The hospitality industry is evolving rapidly, with brands shifting to asset light and consolidating, soft brands and non-branded operators growing steadily, and the distribution landscape becoming increasingly competitive. Nevertheless, hotel owners stand to gain if they focus on acquiring and developing the right real estate, choosing the appropriate franchisors, managers, and partners, running their properties efficiently and effectively, remaining innovative and thoughtful, and maintaining that ever-needed hospitality factor.
WeChat, China’s most popular app, has infiltrated the daily lives of its nearly one billion monthly active users. The popularity and penetration of the app in the country makes it an attractive platform for global travel brands looking to unlock the China market. Without a thoughtful WeChat strategy, however, this is easier said than done.
Facebook has transformed itself from a social media site into a powerful digital media platform that is now spreading its footprint across the travel industry. Facebook’s ability to dynamically retarget consumers combined with the ads being visual, aspirational, cost-effective, and largely in-app for Facebook’s massive and highly-engaged user base will make the platform an increasingly important tool for the travel industry.
Instagram and Snapchat have exploded in recent years; the user base is certainly there but at the same time, they leave something to be desired for advertisers. Visual content is also a challenge on the production side. How travel brands leverage both branded and user generated content to engage potential customers will vary. One certainty is that travel should continue to experiment with visual content and the platforms that attract millions.
Social media plays an increasingly central role in the customer service efforts of hospitality brands, requiring a hotels and airlines to respond more quickly, personally and publicly to customer issues. Successful brands have embraced social care, not just to solve problems, but to elevate the travel experience.
A major shift took place two years ago that caused travel brands to lament the dwindling access to consumers through Facebook. Paid reach beat out organic reach and brands realized that they don’t have much of a choice but to stay put. As consumers drift into other branches of this multi-pronged platform, smart brands are keeping one eye on the data that matters and the other, on greener pastures.
Travelers are looking to their social networks for inspiration and recommendations, before, during and after their vacations. User generated content is native to Instagram. Consequently, it is becoming the most effective marketing platforms in the evaluation stage—one step away from the purchase decision.
With a the growing amount of technology platforms to reach brands, social media has become an important space for customer service. In order to keep up with the popularity of these platforms and increasing amount of social interactions, brands are adapting by structuring their teams and departments to deal with volumes of inquiries in a personalized way.
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