How have hotels decided to increase direct hotel sales using social media?
Within the last few years, direct hotel sales have been stuck in a downwards spiral. Digital connectivity has greatly increased the ways in which customers are influenced in their buying decisions, and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) are increasingly popular sources for hotel bookings. Many customers use third party sites to compare hotel recommendations to get the best deal and value for their money. Hotels are heavily dependent on these third party partnerships to get indirect sales, leaving them at a disadvantage.
Enter Social Media Marketing
Hotels have discovered alternative ways to increase direct sales: their online presence on social media offset this weakness. In this digital age, many potential customers can be influenced on social media. Using these platforms ensures that existing customers can provide insightful reviews, feedback and create valuable content, similar to OTA websites. Hotels can respond and engage with their customers in real time, as discussing offers and incentives linked directly to their website also increases direct hotel sales.
Successful hotels utilise a mix of the most popular social channels. Although each channel provides them with a unique platform to reach customers, however, they all have different functions. Facebook, for example, remains the most popular social media site for audiences aged over 35. Twitter, meanwhile, is primarily a conversational tool whilst Instagram is the go-to place for inspiration.
Enter Instagram Influencer Marketing
Why Influencer Marketing?
97% of millennials share travel snaps on social media. These visuals provide an insight into the hotels and locations on offer, inspiring us to take our own vacations. The content tells an authentic story, one significantly more interesting than an overt advertisement or brochure. Nowadays, one of the major sources of information within the travelling industry is the customer themselves. These customers have become not only influencers, but also bridges with which hotels can reach out to millennials. For those with millennial children, research has found that travel decisions are greatly impacted by children who suggest places they’ve been inspired to visit by social media to their parents, who ultimately pay for the trip. This was, for example, a factor that helped one London hotel generate an extra £3,571 revenue a month compared to the previous year.
Why Instagram Influencer Marketing?
Instagram’s prominence has risen quickly within the last five years. With 100 million users gained every six months, Instagram’s visual tools allow any individual snap to look professional. This has resulted in the formation of various communities of brand ambassadors who exclusively pursue their interest in travel, food, art, fitness, and more.
Instagram itself has revealed some important statistics:
- 1. its community has grown to more than 700 million Instagrammers (source: Instagram).
- 2. it has 1 million monthly active advertisers—up from 200K this time last year—and in the last month over 120 million Instagrammers have visited a website, got directions, called, emailed or direct messaged to learn about a business (source: Instagram).
- 3. 80% of Instagrammers follow a business today (source: Instagram).
These statistics show how Instagram can help increase direct sales much better than other social media platforms. Instagram has also recently allowed users to link their content to other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This greatly enhances its overall reach and allows for a cross-platform approach.
How can Swayy help hotels increase direct sales using Instagram?
Swayy empowers hotels to make more informed decisions and take control of direct sales and bookings by using Instagram as a platform. Our goal is to provide hotels to customers and to promote your venue to tens of thousands of potential customers. Influencer marketing is a more authentic way to engage with target audiences, allowing brands to establish mutual trust between customers. Moreover, influencer marketing provides and alternative and more authentic method for making travel decisions, especially when compared to the formats of OTA websites such as booking.com.
Hotels just have to sign up, post an advert for suitable influencers, evaluate the applicants and then book them based upon their availability. Swayy can be used as and when exposure is needed; pre-vetted influencers will post carefully curated, quality content about a venue to a relevant and engaged audience. In addition, Swayy’s five-star rating feedback system allows hotels to evaluate influencers and their work, mutually benefiting both parties.
Swayy can provide you with the means to track your influencer marketing campaign via Unique Tracking Links, which allow you to track for return-on-investment (ROI) from each campaign and streamline your customer’s online journey. As such, you can maximise direct sales at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
It costs £8000 per day to put up a billboard on Piccadilly Circus to reach 300,000 non-relevant people who walk past. The equivalent cost to 300,000 relevant potential customers interested in travel via an Influencer on Swayy is on average 90% cheaper and generates a strong, trackable ROI.
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By Ekta Rajani