As a hospitality brand, authentic engagement with consumers can be a challenge. While the goal is to reach people, appeal to them with relevant content and convert them to customers over time, achieving that goal requires a delicate balance of charm, diligence and social listening.
Most marketers today know that millennials (who have surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest demographic) collect experiences, not objects. The social economy thrives on shared glimpses into each other’s lives. A brand that provides value through personal experiences, rather than shouting a list of features, is laying the foundation for successful engagement.
Guests aren’t staying with you for the mini-bar.
Rather than showing off pictures of a lobby and smiling employees, why not share an infographic about best restaurants in the area or a video of a show at a local venue? Put yourself in their shoes, speak their language. What do you personally look for when planning your own trip? What types of relatable people, places and events can you leverage to entice a visitor?
According to The State of the American Traveler: Generations Edition (July 2016 Vol. 21), millennials travel more for leisure than any other generation and 83 percent of those travelers use mobile devices to plan their trips. As you develop tactics, it’s important to craft content that is not only relevant to guest experiences, but also mobile-friendly and digestible.
Culture is king.
Planning a trip has become a complex, immersive process. While landmarks and attractions are still of interest, culture is a critical factor when deciding where to vacation or get away for the weekend. Hotels have an opportunity to show that they aren’t a mindless chain. Partnering with like-minded companies and organizations creates a connection between your brand and the local culture. A company’s social and cultural circle plays a significant role in the average traveler’s decision-making.
For Windsor Court Hotel’s 30th anniversary, DEVENEY launched an interactive campaign and contest that benefited 30 local charities. In the end, the luxury hotel earned exposure through each partner organization’s audience, provided value to the community and promoted its rich history ─ all in the same campaign. The takeaway: deliver content that not only engages both travelers and locals, but also creates associations between your brand and relevant entities.
Visitors shop for authenticity.
An engaging brand is one that invents and tastefully showcases its own voice, opinions and expertise. This doesn’t mean arguing with others or bragging about yourself. Speak in an original voice. Share your discoveries and expertise with your audience. In the same way that product reviews and friendly recommendations are more trusted than brandspeak, being refreshingly honest resonates with consumers as they scout out their next adventure. Remember, evoking interest requires being interested. Earn trust by being yourself.
“Engagement” can mean many things to many brands, but one thing we can all agree on is that creating and growing relationships requires showing who you are and what you can do for others, not asking people to buy things or “click here.” Consumers are savvy. Anyone who knows the internet will completely bypass stock photos, clickbait or sales jargon with the flick of their thumb. It’s all about making touchpoints where you can, starting conversations and following through with authenticity.
What are your thoughts on growing engagement in hospitality? Let us know by tweeting us your ideas @DEVENEYnola using the #DEVchat hashtag.