Hyatt Hotels may advertise on TV that you can “Feel the Hyatt Touch,” but when it comes to social media, they really mean it. They have taken advantage of Google ads and YouTube light box videos to create a custom campaign for female travelers who want to feel that there is a hotel that caters to their unique interests. Increasingly, brands are forced to narrow their advertising focus from a mass audience to a niche one, and social media is the way to do this. Travel brands are no exception. Indeed, traveler’s love social media – as 76 percent of social media users have a dream trip list and vacations were the third most shared topic on social platforms.
Social media is also important in the booking process. It ranks second only to friends and family as a source for ideas about where to travel. Reviews of lodging, sights, and other travel purchases give 68 percent of people the confidence to book. So how do brands proactively engage? The first way is to be purposeful in ad targeting. For instance, ancillary travel products can be an effective way to increase your customer value. Keep in mind, the older a customer is, the less likely he or she is to purchase air upgrades, for instance. So, targeting young and middle age travelers for these products is a better use of your money.
Making good use of your money is important with all social media. We’ve gone beyond “building an audience,” now you’ll need to look at return on investment. Facebook just issued a report for travel marketers that said you need to target a narrow market and build a relationship with these individuals. It’s not about getting the most “likes” anymore, it’s about building the deepest connections.
One way to maximize that relationship is to encourage user-generated content. Host a contest where users post pictures of themselves by your hotel sign or your attraction with a special hashtag. Engage with customers when they comment or post photos about your brand. The more you encourage the relationship, the more likely it is to develop.
You may think that younger travelers are savvier about social media or that middle-aged people use email more. But, based on modern research – you would be wrong! Studies show that people use technology in surprisingly similar ways across generations. The platform is not the differentiator, your offer is. Between 54-57 percent of people across all age groups have either sent or opened an email in the last week, so your travel email offer has an equal chance of being opened by a baby boomer or a millennial. It’s just that the boomer is more likely to open the multi-day bus trip and the millennial is more likely to open the weekend city stay offer.
It is important for travel brands to engage in social media dialog because travel is one of the topics being discussed frequently across a range of platforms. It is important to understand that 83 percent of people use the Internet while on vacation and one-third of them share photos of their trips on Facebook while still on vacation. Your customers are engaged – you should be too.