Mobile + Social
Five Hospitality Mobile and Social Learnings
Industry leaders said it was the year of mobile in 2011, but it was 2012 where we saw mobile truly shine. If your property does not have a dedicated mobile and social media strategy it is time to start your planning, January has come and gone, don’t let Q1 pass you by as well. This year we are going to experience even more of a convergence of social and mobile in the hospitality industry and marketers should be aware of these five key elements:
1. Need Cohesive Strategy Across 3 Screens
There are three main screens potential customers are consuming digital content on: smartphones, tablets and PCs. It is vital to understand how customers are using the three screens to consume content to better understand how we market to each device. The chart from eMarketer outlines the share of Internet usage on PCs vs. smartphones. The main difference is the time spent on social media. Smartphone users spend 72 percent more time consuming social content than PC users. Potential customers are using their smartphone devices for social media as a way of connecting to friends and possibly your brand. Tablet devices fall right between smartphones and PCs. While tablets are being used for social media, these devices have a higher usage for browsing and completing online transactions. As hospitality marketers, we need to ask ourselves if we have a customized yet cohesive experience for each of these three screens.
2. Incentives Aren’t Going Away
When asked, “why do you follow brands on social media”, the overwhelming answer is to receive special offers and deals. According to GetSatisfaction.com, 40 percent of people follow brands for this reason, followed by 28 percent who follow brands because they are current customers. Customers have been taught to seek out promotions and have come to expect some sort of deal when completing a transaction. It’s simple; give the people what they want. If they aren’t getting what they want, they will move on to your competitors.
3. Customers Need to Share
More hospitality sites have integrated sharing functionality into their booking engines. When a guest completes their transaction they are prompted to share that information to their Facebook and Twitter networks. In addition, online travel agencies (OTAs) are encouraging guests to share their experience real-time on social media. The idea of incentivizing guests doesn’t disappear when asking them to share their experiences. Platforms like Flip.to are transforming guests into brand advocates by incentivizing guests to share their experience through their social media channels. For example, after a guest completes a transaction they are asked to share it with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers. If they do, they will receive a room upgrade and their followers will receive a special discount.
4. Content is Still King
The phrase “Content is King” should not be forgotten this year. Producing great quality content has always been a solid strategy for SEO purposes, however with the rise of content marketing an even greater emphasis on quality content will exist. Don’t forget content doesn’t just mean blogs; it includes videos, photos, webinars, testimonials, case studies, press releases, newsletters, etc. - anything and everything potential customers can consume online. With the adoption of mobile, having guests create content for you is easier than ever. Take advantage of guests who are already taking pictures and videos of their stay and use their content for your property.
5. The Wildcard Prediction: Graph Search
Facebook recently announced Graph Search, a personalized search experience on Facebook completely based on you, your network and what they have an affinity towards. This search experience will deliver a highly targeted search result. You will be able to search for “My friends’ favorite hotels in Portland”. Currently, Graph Search is limited to Facebook pages; however with the rise of open graph markup non-Facebook pages could theoretically find their way into Graph Search. If this is the case, Graph Search could be a game changer for SoLoMo (social-local-mobile). Only time will tell what the future holds for Graph Search as it is still a closed beta, but sign up for it at the bottom of the introductory page and see for yourself.
Hoteliers should take the learnings of the last year and move forward in 2013 with a fresh start and bright eyes on the new trends that will unfold for mobile and social. First to-do of the year is to get that mobile optimized site up and running if it’s not already and truly understand how guests will interact with social and your brand on their mobile devices. | HEATHER SCHWARTZ, ANVIL MEDIA, INC.
HEATHER SCHWARTZ – Heather@AnvilMediaInc.com
Founded in 2000, Anvil Media, Inc. is a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) management, analytics, social media and mobile marketing services. Anvil helps build its clients’ businesses by applying a breadth of SEM strategies and tactics, as well as a unique background in marketing and e-business consulting.