It is no exaggeration to say that when many people go on their vacations, they are almost obsessively inclined to document their trip on social media. Whether or not this is a good or bad thing is beside the point; your resort should absolutely be using this modern day phenomenon to its advantage.
There are plenty of success stories showing how brands from a whole variety of different sectors of the economy use social media to boost their sales and increase profits. This includes tech companies, fashion brands and food outlets and this is the case for both bigger brands and smaller or independent companies. In fact, it is often the smaller companies that are more willing to innovate because of a less hierarchical and rigid structure within the business.
Social Media: The Modern Day Postcard
One thing that is very certain is that social media can be a huge boost for brands operating within the travel and tourism sector such as resorts and hotels. In a certain sense, posts on social media are like a modern form of the postcard with people letting friends and family know where they are and what they have been up to while on holiday.
Brunch time is my favorite time 🍊 @hawkscayresort #hawkscayvacay ………………………….. What's your favorite brunch food?! Is it weird I'm just really obsessed with crossaints? ………………………….. 📷: @natalyaphoto ………………………….. #hawkscayresort #hawkscay #floridakeys #florida #lovefl #sunnyflorida #colorfullife #travellinggram #bighairdontcare #curlyhairdontcare #travelblogger #travelblog #travelvlogger #sidewalkerdaily #mytravelcrush #blackgirlswhoblog #presstrip #happyfroday #curlsonfleek #citizenfemme #travelstyle #bloggerlife #brunchtime #brunchin #beautifulhotels #dametravelerhotels #hotelsandresorts #hotels #ResortLife
The crucial difference is that these modern postcards, such as Instagram posts, Facebook updates, Snapchat stories, YouTube videos or Tweets can reach not only friends and family but a potentially much wider audience, especially if these updates are engaged with and shared by your resort team and the individual’s followers.
What has been clear for a long time is that recommendations from friends and family is a very powerful influencer of where people decide to travel to, especially for younger people. This was backed up strongly by a recent survey by Topdeck Travel, a group tour provider aimed at 18-39 year old’s. From this survey of close to 32,000 respondents across 196 countries/regions it was shown that 76% of respondents chose their next travel destination based on their friend’s recommendations.
Another crucial finding was that 36% said that social media would play a part in where they chose to go next, a far greater percentage than those who said they would seek travel agent advice (18%). This highlights how individuals (especially younger people) are much more inclined to follow recommendations from friends or those they follow on social media, rather than simply from what brands are trying to sell them.
How To Encourage Your Guests To Post
What your resort should do is to encourage these social media updates from your guests by making it as easy and attractive to post as possible. For example if someone posts a beautiful photo from your resort pool, or aesthetically pleasing snap of a meal from your resort restaurant then don’t just ignore this. One of your team should like the post and leave a comment. If the photo, video or other update is particularly good then your team should also share it on your resort social media channels and tag the guest in the post.
What these actions will do is show that your team is actively listening to what resort guests are saying which will display to your guests that their opinion matters. On a side-note it is also very important for your resort team to be monitoring what is being said about your resort online incase any false claims are being made, and to be able to respond quickly to any legitimate criticisms. Again this displays that your resort cares about its guests and is also modern and open to all forms of communication.
Other great ways to encourage your guests to posts on social media about your resort could be to create a special areas perfect for Instagram photos, such as a wall with a colourful, artistic design. Ideally you should start updating your resort to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible, with humorous or thought provoking slogans/quotes dotted around, vibrant colours, bright areas with lots of natural light and of course keep everything clean and well maintained. People love to keep their friends, families and followers updated on where they are, especially if it might inspire them to visit themselves or even (dare we say it) provoke a little (or lot) of envy. Social media users also get a buzz out of receiving likes and comments on their posts, so if your resort is particularly attractive or ‘Instagrammable’ then of course they will be more likely to post updates.
Running a competition is a also very effective strategy to encourage your guests to post more on social media during their stay. For example you could run an Instagram competition in which your guests could win a week’s stay if their photo at your resort gets the most likes. This will have the added benefit of not only encouraging more posts from your guests, but also result in them sharing their photo with as many people as possible to try and gain more Likes. This will then work as excellent advertising, reaching an even greater audience.
Your resort should also actively display that it is on all the major social media channels with icons and your resort username shown in different areas, this could be in the reception area and at key areas that are great for photos such as the resort pool or cocktail lounge. Basically, it should be made as easy as possible for your guests to find your resort on social media and follow and interact with you there.
Ultimately, to ignore the power of social media promotion from your own guests is a big wasted opportunity for gaining free advertising and exposure for your resort. As shown in the survey mentioned above and a multitude of other evidence, social media is quite literally influencing where people want to take their next holiday, so make sure they are more likely to choose your resort through the power of social media engagement!
— AZURE (@AzureResorts) March 13, 2017
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