by Jeff Howland
Consumers are increasingly using social media to research their travel plans and make decisions about where to stay. A recent study found that 52% of travelers using social media to research their travel plans ended up changing their original plans. Combining this with the massive growth in mobile apps and services, hotels, motels, inns, and bed and breakfasts need to consider online marketing as a critical part of their overall strategy.
Word of mouth recommendations from family and friends blow away traditional marketing, and these days much of that back-and-forth is done through social media. Getting your business on their radar can make a big difference when it comes time to decide. Online reviews are also a huge factor when consumers are doing research online. Consider the following:
- After a vacation 46% of travelers post hotel reviews online
- 87% of those younger than 34 use Facebook to solicit advice before making bookings
- 72% post vacation photos and 70% update their Facebook status while still on vacation
- 46% ‘check-in’ to a location (e.g. Facebook and Foursquare) while on vacation
Facebook isn’t the only place they are talking either. According to USA Today, visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are playing a greater role in connecting with travel consumers.
Before we even think about which social media channels to use, I want you to think about how you’re going to connect with your followers on social media, what resonates with your demographic, what gets people talking. I want you to step back and think about the stories from your inn, from your community, and from you — This is where content comes from.