When it comes to marketing luxury travel brands, the game is slightly different. As a business owner or marketer you already know that you’re rarely selling the practical features of your hotel, resort or product – what you’re really doing is showing customers how they can feel, and what they can experience.
It’s about offering an elegance, style and exclusivity that matches their desire for the best the world can offer them. For that reason, successfully rising to the top of the luxury accommodation market and becoming the most sought-after experience is about inspiring the customer. Igniting desires and catching fire to exciting emotions are what creates hotel bookings. Digital Marketing is just a vehicle to do that.
This is exactly why a dramatic shift is happening in the marketing world, and it’s one that luxury brands in every industry are taking advantage of. The rise of digital living is driving consumer attention away from traditional advertising, and towards the powerful devices we all hold in our hands.
People on average spend 2 hours per day on their smartphones. That’s why digital marketing is becoming more influential, and why social media is fast becoming the gold standard of that. Social media is visual, interactive, and crowded. Everyone is on there, they’re all sharing photos and videos, and most importantly they’re sharing their feelings and their experiences.
When does that sharing peak? When they’re travelling and staying at a luxurious accommodation.
If you have a luxury travel brand, if you’re running a luxury hotel, resort or any other tourism or hospitality business offering a premium product, you can’t afford to not be using social media.
If you’re not convinced, here are 9 reasons why you need to be using social to attract new customers along with our best tips from our own travel brand experience on how to get started today.
1. Have a Social Media plan
In a previous article I published (see the link) I analysed results from a case-study we conducted on people who follow hospitality instagram accounts. We found that over 50% of targeted followers, who follow these pages have either visited the venue or are planning too. This means that the most important part of building a strategy for venues is to plan out how we can attract targeted followers to follow our clients instagram.
In our management systems, this is the bones of running accounts, as we believe that a strong strategy is key, and then the story telling is important but secondary.
2. Luxury customers need inspiration
Travellers are not impulse buyers. Research shows most travellers will visit over 20 sites before making a decision on a travel product. They value this process of browsing the options to see what takes their fancy – none more so than luxury travellers.
How do you stand out from the crowd, and become top of the desire list? By seeking first to inspire your potential customers, not simply advertise to them. With social media, you can send out posts and use network marketing to put your inspiring images and experiences in front of people more often. Repetition creates desire.
3. Travel research is done on mobile
Google data shows there are already more searches on mobile than desktop for search terms like ‘luxury travel’ and ‘family vacations’. This means your customers are using their smartphones for their travel research more than their laptops. Their attention is literally in their hands when they search for your products, and they can access content there on their own schedule.
Gone are the days of driving past an old billboard and waiting to pass the same spot twice for more inspiration.
4. Luxury travellers love social media
There is perhaps nothing more enjoyable on a luxury holiday than showing all of your friends how decadent and exclusive your experience is. Social media is the king of sharing. It’s where your customer’s attention is, and it’s where they’re already talking about their experience.
97% of millennials say they share pictures while travelling, especially on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Snapchat. That’s basically everyone with a pulse and an interest in your product. Baby Boomers are huge users of Facebook, and Generation Z particularly love the visual amazingness of instagram.
Social media gives you the incredible potential to target current customers, as well as new ones. Tagging, competitions and giveaways draw more interaction with your pages and infinitely grows the number of people who look at your stuff.
5. Connect with past, present and future customers
One of the most powerful reasons every luxury travel brand should have a social media presence is it provides them with a central touch point. A Facebook account gives everyone in the buyer’s process a way to see your content, interact with you and keep in touch. If they want to ask a question they can do so when they want, and you can reply during your business hours.
How does this boost your sales? The power of social media means you can run competitions, giveaways and promote your social posts to incentivize the sharing of user content to do with your product. More people see your brand, and you know what they say…
6. Word of mouth is king!
Social media allows current customers to talk about their experiences to their friends, which builds trust around your brand. If one person has been there, their friend is going to want to show that they can do it too. They’ve also heard and seen all of it already on social media.
Why not be front and centre, ready to boost that?
7. Customers crave more than Your website
As we move into a mobile friendly world, a couple of thumbnail images and a video on your website won’t cut it. Your customers want to see and feel more before they make a purchase decision. And they want much more than just a shot of the pool, and what the beds look like.
Social media allows you to create a massive repository of images, videos, and other media showing every aspect of the luxury experience. Take them through the palm trees, walk them along the incredible beaches, introduce them to the life they could be living with your product. And the best thing is you can simply fill your social media with a range of aspects, and the customers will browse to the ones they’re interested in.
8. Promote your customer reviews
Data for luxury travellers shows that 70% of them will read up to 20 reviews before choosing a product. They will actually search to read a number of different reviews to make sure the place is established, as well as good quality. Social media allows you to post all of your reviews to ensure there’s plenty for your customer to find.
9. Understand the intent of guests
Another important aspect when building your social media strategy is to understand your customers’ intention in staying where you are located. If you are close to an amazing travel destination, like a beautiful beach, mountain or even a great shopping center, you have the ability to link your property and this destination in your social media accounts.
When we tested this on @mustseelocation instagram page, by moving away from just promoting the resorts/hotels and instead started promoting what people could see and do. The result was that our engagement grew significantly.
Tips To Getting Started –
· Use high-quality media: Your images and videos are a reflection of your business. Luxury customers want to feel the exclusivity and value of your offering from the first interaction – so spend the time to refine your media before posting.
· Connect with your followers: Spending the time to respond to positive and negative comments will show customers you care and are happy to help them out. Your social media efforts are an extension of your reputation, brand and style.
· Apply the right strategy: Your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat channels won’t boost leads unless you monitor and build them correctly. Ensure you place someone in charge of these channels who are experts in social marketing and can extract the best results from your marketing spend and efforts. If you don’t know what to post, you won’t see the bookings improve.
-Grow Your Luxury Hotel Bookings With Our Social Media Packages Today!
Here at Gorillaz Media, we test all of our insights on our own accounts before recommending them to clients. We know what it takes to achieve huge results with your social media account because we’ve done it already with our own travel inspired page @mustseelocations.