Most hotels around the globe have a social media presence, but many are missing opportunities to optimise each channel effectively. If social media is used incorrectly or insufficiently, it can result in poor Return on Investment (ROI).
Before embarking on social media marketing campaigns, hotels should review their sales, marketing and commercial strategies to ascertain how social media can enhance each of them. Social media can be used to either drive brand awareness or to create direct sales for the hotel and depending on the objective, the execution and results need to be measured differently.
Social media channels have become a platform for businesses to interact directly with customers, but if they are not managed correctly, it can do more harm to the business than good.
At The First Group Asset Management we regularly revise our marketing strategies and initiatives. We believe asset managers must be meticulous in evaluating social media ROI. The expectations of operators and owners also need to be measured. If brand awareness is the goal, a certain set of KPIs will be considered to better monitor performance.
It is clear that social media can help hotels gain a competitive advantage, but the main issue is that it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of each channel.
When the objective is to improve brand awareness, most major social media channels offer KPI trackers, which can help the sales and marketing department measure the effectiveness of their interactions and posts. They can easily track engagement through likes, shares, comments, brand mentions and profile visits, but the difficult task is to attach a dollar value to these. When we evaluate social media campaigns we need to be able to run an ROI analysis on them and understand how they impact the property’s bottom line. It is easy to be impressed by the volume of followers and likes, but if this has no positive effect on the bottom line, it’s a waste of time and resources.
Overall, we believe it is essential for hotels to have a social media presence to engage with guests and drive brand awareness. When they run social media campaigns or hire third-party contractors to generate leads, the sales and marketing teams should use a tracker to analyse their effectiveness. Using tools such as Google Analytics, hotels can calculate the total returns generated from their investment in each channel. Constantly monitoring every investment enables the hotel management to control and analyse their expenses and helps the sales and marketing to identify the hotel’s target audience. In many cases, if the property is managed or franchised by an international brand, these companies will already have a strong brand presence online, which helps the hotel to reduce expenses and focus on generating sales instead.
At The First Group Asset Management we manage a portfolio of hotels with target audiences that vary greatly and although the current trend in the hospitality industry is to invest in social media, we always analyse, track and monitor such investments. Social media should be more than a tick in the box and by measuring the effectiveness of our social media campaigns we have been able to generate more sales with a lower expenditure.
The use of social media in the hospitality industry is still in its infancy and with the evolution of mobile payments we believe it will become an even more important sales and marketing tool in the future.