Monday, May 12, 2014

Hotel Marketing and Technology -- Visual Social Media

The hospitality industry is a natural fit for the more visually oriented social media networks. Sites including Pinterest and the video-sharing network YouTube offer hotels tremendous opportunities, being that a hotel is a highly visual business. There are nearly limitless topics around which a hotel can create content. Photos and videos of sightseeing around the destination, tours of the hotel’s features and amenities, travel tips about the area, or even a cooking video from the chef are just a few suggestions. Imagination and creativity are the only limitations of what can be accomplished on these networks.



In order for a video-sharing hotel internet marketing effort to gain any traction, the videos should feature topics that people will actually want to watch. Just like all the other social networking sites, compelling hotel content is required. A tour of the hotel’s restaurant is great, but may not inspire people to share it with others. Whereas a video of the head chef sharing some of their culinary secrets is extremely share-worthy. The majority of videos on YouTube, especially the ones that are likely to be shared, are less than 5 minutes in length. If a subject is going to require more time, it should be broken up into smaller pieces since many people have a very short attention span. It is just as important on YouTube to monitor and respond to comments left by the audience as it is on other social networks. Also, linkage between the YouTube account and other social media outlets is crucial to successful hotel marketing with videos.



From a travel perspective, Pinterest is perfect for people to “pin” and share images of their favorite travel destinations and the hotels they stayed in while traveling. Conversely, hotels can share images to entice would-be travelers to book at their hotel and convert them into guests. The very nature of Pinterest is its visual orientation, seemingly created for a hotel marketing in a spectacular and desirable destination. The images need to be of high resolution and as large as possible. Photos of the destination and location of the hotel should out-number images of hotel property, features, and amenities. This is in keeping with all social media’s aversion to blatant self-promotion.

Pinterest is the perfect platform for a hotel to show-off how knowledgeable they are of their surroundings by sharing travel tips and things to do in and around the travel destination they are located. In this way the hotel can provide a service by being a helpful host to their guests in advance. Pinterest provides a wonderful method for a hotel to connect with their audience, called “re-pin”. In this way brands can comment on and share content that is shared with them by their audience. This is how engagement works on Pinterest. When a hotel’s guests share images from their wonderful stay at your hotel by pinning them to your board, the hotel can then comment and share them as well.

Pinterest and YouTube are tailor-made for the hospitality industry, with its rich imagery. Few industries can benefit more from these richly visual social media networks.


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