With rapid changes in today’s travel industry, marketers need to move faster and more strategically to reach new and existing customers. In the travel sector, potential customers are using Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to find inspiration for their next destinations. It’s important to remember that most travelers don’t start making travel preparations by booking a hotel. First, they imagine themselves in various destinations. Do I want to go to Paris or Hawaii for my honeymoon? Do I want to take the kids to the beach or to the mountains?
Destination shopping starts with dreaming. There are the planning and booking stages, when travelers make their dreams reality. Finally, there’s the days of anticipation leading up to the trip. Now, while those moments don’t sound like they have anything to do with a tourism social media strategy – they do. The majority of travelers expect hospitality providers to engage with them before and during their trip to enhance their experience. So, for any hotel that considers itself a vacation destination, it’s important that your strategy reaches guests at every “micro-moment” of the journey.
Below are tips that are key for using social media marketing to take your potential customer from initial planning to booking your property.
TARGETING THE RIGHT TRAVELER
Social media is a two-way communication tool, where you listen and take part in the conversations taking place around your brand, destination or products/services. By listening with social media, you can know where they live, what they do, how many days they have, as well as their social behaviors. By keeping an eye and ear to those conversations, you can have a deeper understanding of your target audience’s needs, issues and trends, which in turn can influence how you market to them.
RESEARCH AND RETARGETING
Today’s travelers tend to spend more time researching before booking their accommodations for a trip. These longer decision cycles allow time for appropriate strategies with a goal of increasing booking conversions. Social media retargeting is a useful practice when following the customers path to conversion. It allows you to connect with those who have already visited your site on social channels while incorporating their behavior from the open web. You can also use this opportunity to incentivize with a promotion that encourages them to return to your website and purchase.
LEVERAGE VISUAL MEDIA
There is a reason why the tag #travel on Instagram is tagged in more than 474 million posts – visual content can evoke emotion!
Travel is a competitive space, so utilizing imagery that sparks wanderlust can put you above your competition. Travel has the unique selling point that it can play on the wanderlust of others so pictures and video can work wonders. Consider the fact that video will account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic worldwide by 2021. Plus, video brings travel locations alive. Need inspiration for your new imagery? Look at the user-generated content your guests are posting – it may give you insight on which of your features stand out the most.
Whether your potential customers are in the dreaming, planning, booking or experiencing phase, you can use social media marketing to keep your brand top-of-mind and create a loyal customer. As we enter a busy season of travel, don’t leave opportunities on the table. Contact Morgan & Co. to learn about how we approach and manage media strategies in the tourism and hospitality arena.