An integrated social media marketing and SEO PR with a foundation of traditional media relations campaign is key to reach the burgeoning Millennial travel market. As a result, hotels, along with their hotel public relations agencies, have had to make massive changes in the past few years in terms of how they conduct their outreach to this exploding market segment. There is little evidence to suggest that the trend will slow down anytime soon. Technological advances continue to spur how the sales function in its research, then engaging and ultimately selling to these tough customers. An expansion of online media will also contribute to reaching this audience.
Your sales toolbox requires constant churning of content rich messages and intensive outreach by your marketing team. Getting through to your established relationships with editors to gain top tier coverage in such outlets as Conde Nast Traveler and The New York Times takes persistence and an aggressive travel PR program. With this kind of media exposure and regular, daily posting to your social media feeds; you will have a winning campaign. A smart social media professional will know when is the best time to post, what hashtags to use, and how to write a creative caption. Of course, compelling images are key.
Hospitality PR agencies recommend to their travel clients they have a strong team in place who can affordably manage your entire communications platform successfully. At the outset it is extremely important to get your foundation in place. That means identifying how you are different than other properties or companies, and from they’re creating your key message points. Then it is time to generate coverage in the proper channels on an ongoing basis.
Once you are ready to launch, it is smart to post at strategic times. Those are ideally after people get out of work when they are relaxing over an evening cup of tea or cocktail. You will often see people scrolling through their feeds at wine bars, when they are away from their desks and the business of the workday. Another popular time that people go on their phones to run through their Instagram feed is about ten at night after they’ve settled the kids down, and have some time to unplug.
Push Out That Publicity Through Social Marketing
Innovation is so important in juicing up your Instagram and Facebook feeds. It runs from interesting quotes about life and leisure, to spellbinding shots of sunset. When integrating your publicity campaign make sure to synchronize your social media outreach program. All of this is happens once you have an integrated travel public relations plan in place.
When stories appear in the media, push them through your feeds. Your PR team works hard to place these stories, whether they are mentions or home runs, your followers will be excited by these posts. An added benefit is that the PR pros’ journalist friends who follow their Twitter and Instagram feeds will get ideas for stories of their own.
Pass It On: Kindness Works!
Remember, “Pass it on?” We live in a friendly age, and you are a good corporate citizen to congratulate your competition, too. So, if you are mentioned in a round-up, tag the hotel down the block that is featured as well. We are all in this together.
At any given time there is a story in the local news of people “paying it forward.” Some instances are organic, like the “kindness chain” at a Starbucks in Florida. Others, like an initiative to provide holiday cards to military men and women overseas, take some coordination. Always the efforts are built on the philosophy of helping others in a selfless way. So what happens when a brand tries to use this social phenomenon as the basis of a social marketing campaign?
Last year, JetBlue introduced its latest promotional effort, a campaign called “Fly It Forward” that provides consumers worthy of admiration with a free flight and gives them the chance to do the same for others.
The campaign kicked off with a Chicago community worker-turned-United Nations delegate who received a ticket to New York City. She, in turn, awarded one to a woman who was in rehab after losing both her legs in an accident, and the trend continued. JetBlue launched the campaign with four profiles selected by JetBlue crewmembers and a planning team that “scoured the social web for deserving stories.” Then it turned the job over to the people of Twitter, asking them to nominate “Fly It Forward” candidates
A successfully media relations campaign must be planned and launched with intensity. There must be a steady stream of coverage and exposure daily in your feeds. Through all of these activities, you will gain increased exposure, build website traffic, and the public will gain general knowledge about your property or company. When it comes to making a choice, they will choose you over your competitors. Since you never know when they will be inclined to make a travel decision, your constant visibility is required.
How great is the feeling of doing something nice for someone else? Whether it is by holding a door, buying a coffee for the person behind you, or even just a simple passing smile, being nice feels good. This is as true on social media as it is anywhere else.
Some of the most popular social media users are those who make a conscious effort to help others in one way or another. We all know the saying, “what goes around comes around.” And these people are not only helping others, but are reaping the benefits of doing so.
So, what actually is paying it forward? It’s a concept that revolves around the idea that rather than paying someone back who has done you a favor, you pay that favor forward to someone else. Say a friend buys you a coffee. Instead of returning the gesture next time, maybe you buy a coffee for the person in line behind you and brighten their day just a little bit.
Offering to help others without expecting anything in return doesn’t just work in coffee shops; it can be an important part of your social media strategy. Paying it forward seems to be a key component of this “social experience for good” and has been motivating others to do the same.
Luxury Travel’s Distinctive Footprint on Social Media
As a solid travel public relations firm and a boutique social media marketing company will tell you, creativity is key to get stories and position your product so it is eye catching. Hyatt used this approach as a way to get noticed in the social media universe by creating @HyattConcierge on Twitter, which displays both their superb customer service and enables its customers to maintain the conversation beyond just days spent at their hotels. Creating these opportunities for customer interaction and integrating them with media campaigns keeps you present in a consumer’s mind, a great way to create a lifelong customer.
Snapchat: Timely and Powerful Techniques
Snapchat is an emerging platform that has caught on like wildfire with the attention of an increasingly important audience – Millennials. W Hotels jumped at the chance to be the first travel brand to participate in a national geofilter campaign. W Hotels partnered with a multimedia artist to create new geofilters. The filters were created to support the Human Rights Campaign’s fight for equality, and they featured phrases such as “I am what I am” and “The road to equality has never been straight.” Timely and powerful. This is also timely given the #metoo campaign that has created a groundswell on Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media Travel by the Numbers
According to sources on Econsultancy.com as well as statistics from Google and Online Travel Research on social media demonstrate the value of how social media is a constantly used tool for travel planning.
- Seventy percent of travel sites demonstrate social media is a top traffic driver.
- Ninety percent of travel sites are visited after social media was a used as a browsing tool.
- Forty percent of travelers use social media to help make a final destination decision.
- Sixty percent of travelers find online reviews as trustworthy as word-of-mouth information.
One of the many advantages of a digitally competent traditional PR firm is their ability to integrate social media with traditional media outlets. With hundreds of millions of consumers actively using social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat to make travel plans with more signing up each second, the time for the hospitality industry to get involved is now.
When it comes to online personal or business branding, the creation of social media profiles is absolutely essential. Whether you are just trying to get more exposure online, connect with your fans or customers, or working to purify your online reputation, social networking profiles are the way to go as they will rank highly in search engine results when people search for your name.
Nothing beats that third party endorsement of the editors in the wide range of prestige publications available to you, so make sure to get those features in front of your community through social media. While SEO PR, which means the authority links back to your site that a top media relations PR firm secures in stories about you, eyes on the page are also invaluable. That same principle applies to social media. Getting in front of your market is the goal, so it is all hands on deck to achieve that goal, The links from stories are so important in getting you onto page one of Google, thereby beating your competition, and those same outlets will often post their social media feeds the content about your story.
The coming year is an ideal one to get your integrated communications program on track and moving rapidly. Find out about more of the value of these necessary functions by contacting Abelow PR.