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Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in Social Media

Hotel Marketing Conference 2017 – Social Media Success Factors

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the annual Hotel Marketing Conference in Burton Upon Trent. Not only this, but I gave a talk to the delegates on Social Media Success Factors and wanted to share some of my tips.

Beth Murrell Hotel Marketing Conference 2017(Image Source: Pavan Gill)

We all know that social media is well and truly changing the marketing game. We can’t ignore the domination of this channel for our brands, as more and more travellers are using it in the decision-making process when they book their holidays.

When it comes to social currency, travel is definitely up there. You can’t miss your friends and family sharing their travel posts online, from a check-in on Facebook to a smug Boomerang of a cocktail on Instagram. Social media is extremely important, and some key questions that people ask are:

  • How do I create success on social?
  • How do I measure success?
  • What’s my ROI on social?

I’m hoping to answer some of these questions in this post. First up, however, what is Marriott as a brand doing on social media?

Marriott uses a platform called MLive, which acts on the principles of geo-fencing, allowing our hotels to quickly:

Analyse – Gain consumer insights and extended intelligence based on activity at our hotels.

Surprise and Delight Receive notifications when something exciting has happened at a property, like an engagement, and the ability to respond.

Amplify – Use sponsored posts to reach guests with hyper-personalised ads.

Marriott International Mlive(Image Source: Marriott International)

MLive also allows us to have a truly two-way conversation with our guests, as well as real-time social listening to keep up with trends and crisis management. All of these combined allow us to create content on the fly.

The Aim of the Game Is to Engage Guests to Inspire Others

I know that not everyone can do this, or not everyone has access to a platform like this. However, as a brand or hotel, you don’t need MLive to:

Interact – Ensure you’re getting that personal interaction with your guests.

React – Respond to trending topics and have a robust social-crisis process.

Listen – Learn what guests are saying about you and use it as an opportunity.

These are all important factors that will lead to your success on social media. And, although you may not see a direct return, you’re ensuring that any guest or potential guest will come away having had a good experience.

Social Media Quick Wins

When thinking about your social media, there are a few things that you can look at right now to make a big impact:

  • Go live on Facebook or Instagram. Share events, like wedding fayres or event setups, to give followers an authentic look at your brand.
  • Utilise free tools like Hootsuite or Canva to make scheduling easy, or to improve the look of your posts.
  • Find your social media style and brand. Use apps like Snapseed or VSCO to improve your photos.
  • Find those team members with a natural affinity for social media and use it!
  • Optimise your social profiles, have consistent branding and use keyword research to boost your visibility.
  • Have a content calendar ready and plan at least three months in advance.

So, how can you actually measure success in social media?

If you’re not looking at any form of paid social advertising, you’ll likely encounter questions about how you can measure success. Here are a few measurements you can use:

Interactions

One great way to measure your content’s success is looking at your interactions. Below is a great example from one of our hotels, the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London. After posting this short video, the hotel got some great comments, which they interacted with. Within most social media platforms, you will have access to analytics tools which will show you posts that perform the best, as well as times, demographics and much more. Use this to benchmark improvements in your social strategy and utilise the results to modify your upcoming posts.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Instagram(Image Source: St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Instagram)

Campaign Performance

One solid way to measure performance is by using paid marketing, such as Facebook ads. Here, you can clearly see a return on your investment, and we’re seeing that FB especially is favouring paid advertising more and more.

Real-Life Interaction

Through our Marriott Digital Services programme, we work with hotels on their digital strategy. One of those is Snapchat filters. These are a great way to see real-time interaction with your social channels, and anyone can do these!

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Snapchat Filter(Image Source: London Marriott Hotel Park Lane Snapchat)

The Key Is, Anyone Can Do This

Eventually, all of these elements will lead to bookings, stronger brand awareness and brand likability, ultimately securing loyal repeat guests.

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Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Conference Recaps

The Digital Content Summit 2017 Recap

London Digital Content Summit(Image Source: Beth Murrell)

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Digital Content Summit in London. It showcased a range of experts who shared their knowledge of such varied topics as multichannel delivery, content and influencer engagement, measuring impact and different realities.

There was a whole day of speakers, so I wanted to share with you a few of my choice standouts and key takeaways. The day kicked off with a keynote from Patrick Collister, head of design from Google. The main message that resonated from his speech was that augmented reality and virtual reality are the future. This also seemed to be a theme throughout the conference, with so many speakers sharing the same belief.

We’re already starting to see these changes come in with the introduction of Snapchat Spectacles and the recent success of Pokémon Go. People love this mixed and augmented reality, but we’re only really seeing these in apps and games currently. How long will it be before they become part of everyday life?

