The old adage, “If you build it, they will come,” has never been more wrong than in the case of social media marketing. The reality is that you can have a great social media presence, a great booking offer and still have trouble driving room bookings with social media advertising.
That’s because the key to booking rooms with your social media presence isn’t just running an ad that says “Book Now.”
Do the creative and ad types you select matter? Sure. Does the copy you write make a difference? Of course. But the first few steps for getting heads in beds with social media are: analyzing your digital footprint’s strengths and weaknesses; knowing your target audience; and understanding your guest value journey.
Ready to drive room bookings with social media? Follow our six-step process below.
Step 1: Analyze Your Digital Landscape
Before you start building your ads and wondering what your perfect combination of copy and headline is, you should first analyze the state of your current digital landscape. Is your website user experience—especially on mobile—seamless? What products or offerings do you have that stand out amongst your competitors? Do you have the digital assets that can showcase these products or offerings? Do you have campaign landing pages that tie into your differentiators? Do you have social media pixels planted on your website and reservation pages?
If the bones of your digital presence are broken, social media tactics and strategies can only take you so far.
Step 2: Establish Your Customer Avatar(s)
Take a big step back, and observe your current customer base. Who are they? Where are they from? What do they do? What are their hobbies, interests and behaviors? What stage of life are they in? Do they have kids?
Start with 1-3 avatars, and build up from there if you need to. Examples include: Affluent Parents with Kids Under 12, Recently Engaged Couples, Millennials who travel for cultural experiences. Once you get to step 5, you can get granular with what encompasses each of these avatars. Ex. Affluent = Household Income: top 5% of U.S. zip codes.
Step 3: Build Out Your Guest Value Journey
Let’s assume your target audience has never heard of you before. How do you get them from this stage to being a customer? That’s the idea behind the guest value journey. Think of it this way: You would theoretically only propose to a person after 1) Meeting them 2) Getting to know them 3) Falling in love with them 4) Making sure they want to marry you, too.
By the same token, you should never expect a person who has never heard of your hotel to book a room without “getting to know you” first. The general funnel you’ve likely heard of is “Awareness, Engagement, Conversion.” The reality is, each of these stages can potentially have more than one step. Make sure to incorporate your booking window into this plan. If guests normally book 30-45 days before their arrival, this should be reflected in your awareness to conversion plan.
Step 4: Create Your Strategy
Once you’ve squared away your digital landscape, established your target audience and know how to get them from Point A to Point B, you’re ready to map out your strategy and tactics. Here’s where you document everything that you’ve prepared in Steps 1-3 and establish what action items you should take in order to achieve your goal: To drive room bookings with social media.
In your strategy, make sure to include your budget breakdown for each phase of the funnel and your creative vision based on your target audience.
Step 5: Execute on Your Strategy
Now you’re ready to execute on your strategy. Start by gathering your assets, creating your graphics, editing your videos and building out your audiences. Then set up your ads, and if applicable, schedule any News Feed content you’ve incorporated as part of your Guest Value Journey.
Step 6: Analyze Your Results
The final step in the cycle: Look at what’s working and make sure data is registering properly. After ads have passed their learning phase, make any necessary pivots. Spend more money on what’s working, and stop running ads that aren’t. The beauty of digital advertising is that you have tangible results and data to work with.
Some final tips and tricks!
- You should spend roughly 70% on prospecting and 30% on remarketing. That said, you should always base this ratio on the size of your current remarketing audience. If it’s smaller, increase your prospecting budget.
- If you’re utilizing News Feed content as part of your Guest Value Journey, make sure to support it with ad budget as well. Organic reach continues to decline, and creating content in hopes that it might reach your prospects is not the best use of time.
- Industry benchmarks are just a starting point. Consider your unique situation. If you’re a luxury resort, your KPI targets are going to be different than a budget hotel.
Casual Fridays is a digital marketing agency providing world-class social media experiences for its clients and their audiences. To date, we’ve delivered successful social strategies and ad campaigns for more than 200 hotels and resorts from San Francisco to New York City to the Caribbean. If you’re unhappy with the results of your social media efforts—or worse, you have no idea what your results are–we’re happy to help. Get in touch today!