Thursday, June 9, 2016

How Social Media Can Increase Hotel's Direct Bookings

Thanks to efforts of global influencers like Elon Musk, Facebook & Google internet access has accelerated faster than ever before with *over 3 billion people gaining online access as of 2015. This access has accelerated an already fertile e-Commerce market and helped increase B2C potential dramatically. Recent projections have valued the *B2C e-Commerce business to over 3.2 Trillion dollars by 2020!

So with all that money flowing through the internet it’s no surprise hotel marketing teams should look to a cast a wider net via social media channels to pull in higher direct booking. But how much business for hotels can and is being generated directly through social media outlets today? And more importantly how can you effectively tap into social media in order to increase your direct bookings?

Amount Of Business Social Media Generates

Estimates show the *number of worldwide users on social networks by 2018 to be a whooping 2.5 Billion which is nearly 90% of all people online. In 2015, over 70 percent of the US population had social network profiles. According to a study made last year by the social times 28% of time spent online is spent on social media. And *nearly half of all online shoppers rely on social media when making a purchase online!
In hospitality alone there are over 148.3 million bookings made on the internet each year. The amount of business on the internet which is generated via social media is so overwhelming hotels have no choice but to focus on these channels. And the hotels who turn a blind eye to social media as a real avenue of generating direct business will be severely impacted and lose countless bookings to other properties who do cultivate their social networking channels.

First And Foremost, Know Your Market

*74% of online adults use social networking sites. It is important to remember who the current adult population is today. As scary as it may sound, it is Millennials who make up the largest consumer market. And according to Eventbrite research, Millennials spend $1.3 Trillion in annual consumer spending in the US alone! And 78% of Millennials would rather spend money on an experience over buying something desirable! So to pull in more direct business it’s a matter of marketing your hotels experience. And there is simply no better place online to market the experience you offer at your hotel than on social media! But it’s not enough to know who your market is (millennials) and where they are (online, on social media). You need to know HOW TO REACH & ENGAGE  THEM!  A staggering *1 in 5 Millennials access the internet exclusively through their mobile devices. And the majority of their time on mobile is spent on social media!

So the stats would seem to point toward channelling your digital content to a mobile friendly environment. Unfortunately the below infographic from Hotel News Now gives great insight into how even Millennial hotel employees see a great need for improving mobile and tech use as a hotel.

Knowing the largest consumer markets technology trends and how their mobile and online use directly ties into their social media should encourage hotels to make the appropriate adjustments to reach potential clients more effectively.

You Must Give To Get

And no I am not just talking about content. According to recent online studies even the *accounts with the largest amount of followers are unable to reach their target markets and make conversions unless they pay for visibility. Today’s online traffic is so heavy that in order to really target potential customers you must pay for targeting campaigns. Spending more money on ads is the necessary evil to succeed via social media & digital marketing. And without doing so your chances of converting traffic into actual business is as likely as shooting an apple off a person’s head while blindfolded and being spun around. The outcome is obviously lethal and with regards to your business it could be the same. So at the end of the day when using social media as a channel to increase direct bookings, you really must give to get.

Investing those extra dollars to your marketing budgets is the only way to see any real results. And considering *social network ad spending hit over 23.6 Billion in 2015 alone, you can be sure if you don't spend, your competitor will and they will reap the rewards instead of you.

  Paul Heil is the Global Sales Director at eRevMax. He can be reached at paulh@erevmax.com.
SOURCES:
* Over 3 billion people gaining access to the internet as of 2015 - http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/
*number of worldwide users to be using social networks by 2018 to be a whooping 2.5 Billion - http://www.statista.com/topics/1164/social-networks/
* Nearly half of all online shoppers rely on social media when making a purchase online - http://www.voucherbin.co.uk/social-media-the-largest-international-expo-infographic/
*74% of online adults use social networking sites. - http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/
*1 in 5 Millennials access the internet  exclusively through their mobile devices. -http://www.ibtimes.com/1-5-millennials-access-internet-exclusively-through-mobile-devices-1880194
* accounts with larger amounts of followers are unable to reach their target markets and make conversions unless they pay for visibility - http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/2016-social-media-marketing-predictions-from-the-experts/

http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/
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