By Tamanna Patel, SiteMinder Product Team
There is good news for hotels aspiring to attract, reach and convert global guests without the need to remortgage or sell vital organs to fund marketing and promotional campaigns.
Social media is increasingly playing a significant role in the average traveller’s booking journey and over the last 10 years has fast become more than just an online medium for sharing selfies and travel pictures.
Believe it or not, there are more people hanging out on social media than in travel agencies or out in the tourist guide offices. In fact, the numbers are huge.
According to a global study published in 2015, Facebook has reached 1.4 billion active users, Twitter recorded 284 million accounts, and Google+ surpassed 343 million active users. In addition to these staggering stats, the number of unique mobile internet users exceeded a record 50% of the world’s population in September 2014.
An average internet user spends two hours and 25 minutes visiting various social media platforms every day.
And fresh figures from Facebook reveal that the platform has surpassed a new milestone of a billion users logging on in one day – meaning 1 in 7 people on the planet used the network to connect with their friends on Monday 24th August 2015.
So with numbers like this highlighting the volume of people visiting social media, especially via mobile devices, your hotel has an unrivalled opportunity to be noticed by potential guests in order to attract them and convert them from lookers to bookers.
Many hoteliers don’t realise that the systems they already have in place across their business can help boost their social media presence by simply switching on a few features.
Here at SiteMinder, we offer many ways for hoteliers to boost their social media profiles using our simple, cloud technology. Let’s look at four different ways to leverage social media:
1) Link to your hotel’s social media channels wherever you can
You can constantly stay in touch with your guests on a personal level by showcasing the social media pages for your property. And you should look to do this wherever you can.
One example is via SiteMinder’s TheBookingButton, which can easily promote all major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare and LinkedIn.
By simply entering the links to your social media channels in the setup area of TheBookingButton, your guests will be prompted to visit your pages via the visual logos displayed on their booking confirmation email.
You can read this article to find out more about: Promoting your social media pages.
2) Activate direct Facebook bookings via TheBookingButton
We need no more evidence to conclude that Facebook is the biggest social media platform today.
And that is why connecting your Facebook page to your Booking Engine has never been easier.
Simply navigate to your Property Setup menu, find the General tab and copy your Booking Engine URL. Next, click ‘Add a Button’ on our Facebook page (just below the Cover photo) and paste your Booking Engine URL in the field provided. Easy!
3) Keep your social media up to date with hotel offers and events
Your social media channels should be relevant at all times and updated with the latest activity from your hotel.
Create regular offers and events and use your social channels as a megaphone for promoting them.
By linking to your social media profiles via your internet booking engine such as TheBookingButton, (see point number one!), social media integration will enable more visibility for your property from existing customers, and will also attract new customers as they share your regular updates on their news feeds.
4) Experiment with different budgets for sponsored posts and adverts
Once you’ve fully integrated your social media with your internet booking engine, you can focus on really pushing your messages.
It is possible to be more visible and accessible without needing to have the big advertising campaign budgets of your competitors.
Why not experiment and set a small weekly budget for sponsoring posts or creating adverts and then track how that performs?
You can use the results and decide to increase or decrease your budget accordingly, and tailor the targeting so that it’s more broad or more specific.
The beauty of social media advertising is that you’re in complete control all the time, and can pause and stop campaigns whenever you want.
You can also set maximum budgets ensuring you never spend more than you planned to.
Facebook has lots of handy advice on how to get started on its platform – you can read it here.