It is not a secret that the current pandemic has been devastating for hospitality. Many businesses have had to close for a while, and some of them shut down completely. Equally, many of them managed to survive. You may be wondering: how do they succeed in staying afloat? The answer to this question is quite simple – they applied a proper marketing strategy.
One of the consequences of the outbreak was a global shift to remote work. This trend may stay with us for a long time, if not forever. In the times of social distancing, the digital world gradually replaced the real one. And this has changed people’s behavior: now they tend to spend even more time on social media.
Such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have become the main sources of news. During the peak of COVID-19, the situation was highly unstable and changed rapidly. Social media networks helped users to stay up-to-date with the latest events and statistics. They also provided an opportunity to keep in touch with others.
Thus, focusing on social media marketing was the best decision for hoteliers to pursue. Those who did that not only maintained their client base but also prepared a good ground for reopening. And it is still relevant, even though the quarantine is being eased. This is the way for the businesses to reconnect with their audience and improve their visibility.
In this article, we will focus on social media marketing tips, which you should implement in the post-COVID-19 era.
The importance of an appropriate strategy
Social media platforms are great for sharing impressions and emotions. If customers are satisfied with the services you provide, they will post about it. But this works for negative impressions as well. Proper handling of negative reviews is crucial for maintaining a good image of your business. If you want to know what people think, you should be present on various online platforms. This will give a better understanding of the main flaws and advantages of your state of affairs.
It will also allow you to establish a dialogue with your real and potential clients. Nowadays, guests want to receive a highly personalized experience. Regular posting on social media will create an illusion of closeness, and allow them to ask about something they might want to know. This is especially important in the post-coronavirus times, since the guests may have a lot of questions concerning safety measures in your hotel.
From the start of the pandemic, many hospitality businesses suspended their online activity. But now is a great time for rebirth. Remind your guests that your hotel exists and that you are ready to reopen. Show that you care about them by regularly posting about the improvements, which make your hotel a safe space.
The main thing is – you should be responsible for what you post and for how you do it. All the information about your hotel’s activity must be relevant and appropriate. For example, now is not the best time to show photos with large groups of people on them. The content which was scheduled for posting before the outbreak should be reviewed and changed. Do not ignore the pandemic, even though it seems that it comes to an end. Be compassionate and realistic – the world is still fighting with the virus and many families have had to face the consequences.
SMM in the post-Coronavirus times
When it comes to posting on social media in these times, there are many aspects to consider. First of all, you should be aware of the current protocols and quarantine easing measures implemented in your country. You must also identify who your target audience is, and do research concerning restrictions in their countries or regions. Knowing that will help you to avoid misunderstandings and irrelevant posts.
Another important point is – you should communicate with empathy. Emphasize the fact, that even though your hotel is opened, you will still do everything to protect your guests. You should not mention COVID-19 in every post, but do not neglect the situation either. Think about something that can be of use to your customers. These may be some interesting facts about your hotel or even a virtual tour around it!
Here are some more tips on how to improve your current SMM strategy:
1. Increase conversion rates by offering discounts and promotions
Remember, that there always are future customers among your followers. Social media marketing is a cost-effective and reliable source of the new clientele. If you have a goal of reaching a new milestone in likes or retweets, try to offer various discounts and promotions. For example, it can be a post with a specific hashtag, where you suggest a discount for bookings made via your website.
However, keep in mind that slashing prices is not an ultimate strategy for the new realities. Attracting more guests by establishing lower prices may significantly decrease your revenue. A viable alternative for that will be aiming for adding value, for example, by offering a complimentary bottle of wine.
One of the most important details is that your communication via social media networks should be humane. People want to socialize more than ever, so try to establish an emotional bond with your audience.
Use special Hotel Marketing Services
In general, there are many options on the market, but not all of them are suitable. If you want to choose the right one, check if they provide a booking button, and help with an online marketplace, advertising and SEO-optimization. Another important point is compatibility with your current Property Management System. If the package includes all of that, then you are ready to achieve your goals!
Reinforce your brand
Try to create a certain vision of your business through social media posts. Yes, people may not be ready to book yet. Nevertheless, they always have access to your profile! So use this to learn more about your customers by showing a genuine interest in their needs and preferences.
Develop a philosophy behind your brand by showing that people are the most precious treasure for your hotel. Focus on your team as well. You may create a series of posts introducing each member of your “hotel family” and telling a short story about their role in your community.
Make some changes to the posting timing
With a worldwide shift to remote work, schedules became more flexible. Before the quarantine, the best time to post was around 10-11 a.m. Now, during this timespan, people tend to concentrate more on their working tasks.
The prime time for scrolling feed now is an early or late evening. And 10 p.m. has become the “new normal” for posting on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This can be explained by the fact that many people now work and take care of their families simultaneously. Thus, the only time that they have for themselves is a short interval before sleep, and that is when they usually turn to social media.
Experiment with the new platforms and formats
Keep in mind that videos are the most eye-catching type of content. They add variety to your regular posts and draw attention to your page. But it is not necessary to spend a small fortune on production! You can simply record an interview with one of your clients or employees via Zoom call, and share it online.
Webinars have become an emerging trend in times of social distancing as well. This is a simple and convenient way to answer the most frequently asked questions by your followers. And if your hotel specializes in wellness, you can collaborate with fitness coaches and create online workout sessions for them. The opportunities for your creativity are truly unlimited!
Any hotelier should remember that people and their health are the top priority right now. By using the strategies outlined above, you can effectively develop your brand in post-pandemic times. These tips will help you to expand your customer base and prepare your hotel for a successful reopening.
And don't forget that automation and technology could make the successful implementation of these strategies much easier, providing the right conditions for a smooth workflow. If you are looking for other ways of promoting your hotel digitally, check out our article on Search Engine Marketing strategy.
Public relations: Stephanie Moench