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Can FOMO really be used to target travellers at your hotel?

  Posted in Sales + Marketing  Last updated 27/05/2024


If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘FOMO’, you probably aren’t alone  – and it also likely means you aren’t a millennial. FOMO is a popular abbreviation amongst young people to describe the ‘fear of missing out’ on something.

Around 69% of millennials experience FOMO, and 60% make reactive purchases because of it. In other words, they’ll buy just because they feel they might miss out.

Commonly people get FOMO when their friends and family are attending exciting events, parties, going on holidays, or making purchases – and they aren’t able to join in.

Although the term itself hasn’t been around for very long, the principle isn’t necessarily new. So even if millennials aren’t your target group, here’s how you can apply the psychological concept of FOMO to capture more bookings.

Create shareable experiences

For many, it’s not actually missing something that evokes FOMO, it’s that everyone is talking about it and sharing their stories. It’s only natural for people to seek out unique experiences and if their friends are having a great time, they’ll want to do the same.

At your hotel you need to give guests every opportunity to share amazing photos and update their loved ones about their trip. Think about the best features of your property or destination you can recommend to your customers for photos. You might even designate a ‘selfie zone’ to further entice guests to post on Facebook and Instagram. People unfailingly respond to good visuals.

Food has a huge influence on FOMO so if your hotel has a restaurant try to wow your guests with amazing dishes made from local produce. Failing that, make sure you let guests know of the best restaurants to visit in the area.

Essentially, by perfecting guest experience you can turn your customers into mini-marketers for your property via social media, review platforms, and word-of-mouth.

Use terms that will instil a sense of FOMO

It’s quite likely you’re already doing this through your online booking engine in the form of urgency messages. Phrases such as “hurry, last room available”, “limited time only”, “exclusive deal”, “this deal expires soon”, “don’t miss out”, or lines to that effect create a sense of scarcity and exclusivity that people can’t resist.

You can also use tactics like telling browsers how many others are viewing or purchasing the same thing, as well as advertising the expiration of whatever it is you’re selling. Expiring content is another strategy that can fall into the realm of social media. Short ‘stories’ on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat can have people constantly checking up on their friends and wanting to see more of wherever they are.

People love to have something others don’t, so convincing customers they’ve snapped up the last room, ticket, package etc will give them immense satisfaction.

Use FOMO throughout the booking journey

FOMO can be unleashed before, during, and after a trip to really get someone down in the dumps about their missed opportunity.

  • Before
    Create anticipation by encouraging people to share offers and invite their friends. Create promotions based around inclusion to get as many people interested as possible. That way, more and more people will join the conga line.
  • During
    Obviously social proof is a no-brainer during the trip. As stated above, give guests ample ammunition to fuel multiple posts across different platforms. You could even go as far as offering small rewards for guests to ‘check-in’ on social media and share/tag their favourite holiday snap.
  • After
    This is where you confirm non-participants they have missed out on something great, and they shouldn’t let it happen again. Encourage post-stay reviews and sharing. Consider running competitions for the best destination pictures or vacation experience depicting how fun it was at your hotel.

While FOMO may seem like a silly term, it does describe a lot of good marketing practices you should be employing daily at your hotel.

SiteMinder's social media playbook fro hotels

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.


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