Why social media matters more than ever to hospitality marketing

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For many, summer goes hand in hand with smartphones and social media.

Mobile technology has revolutionised the way people travel. Now, more than ever before, people are using mobile devices to plan every aspect of their trip, creating an incredibly flexible and powerful marketing platform for the hospitality sector.

A survey by eMarketer found 51.8% are using their devices to complete travel bookings - a figure expected to rise to 86.4% by 2019 while ThinkWithGoogle reports 49% of all hotel searches take place through mobile phones.

Working hand in hand with the fact that booking companies and travel industries are becoming even more mobile-focussed is the notion that consumers are now looking for a complete travel experience. It’s not enough to simply sell the service using traditional strategies anymore.

This is thanks to the increase in brand popularity across social media platforms. Consumers, in particular Millennials, are focusing on the bigger picture when it comes to planning a trip or holiday. Decisions are now based on what they will get out of the trip as a whole and if they are being offered a fully immersive experience.

That’s why building up your brand via mobile is key.

Develop a strong strategy

First and foremost, we recommend doing this through a tailored social media strategy. Using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. not only gives you a variety of platforms to reach out to consumers but encourages guests to share their experiences firsthand.

New figures show 97% of millennials share photos and videos of their travels online with 89% planning their travel activities based on content posted by their peers online.

People are inspired by others’ opinions of where to visit, stay and what activities they should try thanks to the power of social media and it’s ability to pinpoint locations through user check-ins, the immediacy of published material and hash-tagging.

With 73% of travelers using a mobile device to research a trip in 2016, a good social media presence is more important that ever before.

Social media also comes with another vital USP. It gives the brand the chance to reach out directly to consumers and offers a platform for reputation management if any complaints are launched. It’s a more intimate and personal direct channel for brands to interact with consumers.

Finally, when it comes to picture sharing, there really is no reason your brand shouldn’t be showing of its finest features via Instagram - which boasts 700 million active monthly users.

Video is vital

It may seem like a given to include a good video marketing strategy but many companies are missing out on it’s true potential when it comes to implementation across social media channels.

In 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic(hubspot)

In it’s most basic form, social media videos give you an unrivalled platform to showcase your property, hotel or service as well as the surrounding area, local events, restaurants and bars.

According to Google’s Traveller’s Road to Decision report, 66% of people watch travel-related content while thinking about taking a trip.

It’s figures like these which show brands can no longer afford to be absent from social media.

Going above and beyond, developments in video, such as the new live platforms offer scope for experimentation in the hospitality sector. Live video is growing ever more popular. It’s more natural and organic and reaches out to consumers in a direct and intimate way. As it’s still relatively new it’s important to experiment with live video to see which approaches can really work for your brand.

These developments should be maximised on to stay well ahead when it comes to both digital and social media marketing across the sector.

It’s all about content

As social media users are constantly sharing their holiday experiences it’s facilitating the way branded travel content is making it’s way across the web.

Mobile content is an excellent way of encouraging consumers to make bookings but it’s important to have a clear idea of audience and each platforms strengths beforehand.

Stepping up your content in the form of blogs and long form copy raises awareness about events and activities in surrounding areas. Innovative and interesting city and travel guides are incredibly useful in generating continuous conversations and increasing interaction between consumers and the brand in an unforced manner.

With people doing more searches than ever before prior to booking, inspiring organic destination marketing is particularly useful in upping brand visibility through successful SEO and keyword implementation, incorporating a subtle call to action.

Jennifer Kennedy is marketing manager at Cuckoo

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