quickly you respond, and the type of daily/hourly content gives people a glimpse into what your hotel is like. You have the opportunity to touch your audience multiple times a day, in an authentic way, building longevity to the consumer relationship.
That is a powerful thing.
If you’re ready to create a succinct social strategy that aligns with your overarching brand goals, we are here to help through training or management so you can sit back and do what you do best. We do this day in and day out so you don’t have to.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cierra Savatgy-King has over 10 years of experience working in the entertainment, travel and hospitality marketing field, and started incorporating social mediums as a marketing, branding and customer service tool when people were still asking, “What’s Facebook?” Six years ago, she started Pigtail Media, an experiential, social media marketing group for the hospitality industry. She’s a recording artist, loves to travel, and stays a kid at heart by doing lots of cartwheels and handstands.