Pokemon Go(Image Source: Pexels)

Another interesting panel was around managing content-ownership models. These experts championed the use of influencers in campaigns to allow full integration into a brand’s ethos.

So what do they think is holding brands back? They spoke of the fact that many brands are looking at content as a menu rather than the story behind the medium. They also don’t trust the opinion of the influencers, and try to control them too much.

Victoria White from Hearst Magazines UK reiterated that “content is key to any creative campaign” and that Hearst saw seven times more engagement when using influencers. There did seem to be an ongoing theme from companies starting to utilise influencers more; you can read my previous blog post that talks about The Rise of Influencer Marketing.

Going back to basics a bit, we also heard from Daniel Rowles from Target Internet, who implored everyone in the room to really paint a picture with their data and work out end objectives. So many companies run brand campaigns without having steadfast goals, and they don’t analyse the data afterwards to determine the success of campaigns.

We also saw a case study from David Meany of Contiki. He firmly believes that brands should live and die by their content, and that “everyone is a creator and there is a bigger risk sitting on the sidelines.” He showed us Contiki’s evolution over the years, and how they took leaps to create innovative and interesting content by partnering with popular influencers. One of the featured videos was created in partnership with cliff-diving experts, and has now around 5 million views.

My final key takeaway came from the last speaker of the day, Matt Simmonds of The Telegraph, who said, “The only rule is that the old rules don’t apply”. He finished off the day just as it had started: with his firm belief that the future is in 360 videos and virtual reality. He shared this formula for virtual reality, as he believes it encompasses all of the following:

Virtual Reality = 360 + Virtual Reality + Mixed Reality + Augmented Reality

These days, we’re no longer passive observers; we’re active participants. Therefore, the brands we embrace and encourage should feature this type of user-generated content.

So what does this mean for the hotel industry?

In the hotel world, I definitely can see a move into a world where augmented reality is overlaid into the travel experience – with a computer sitting on your nose. Imagine being able to wake up, pop on some glasses and have a mixed-reality overlay where you can select room service or see what time the spa opens. Or fully immersive 360 videos, where you can walk through the hotel, open doors to rooms and see what you’re buying before you click checkout.

If this conference is anything to go by, it won’t be long before these are our reality.

Virtual Reality(Image Source: Pexels)

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Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in Social Media

The Rise of Influencer Marketing

It’s safe to say that the world of advertising is changing. Consumers are increasingly turned off from traditional marketing, and are looking to their fellow consumers for guidance, quickly heading to social media to begin their buyer journey.

Instead of being influenced by typical advertising, these consumers (and especially those in the Gen Y bracket) are now looking to their favourite personalities online, on social platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat to help them make choices on their purchases.

These online influencers (such as vloggers and bloggers) are powerhouses in the world of advertising, selling out tours, having bestselling novels and bringing out products that sell out in a matter of minutes. They have a direct line into the target market of so many brands, and anything they put their name to seems to turn to gold.

So, why is this type of marketing so powerful?

A study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.”

And of those that were acquired through word-of-mouth, what do you think the retention rate is?

I’ll give you a minute to guess.

If you guessed around the region of 40%, then you’d be correct. There is a 37% higher retention rate for those generated through word-of-mouth. Crazy right?

I recently did a quick Twitter poll, to delve deeper into the way that people would be influenced to buy. Over the hour, 70 people answered the poll, and you can see that 86% of people would be more likely to book a hotel if it was recommended to them by a friend or family member. We trust the opinion of those we care about.

Beth Murrell Twitter Poll

(Source: Beth Murrell’s Twitter)

So, how do influencers fit into this? They’re not friends or family members, we don’t speak to them one on one, how do they have such a large power over their target market? These influencers are crafted to be approachable; they share their life online to millions, meaning that they build a trust with those who watch them. Most full time influencers carefully select relevant partnerships with brands to ensure that they keep that trust with their audience. This then means that they’re able to directly tap into a market and utilise that following to help sell themselves as a brand, and also any products that they endorse.

How can brands build a good relationship with influencers?

So, we know that influencer marketing works, but how do we get it to work for brands? A common mistake that many brands make is thinking that they can just throw money at an influencer and they will instantly gain a large amount more sales. Definitely a big no no. The relationship between brand and influencer is reciprocal, meaning that it has to make sense for both parties. It’s an investment from the brand to the influencer, and if chosen correctly it can work extremely well.

What does the future hold for influencer marketing?

Over the past 10 years, influencer marketing has grown exponentially, as we can see from the Google Trends graph below. From 2004 to present we can see a sharp increase in the amount of people searching for, and talking about influencer marketing, and it shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

influencermarketing_Google Trends

(Source: Google Trends UK)

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