Let the Journey Begin
On the road to hotel social media ROI, there are many stops along the way. In this article, we’re going to visit those stops and determine what the success factors look like for each of them. Do you think the only stop is the final destination of a booking? Let’s take a little trip and let me show you how each stop is an opportunity for social to intersect the buyer’s journey to inspire, inform and motivate a booking.
Stop 1: Dreaming Stage: Generate Brand Trust
Clients and prospects in the region consistently highlight the importance of high-quality content, In fact, for a high-end property, customers and prospects expect this as part of the journey.
However, appropriate content based on cultural factors of the country, and even the city, is critical for building trust. In the Middle East, what is OK for some, may not be acceptable for others. For example, whether or not a bikini is appropriate in a country or even a region.
Here are the points to consider in reaching travelers in the Dreaming Stage:
- Inspire with high-quality content–think like an influencer.
- Be intentional with placement–leverage the data and paid media.
- Lean in on new consumer behaviors–understand what’s driving interest and use it.
Stop 2: Planning Stage: Nurture Relationships
At this stage, it’s browse-and-burn as people surf between browser tabs to confirm destinations, pricing, and dates. They have a short list. Now they are looking for the signs to build trust and forge a deeper level of interactivity with a property.
Users in Morocco (60%), Egypt (60%), Saudi Arabia (59%), Turkey (56%), Israel (52%), and the United Arab Emirates (49%) are more likely to use social networks as part of their brand research than the global average.
Here are ways that social media can help foster those relationships:
- Spotlight your amenities and location–pile on examples of what makes your property and the region unique.
- Drive visibility of online reviews–when you have a good review, flaunt it a bit.
- Make policies upfront and clear–being credible goes a long way towards driving decisions.
Stop 3: Buying Stage: Drive Conversion
At this stage, things come to the moment of truth. The traveler has chosen their destination and time of travel. Often, this involves a final price comparison to book the right place. This moment is beyond the research stage. Travelers are focused on price and final ‘proof’ that they’re making the right decision. They look meticulously at the details, including influencers.
The TikTok platform’s top influencers in the Gulf region increased their followers by an average of 65% with user engagement highest in Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.
Here’s how to make sure they don’t ‘x’ out!
- Create FOMO through influencers–find their favorite places and tag them with your #property.
- Think strategically about giveaways–adding a little urgency at this point never hurts, so make it time-sensitive.
- Leverage paid placements to inspire purchase–providing a few more touch points at this time is often effective.
Stop 4: Experiential Stage: Dominate Share of Voice
They searched. They found. They booked. Give them something to share and keep the momentum going.
In our region, Snapchat might be a good outlet to expand Share of Voice. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt are among Snapchat’s 15 largest national markets globally.
- Consider secret menu items–people love to be insiders and brag about their access.
- Activate a social media opp–if you build a way for people to share and be rewarded, they will share.
- Deliver excellent customer service offline and online–the power of people and personal response builds relationships.
In conclusion, the stops along the social media customer journey are an excellent way to engage and interact with prospective guests. Every stop creates the potential to allow a hotelier to wow them with helpful information, compelling images, and reasons to book. Do it right, and the level of engagement and communication elevates at each stop. It allows hotels to win trust and drive not just bookings and incremental revenue, but loyalty and repeat business.