Hotels get SOCIAL
Unable to ignore the power of social media, hotels have started replacing traditional marketing techniques with online promotions for better visibility.
The need to be visible and engage customers on a regular basis has made the hospitality industry use social media as the primary medium to promote properties and brands to travellers. Guests today are not only consuming the information available to them on social media, but are also making it a point to share their experiences with the world while they are experiencing it. The use of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram has moved on from being just a casual communication channel to something that allows businesses to effectively engage
with clients. While the communication method has changed, businesses still need to apply fundamental principles of marketing and promotion to communicate their messages to their target audience. What gives these digital tools an edge is the speed at which they can tap their audience and the wide reach.
NEW MARKETING TOOL
Social media marketing modules not only inform potential customers about a property and pique their interest, but also works in boosting sales. A hotel brand which is aware of the ongoing trends can find business leads by paying heed to the right kind of conversations outside of their owned profile. Sandeep Raghav, Business Development Director – South Asia, W Maldives and Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, agrees, saying, “Social media is a fantastic tool to keep our audience updated and generate interest in W Maldives. It also allows us to get more booking enquiries from people all over the world. It is a great advertising tool to promote specific offers for specific markets as well.” While sharing information on social media is one thing, using the medium to one’s advantage is another. S. N. Srivastava, President & Co-founder, Clarks Inn Group of Hotels, claims that an effective use of technology has been at the forefront of all their initiatives. “Whether it is driving incremental sales, enhancing brand visibility or improving customer experience in properties, the company is making full use of various available social media platforms. This in turn has proved to be of tremendous value addition in increasing sales as well as brand awareness. Besides, we are also constantly upgrading our social media intervention,” he adds.
Over 93 per cent of travellers have confessed that
online reviews impact their choice of hotel, which means that there is a need to engage with these sites. Many hotels realised this early on, but while it is still necessary, it has become a minimum requirement. To stay ahead in the game, marketers need to find new channels to manage their reputation and generate new leads. Rupak Gupta, Joint MD, UP Hotels, asserts, “Social media increases the visibility of a hotel due to the high frequency of engagement with the concerned target market. This in turn boosts the sale directly and indirectly. We are very active on Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor and have the highest rating of 8.5 from Goibibo, whose sales are driven by indirect marketing campaigns on social media, including Google.”
Regular promotional campaigns on social media also make a huge difference in customer engagement. Updates on F&B promotions, stay deals, spa deals, weekend offers, etc. keep the communication going with the users and allow them to visit the property multiple times. Meera Pahwa, Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Indana Hotels, shares, “We work actively to build relationships with users on Facebook and Twitter. We constantly look for opportunities to engage with potential guests who are researching for wedding destinations or leisure travel. We even offer discounts on rooms and F&B on Facebook, which prompts a lot of queries. We also update our social media platforms with the latest events and feedback from our guests to keep the users well informed.”
TARGETING THE MILLENNIALS
Most millennials depend on the Internet and social media to make their travel plans. They are also very vocal about their opinions on such platforms and have different requirements than a business or family traveller. Shruti Pandey, Proprietor, Synergi Hospitality, has identified this change in the customer, and says, “Social media offers us a huge opportunity to reach the new age of travellers who
What gives these digital tools an edge is the speed at which they can tap their audience