Take Your Customers, And Your Profits, Back From The OTA’s. Find Them On Social Media.
DIRECT BOOKINGS FROM GUESTS: EVERYBODY WANTS THEM.
It’s a huge collective dream, within the whole hospitality industry, to use social media to wrestle the sales funnel away from OTA’s (Expedia, Travelocity), etc. In essence, this is like winning your own customers back, clawing that 15-25% profit back, and getting your own database of your own guests.
ARE YOU LISTENING? OR JUST TALKING.
A “sales funnel” is what we call any process that sends you guests, and most hotels want as many sales funnels as they can get. Ideally, you strike up an individual relationship with each customer, and as a result, they book their room nights directly with you. And booking all of the other sales in meals, drinks, spas, etc. that guests often want. I’m going to tell you how we do that for our clients, and it’s the best way. We use social media.
FIND YOUR OWN CUSTOMERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Travelers from all demographics share the details of their trips now on social. They enjoy spreading the word that they had a wonderful experience. They use free-of-charge social media channels to do this, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. They mention your hotel or your restaurant’s name, or their location. Find them, engage them, and it can be a great sales funnel. You know they’re one of your customers already, so why not strike up a direct conversation using social? Here’s how you get a great reception in that effort: Give offers. Yes, it costs a slight percentage, but you get that customer relationship, and it’s from an engaged customer–the key to the universe.
ADVERTISING, BEFORE SOCIAL, HAS BEEN “PUSH MARKETING”
Let’s face it, most advertising is pushed on people. While it’s true that they’ll suffer the ads in order to watch that football game, it’s also likely that they’ll stop to make a sandwich or check phone messages–anything to avoid that ad. We social marketers refer to that as “Push Marketing” because it’s literally pushed onto the customer.
“PULL MARKETING” IS A NEW, MORE EFFECTIVE WAY TO REACH CUSTOMERS
When customers send out a tweet or an Instagram photo that mentions or tags your hotel, they’re engaging in social dialog. If you as the hotel then enter that dialog, and the guest maybe asks you about a special offer that you make available, it’s “Pull Marketing”–you’re pulling them, and they’re following. Customers welcome it. Also, they don’t have to engage in social at all if they don’t feel like it, and they don’t have to tag your product. All involvement is optional.
SOUNDS EASY, BUT HOW DO YOU PUT IT INTO ACTION?
Tools and metrics exist to find the customers that are talking about your business. People have birthdays, weddings, conferences, events. They mention your name on social. Make contact with them in a relevant way, give them the content and offers they want, and you just grabbed yourself an engaged customer. That’s how we build business for our Socialike clients.
GOT ANY STORIES TO SHARE about finding customers on Social Media? We’d love to know your best methods for outreach. Comments are always appreciated.
A SOCIALIKE BELIEF: YOUR GUESTS ARE SAYING GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOU. WHY NOT INVITE THEM BACK?
Stay tuned for more of our blogs.
Isaac Brody (aka“Ike”) is the owner and CEO of Socialike, a Manhattan-based creative agency that specializes in social and digital marketing. Isaac comments on trends in marketing. Socialike’s clients, whether they’re in natural products, hospitality or any other industry, get concepts that differentiate them–along with trackable results.