Here is the most frequent request our customers make of us: “Please give us some tips on how to get our social media community more active”.
While a lot has to do with the current social media brand voice and social media positioning, there are a few things you CAN do to get your social media friends to upload more images of your brand, product and services.
The simple way is to give them something to talk about! In the case of our hotel and resort social media clients, we try to have them create unique onsite social experiences. How can they do that? Here are three ways:
Create social media spots throughout the resort. Remember those places that were so amazing people would stop along side of the road and take a picture [normally next to a sign that read Kodak, inspired by the Kodak moment]? Well, there are many amazing spots on your hotel or resort where you could create a these moments and have people post an image of them at that spot. Don’t forget to place a special floor covering with your brand’s logo…just keep it subtle.
Social media fan special events. Create events where your fans [and only fans] can come. During that event, ask them to take lots of pictures and post them to their Facebook. Once you hit a target number of posts (make it small), open a complimentary buffet during an hour for them or offer them a comlimentary drink.
Create onsite events and ask people to RSVP by posting an image of their favorite on property location through a specialty Facebook App [Don’t have a Facebook app for that? We offer one for $500]. This will create loads of user generated posts, engagement and build your relationship with your guests.
We have a slew of simple-to-execute tactics on how to get more people posting more images of your property more often without having to pay them.
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Marketing a resort – defining your competitive set
defining Your Competitive Set
Marketing a resort – Defining your competitive set.
I have been asked to create an almost step-by-step game plan in the development of a marketing plan for resorts, and am going to make the attempt. I have been teaching 4th year Marketing Strategy and Entrepreneurial Marketing at Florida International University for 10 years as well as two years at the University of Miami, and while I will always recommend taking a marketing course, I will try breaking this marketing plan process into several postings so as not to bore anyone.
Before we dive right into the resort marketing plan, there are a few things to consider, of which how to define your competitive set is crucial:
Your competitive position. It is important to understand who your real competitors are, both online and offline. If you were a South Beach hotel, you would consider your competitors resorts of similar star ratings, similar room counts and similar location for example. This would be a good physical competitive landscape and is fairly easy to determine. Now that your physical competitors are defined, ask your Search Engine Optimization agency to help you identify your online competitors. As the digital space grows, you will find competitors for your same keywords you did not consider in your competitive set, but the search engines are placing them in organic links below yours. Your guests may be driven t these sites and those resorts may take a bite out of your online digital keyword space and overall market share.
What happens if you mistakenly create a bad competitive set or a broad competitive set: The following happens:
If you start with an unfocused competitive position, you may find yourself in a “me too” environment with “me too” customer value.
Yes, without having a clear competitive position both online and offline, you will clearly add no value to the customer experience and will find yourself scrambling to chase every trend on the market;
while retaining no customer loyalty whatsoever;
and with very volatile market share.
Sound familiar? I see it in too many cases. It’s fairly simple to discover who your competitors are. I suggest a simple exercise as follows:
POC (Point of Comparison): In this case your look at our competitors and try to see where you are similar. Obviously, the least points of similarity you have with your competitive resort, the less likely they are truly in your competitive set. The more POCs, the more closely you resemble your competitors, the more likely you are to strive to a customer satisfaction strategy that is not trend driven (i.e. setting up ipod stands in the room connected to the radio), but customer focused.
POD (Point of Differentiation): After you have found the similarities, now discuss what’s different about you. This I have found over the years, will also help you start [if you have not already], delivering an amazing guest experience. Yes, a happy hour with the GM is a POD. Yes, tea at 5 pm in your Zen garden is a POD. Yes, free breakfast buffet is a POD. Once you’ve done that, now create your competitor’s PODs. Please be realistic.
After this exercise you will know who your competitors are and what makes you different. From that you can start building your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, which is really the first step in a resort marketing plan. I think however that I will spend a little more time in the next few postings dedicated to customer focused strategies and the profit impacts of dissatisfaction.
Stay tuned, and please ask as many questions as you like even while remaining anonymous.
While we all try to avoid talking business during social dinners at the home of friends, it is evermore frequent that we get asked the most popular question: “What could I do to market my resort”, traditionally ending their sentence with “without spending a fortune to do so”.
While every scenario is different, we have decided to compile some very simple elements yet essential elements of an affective marketing plan for hotels and resorts.
As always, we will supply industry partners with more detailed plans or the with the support services needed to execute world-class marketing plans to expand your hotel and resort’s footprint.
1. Train and motivate your sales force. We have found that motivation can be as simple as awarding your sales person a Friday off for the closing a much needed group or incentive program, or telling them the more they close the more marketing dollars you throw behind helping them generate more leads. These can be:
a. Hire temporary support by contracting a telemarketing service while your sales people are traveling, working trade shows or operating group functions.
b. Design a tradeshow plan to secure more exposure for your sales team and therefore generate more leads. Most resorts don’t use a plan, their “plan” is to show up and to have material to give away, little is done to attract people to hotel and resort booths.
c. Make sure your sales team has ample face-time with their top clients, with so many competitors getting in front of your clients even if only online.
2. Email blast. Yes, email still works, but only if you do it correctly. Segment those clients who travel in a specific season by offering them perks for only those periods of time when they travel. Pay attention to guest moves across your website and when asked about specific information for your onsite spa or amenities, don’t send them emails about your snorkel excursion focus on creating a plan for what your customer wants. Personalization is key.
3. Use social media to stay in front of your meeting planners and customers. Before you start your social campaigns you must make a few decisions on which channels will best reach your specific target. You don’t have all the time in the world and your clients aren’t on all channels. See our other articles about social media specifics.
4. Search Engine Optimization. We have all heard this a million times, but it is a critical component if you are to generate leads. In the past companies executed key word analysis and then attempted to change things across your website to match those key words. See our other articles about SEO planning.
We hope this gives you a little insight into what is needed to market your resort. At Valorem Group, we help hotels sell, market and create the best content plans for their audience. There are affordable plans for resorts of all sizes and you can select one or all services.