Do hotels have funnel vision when it comes to social media?
As marketers, we tend to be brought up on a number of tried and tested, not to say classic, marketing techniques. One of the most ubiquitous is the ‘AIDA’ approach – or, in other words, ‘Attention, Interest, Decision, Action’. These days, the modern marketing ‘funnel’ is perhaps less of a cone and a bit more rounded; however, whatever the shape, it still pays to channel your marketing efforts into that way of thinking, because the rewards can be very tangible indeed.
Your customers are about to go on a journey
As a brand, you need to provide inspiration throughout your customer’s journey, keeping people engaged and serving them with relevant CTAs to establish, maintain and bolster your relationship with them. Not only that, it’s also crucial to provide the kind of relevant, timely information they want (and need) – answering all their questions and giving them clear and current guidance on everything from managing COVID-19 (e.g. through extra sanitisation) to things like information on cancellation.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into how effective use of social media can help you make the most of your brand’s strategic funnel.
Micro moments matter
Did you know that 69%1 of leisure travellers search for travel ideas on their smartphone during ‘micro moments’? In other words, during the short moments between the non-stop movement of our busy, 21st century lives. It could be standing in line, having a coffee or simply grabbing five minutes away from work to recharge, but these micro moments are when you can engage would-be guests with your social media funnel strategy.
How social media helps you make the most of micro moments:
- By providing inspiration through engaging storytelling content
- By allowing you to be relevant, emotional and humanising your brand
- By adding value throughout their research journey
Stage 1: Raising awareness to attract new audiences
The goal is to offer value and support, enough for the audience to remember your brand. Don’t treat this as a sales pitch – after all, you don’t want to bombard them or put them off by being too aggressive. What you do want them to do: seek out more information about your brand and your services.
Today’s audience is overcome with choice paralysis, so it’s imperative to serve relevant content during the purchase journey, as well as beforehand while they’re still considering what to do. Think how you can help the user by providing or connecting them to inspiration and/or answering their questions (questions they might not even have yet!).
The main thing: to get on their radar in the first place. How you do that: by reminding them that holidays still exist! Tell them about all the great places there are still to visit in the world (once the nightmare of COVID-19 is hopefully a dim and distant memory). Inspire their desire and you’ll have a potential customer who’s engaged and ready to take things further.
Example: Shangri-La London
Shangri-La Hotel in London created a short film from previous footage while detailing the news of their reopening from August 14. Be smart and think ahead. Consider everything your potential guests will be wanting to know – then create relevant content around it.
Some truly relevant content opportunities for today are as follows…
- Your reopening date
- COVID-19 preparation and how restrictions have been implemented (without having a significant impact on their stay)
- Your cancellation policy
- Nearby tourism spots and how COVID-19 restrictions have been implemented locally
- Audience specific content, i.e. luxury / facilities for children / sport facilities
Consider harnessing the power of paid media too. Yes, it costs money, but it will enable your brand to reach further than organic-only activity. As low as 2-3%2 of your social media following may see an organic post, whereas with paid media, you can be specific with your targeting, aiming only at those who you believe will be interested in your destination, your portfolio and your services. More importantly, your post will be served to new audiences who aren’t already following you on social media but are in market for a holiday or staycation.
Facebook and other platforms allow you to be granular with targeting. If you are new to this, start small with £20 – £50 budget per post, measure the activity and focus your budget on the things that are driving the highest ROI. You should test your assets and copy on best performance e.g. are you gaining a higher click through rate (CTR) to your website when featuring your hotel amenities, or when addressing your COVID-19 policies, or when focusing on the broader destination.
Stage 2: Building interest and standing out against the competition
By now, potential customers know your brand and are aware of what you have to offer. Now look to understand their ‘pain points’, what would stop them from booking? Answer these questions and provide plenty of reasons to visit – ask yourself why should they consider staying with you, what are all the great things you offer?
Here’s where content marketing will enable you to stay connected and maintain a strong relationship. Facebook and Instagram carousels are perfect, as they allow short, informative snapshots as well as call-to-action buttons:
- Rooms (with prices)
- The array of destinations on offer
- Amenities around the hotel
- And, of course, COVID-19 protection
To stay connected and serve the right content at the right time, it’s a good idea to implement a Facebook pixel onto your website to retarget visitors by creating ‘Custom Audiences’ in your Facebook Business Manager. For more information on Facebook pixels: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/952192354843755?id=1205376682832142
Going back to the Shangri-La Hotel London, we can see that they’ve done a series of teasers – featuring everything from their Friday snacks through to fine dining, thus showcasing the diverse range of services they have to offer. This could be targeted through audience segmentation by filtering ages / income / location / search history / interests.
The key: knowing who your audience are and serving them with the most effective, targeted content.
Stage 3: Creating desire and encouraging customers to make a purchase
At this stage, prospects are sufficiently intrigued, have watched your video, engaged with your hotel services and most likely visited your website several times. Yet they’re still to make a purchase despite being confident you are one of their preferred hotel choices. How do you continue and convert an emotional connection to a purchase?
The answer is to reach out to them personally. User Generated Content (UGC) is a great way of showcasing how other guests have enjoyed the facilities, with a massive 93%3 of users influenced by online reviews when deciding where to stay. If you have implemented the Facebook pixel, the ideal scenario is to now serve specific content on the destination or hotel they’re looking at.
The Shangri-La Hotel London features an array of UGC within their content plans, always crediting the originator. Take this organic post, for example (many brands feature UGC as paid posts too).
What makes this content so good? A few things. First, potential guests can see for themselves the hotel is safe. Second, the décor and location inspire the viewer to discover more. And third, the post engenders a sense of jealousy… in other words, ‘wish you were here? Well, you could be…’
Stage 4: Maximising action by enticing the customer with an offer
If needed, give your potential customers a little nudge to complete the transaction. By this point, you have built up an online relationship, given prospects a solution and information to address their needs. Now is your time to serve a little incentive, such as a discount code or voucher to complete the deal.
The best ad format for Action are single image Facebook ads with a clear call-to-action such as ‘BOOK NOW and receive a complimentary bottle of champagne’. The below example from Steward Hotel NYC using a paid (Sponsored) Facebook single image ad with a clear CTA button of BOOK NOW.
It is essential to make sure you can fulfil the action you are prompting your customer to undertake – it goes without saying that your website booking system should be working perfectly, and telephone calls/emails are answered promptly. However, one additional consideration, especially if you are fairly new to social content promotion, is to expect questions via post comments and messenger tools. Make sure you have employees looking out for these – research shows 40% of consumers expect a response within the first hour, and 79% within 24 hours4.
Conclusion: maximise micro moments with a strong social media marketing funnel
In 2020, potential leads can enter the marketing funnel at any stage. Although it’s no longer a linear journey on one platform, but rather an omnichannel through cross-channel pollination, it’s therefore still relevant to build affinity at every stage. Your social media content should reflect this. The AIDA approach enables you to serve the right content, to the right person at the right time of their purchase journey, with the assistance of paid media and clever targeting.
Support your social media with SEO and content marketing to increase organic search, as well as blogs and videos showcasing your core business values. Connect with effective storytelling… from customer service through to customer experience.
During these increasingly uncertain times for the hospitality and travel industries, there has never been a more pressing need to focus on funnel vision.
LAW Creative are an agency that’s been involved in digital marketing for the last 20 years. We know all about smarter thinking when it comes to reaching a social media savvy audience. To talk to us about how we can enhance your social media presence, get in touch with [email protected]
1 Think with Google
4 Sprout Social