Or why should you become an "influencer"?
In the times of social media content marketing (directly or indirectly) is becoming one of the main profit channels. If not a direct generator of revenue streams, it is at least a great tool to influence guests’ decision and build connections. So why should you jump on the content train with your hospitality establishment?
To start with, guests' needs and behaviours have changed - so has their responsiveness to marketing. Choosing traditional marketing to influence guests’ decision and encourage them to take action might not be enough. Today guests are searching for experiences, meaning, our marketing needs to contribute to that. Only “promoting" ourselves won’t do the job - today we need to stand out from the crowd and become not only a service provider, but an educator, entertainer or influencer alike. Doing it via the creative content is not only a great way to catch interest and attention, but also build trust and connection with the existing or potential guests.
So either it is a blog with destination tips, educational videos or entertaining stories, there are 5 things to consider when creating them.
Scrolling through Instagram or other social media channels we encounter many beautiful photos of even more stunning properties around the world. But, despite of satisfying our sense of aesthetics, how else do they enrich our day?
Surely, our content needs to look presentable and polished, but even more important - it has to create value for the guest. Does it provide any useful information? Can it teach the guests something? Does it have entraining value? If instead of only sharing the photo of our hotel gym we would provide guests with effective tips on how to stay active and healthy during their stay, we would create the direct gain for their experience.
Personal and emotional
During my seminars I often ask participants, how many of their hotels have a photo of the pool (if holiday resort), hotel entrance or panoramic building view on their website landing page. Usually, at leats 95% raise their hands in the audience well representing the reality (you are welcome to do research yourself - just google random hotels and check their homepages. I bet most of the time you will encounter same photos displayed). While "usual" photos are very important for guests’ decision making process (and we should always have great photo and video library of our property available online!), they do not tell the story. Visuals, that evoke emotions, are way more powerful. Sharing content that not only demonstrates how the property looks like, but helps guests imagine how they would feel while visiting - is the key. Evoking emotions such as empathy, joy and amusement will encourage guests to explore and stick to our content longer. The goal is to tell our story in the unique way that would build emotional connection with the guests.
To foster guests' engagement and establish credibility our content needs to be consistent. We should, first of all, ensure quality over quantity and have the suitable strategy or plan for our content. Choosing the right channels, type of content, as well as time, is important. If we share a piece of content once per month or always do it on different channels, it won’t have an engaging effect. Keeping it consistent, both in concept and distribution, will help us build the army of followers.
Shareable and social
Let’s not forget the primary goal of creating the content - to build broader online presence, attract potential customers and maintain relationship with existing guests. So making our content shareable is important. Adding social media widgets and icons will help guests to do it easier and encourage to spread the message. Getting social with our audience is then the next step. Fostering communication (raising discussions and involving guests, replying to their comments, etc.) and having call for action is essential. This would help us build the audience around our content and the community around our brand. Social media is called “social” for a reason - we should embrace it!
Easy & responsive
Not only the content itself needs to be succesful, but its distribution as well. Easy to navigate, simple to understand and responsive to different devices are the main rules. Today, guests want to be in control of when and how they access the content, we need to ensure our content is available on various devices, such as smartphones, tablets or laptops. Also pushing your content across various platforms will not only enable higher reach, but also be more convenient for the guests (since everyone has own channel preferences).
Keeping these 5 rules in mind can help create engaging content that guests would love. Because valuable, useful and interactive consent shows we care about the guests and their experience!