Social media has grown in popularity over the past few years and many travel marketers see Facebook & Instagram as vital to the success of their digital marketing strategy. Social media is especially powerful when used to build a brand story, and to develop relationships with customers before, during, and after their stay. It is a powerful tool for an independent hotel or attraction, especially when it is important to maintain a consistent guest experience.
Although this data looks at travel marketers’ behavior prior to the impact of COVID-19, there are a number of compelling reasons for continuing your social media ad campaigns during this pandemic.
For many businesses, during a time like this where budgets are reduced or even cut, marketing related expenditure needs to be carefully allocated to channels which will deliver performance and long-term benefits. Even small investments on social media while travelers are still ‘dreaming’ and searching for future travel will be worthwhile when recovery begins.
With government advice to stay indoors, and the practice of social distancing, people have turned to their devices to connect with family and friends. Across many of the countries hit hardest by the virus, usage across the range of Facebook apps has increased by more than 50%. In Italy, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, up to 70% more time has been spent on these apps since the crisis arrived in the country. Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in just one week and time in group calling increased by over 1,000% during March. The extra time online provides a great platform for hoteliers and attraction operators to continue engaging with travelers, and becomes even more important than ever, while there are less of the ‘distractions’ that usually occur in people’s day-to-day lives.
Use this time to extend your social outreach, widen your existing network, and reach new ones. Put a focus on the safety and cleaning measures of your hotel or attraction and clearly communicate your updated cancellation, payment and refund policies to make guests feel comfortable booking with you.
It is important to remain sensitive to the current environment, and maintain a positive image of your brand. A content strategy that focuses more on providing useful tips or resources, sharing brand stories, providing virtual experiences, or simply engaging with travelers will prove much more effective than trying to sell your hotel rooms or attraction services. The desire to travel will never go away, and keeping the dream alive in your customers’ minds will inspire visits to your business once things start returning to normal.
There has been a huge impact on digital marketing spend across all channels for travel. One of the key outcomes has been a reduction in bids for advertising space from the market leaders, including a drop in spend from OTAs, resulting in much wider availability. This provides an opportunity for hotels and attractions with a slightly smaller budget to take advantage of the increased availability, improving visibility on Facebook and Instagram, gaining a greater market share for a lower cost.
If your brand is not there, another one will be. So, now more than ever, it’s essential to do more than just post or boost content on your social business pages. Sojern’s Facebook and Instagram solution uses Trip Consideration to help identify or prospect new travelers within the Facebook and Instagram ecosystem, and influence them to go directly to your website. Custom Audiences can also be used to retarget or remarket to an audience who already know your business, and have previously visited your website.
Sojern’s machine learning technology, coupled with our experts constantly optimizing your campaigns, gives you access to the same technology the major players have. You can monitor your brand’s website activity and social engagements 24/7 in your online Sojern account. With the support of free, multi-language ad creation and a dedicated Customer Success Manager, Sojern can build the most appropriate and effective Facebook and Instagram campaign that fits within your budget. Our robust selection of 350 million traveler profiles allows us to target travelers along each stage of their path to purchase and influence them to learn more about your business. This provides us with unique market insights into where people are still searching to travel, and can be used to help guide marketing strategies in the recovery phase of this pandemic.
Get in touch to find out more about our Facebook and Instagram offering and how you can get started.