Most recently, social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have been growing as top-runners in the social media scene. And according to Adam Leposa of HotelManagement.net, these visual-dominated apps give hoteliers an opportunity to develop their online reputations by showing off their products in pictures.
One big (and important) aspect of a guest’s hotel experience is the look of the hotel, which gives hotel operators a big opportunity to delve into visual marketing. “A lot of consumers are very visually driven,” said Kristen Poillon, director of marketing at HotelMe, an online review business affiliated with USA Today. “It’s becoming more prevalent; even on sites like Facebook, you’ve started to see a whole shift in the types of content that people are sharing—less text and more photos is the direction that a lot of these sites are headed toward.”
However, Leposa says that hoteliers looking to take advantage of these visual marketing opportunities should be aware that marketing on Instagram and Pinterest poses very difficult challenges than more traditional channels. “The main thing is that it’s really to tell a visual story, and not do a blatant promotion,” Julie Squires, CEO of Softscribe said. “It should be about your guests, not so much what you want to tell your guests. It should be about what your guests want to hear.”
“They might never come to your property but they’ll share that and share [this], and that helps from a reputation-management perspective, but not in a monitoring way, but creating a positive experience,” Tim Peter, managing director of Tim Peter and Associates, a web-marketing consultancy.
Fortunately, hoteliers aren’t the only ones to deliver the best content—one of the best ways to build a hotel’s visual reputation is to make sure guests can get involved as well. Building a sense of community can help hoteliers move away from damage control and work toward more positive aspects of marketing—giving them an opportunity to really engage customers.
“Look for people who are talking about you, your competitors, what they have to say, …what they’re pinning. Then, start to think about engaging with folks either by repinning their materials or sharing materials with them,” said Peter.
When it comes to tracking a hotel’s online reputation on these visual marketing platforms, it can prove a bit challenging. Some monitoring tools for these image-heavy sites are available to monitor image quality and others to monitor text and hashtags, but Leposa writes that the processes aren’t very sophisticated yet. “You have to rely more on the links going out than the text,” Poillon said.
When it all comes down to it, marketers do advise one technique for hoteliers to track their online reputation on photo-sharing sites: “Let the good overpower the not-so-good.”
To read Leposa’s entire article, visit HotelManagement.net.