Ms. Sandoval Valdes

Sales & Marketing

The Power of Content Marketing, Viral Videos, and Social Platforms

By Brenda Sandoval Valdes, Associate Partner, LINKS WorldGroup

Savvy hotels now seek sleeker and smarter ways to attain brand loyalty among current and potential customers, according to the leading communications and marketing agency, LINKS WorldGroup. Today's technological innovations create almost limitless ways to share information and engage with the public. Combining this ability with age-old corporate social responsibility initiatives and actions allows for the opportunity to allow customers to feel they are supporting important causes, while simultaneously creating loyalty to brands.

Customer surveys have confirmed that international hotel groups and major names who give back to the community which their property is in, care for the environment with green practices, and implement process and investments that go beyond mere profit, are ultimately more admired through the eyes of customers. Companies must also take into account that today's modern consumer has limitless access to information and is incredibly savvy. This is a key factor for hotels that wish to create long-term brand leverage, as they are able to highlight their role in community development through smart social media presence and content marketing.

According to a recent survey, 75% of respondents revealed that they felt organizations weren't doing enough to increase brand loyalty. While some may argue that sponsored content is not the best way to go about public relations for CSR, there is data to show that in such cases sponsored content is not perceived as advertising. It is still important to identify such content clearly and gain trust for being transparent.

Social media is a platform that is attracting major attention for its ability to bring companies closer to consumers. Buzzwords such as sentiments, engaging content, viral, reach, influencers, quick interaction, feedback, complaint resolution, and regular stream of content can build positive rapport when implemented correctly. Companies in travel have a lot to gain from trust built on social media. It is always, however, important to remember that consumers want to engage with corporations, and companies should use this platform to speak with rather than pander to customers or simply advertise their initiatives. Customers can quickly see this as companies simply wanting to 'do good' for the sake of their bottom line. That is why smart and clever content marketing is key.

It is also possible to measure and quantify the results of social media activities and keep track of how successful any campaign or activity is. It is important for hotel executives to implement strategic marketing consultancy to engage in and track social media initiatives. Through an organized process of content creation for social media and other content marketing efforts that includes research, analysis, data collection, organization, writing, and editing of blogs, newsletters, press releases, brochures and overall collateral, LINKS provides an in-depth approach that results in powerful content for hotel clients. The end goal, LINKS says, is to build long relationships between hotels and their audience through a strategic communication process. This translates into creative and adaptable ways to reach the target audience.

This explosion in content over the last decade has resulted in hotel marketers waxing eloquent on how best to sell content and how to best deliver that all-important message. Quality content has always been important in the travel and hospitality industry, but now it is more essential than ever. Marketers must focus on providing travelers with relevant and share-worthy social media posts and engaging articles. This is a key opportunity to build hotel brands through insightful compelling content and smart delivery. By having consumers share to their own networks and creating traffic through outside sites, the possibilities to reach international feeder markets are wonderfully cost-effective and much more impactful than traditional print advertising.

"While content delivered can take a wide variety of forms - from customer stories to fictional set ups, one should keep in mind that we are doing this to market properties so that consumers can make the best decision. Content marketing strategies should not therefore shy away from selling," says Brenda Sandoval of LINKS WorldGroup.

A key component in content marketing is the plethora of online social media platforms available today. A common mistake that hotels make when trying to engage consumers online is simply trying to cold sell their property. Today's consumers are way too smart to engage in this and they have far too many options to waste their time. Instead, companies should use these platforms to position their hotel as a leader in the industry, to create a want for the experience their hotel provides and turn their properties into brands. Understanding how to effectively convey these messages are key in increasing occupancy and creating a return on investment.

Delivering an impactful headline is key in capturing busy online readers, who are inundated with endless streams of information, and failing to do so can be a fatal marketing mistake. Content creators must ensure that their headline is engaging enough to get that all-important 'click-through,' with the body of the content also structured smartly enough for the new age and always-on-the-go reader. There are ample techniques of content structuring available today that can make blogs, articles and marketing material readable from several points of views.

New sales and marketing horizons are always opening up, and the last few years have seen the rise of new ways to connect and influence. Online videos have become today's addiction of choice for many, with some consumer spending their days watching one video after another. And content marketers couldn't have asked for a better, more powerful medium to hook their audiences. Videos derive their appeal from the power of visuals, words and a personal presence that is hard to achieve with other mediums. The figures for video marketing are astounding, with one survey revealing an average watch time of 5.5 hours every day per consumer. In this mass appeal, videos have taken over blogs, infographics and other marketing material by a great distance. The sales figures support the effectiveness of video marketing ad advertising, with data showing a jump in sales when videos are included.

Every day, social media sites report between 6-8 billion video views. Therefore, it's no wonder every other business today aspires to create that one 'viral video'. For 2018, companies should expect and plan for greater refinement and improvement in production and marketing of videos. The following three issues will gain limelight in the year 2018:
Firstly, the autoplay feature has been slightly contentious among advertisers owing to unique consumer preferences. Some like to watch one video after another, while other consumers are discreet and wish to have better control over what they watch.

Secondly, native video is not to be discarded. In fact, it is seen as a better alternative to hosting videos on social networking sites due to various reasons. It is easier to gather detailed statistics from one's own website or server, and the video itself can be presented and marketed smarter. One should expect a rise in native video hosting as well. Lastly, the share of video streaming in total data consumed online will increase even further from the current 75+ percent to over 80 percent. Video marketing must therefore be a major component of marketing efforts for all industries, be it manufacturing, real estate, travel or consumer goods.

"The rise of the video is amazing, and we expect its march to continue in the coming years. Businesses in travel and hospitality should consider more refined strategies for delivering video content to their audience and customers," says Brenda.

Brenda Sandoval Valdes is a well¬rounded Executive with over ten years of experience in marketing, media, advertising, public relations and strategic planning. She is Associate Partner at LINKS WorldGroup, and her responsibilities include managing and overseeing the marketing and public relations departments that is spread among several markets. She plays a key role in maintaining strong relationships both with media as well as with clients. Ms. Sandoval Valdes specialties include developing strategies, creating strategic media placement programs that are tailored to each client’s need and always striving to maximize budgets and exposure reach within clients’ allotted budget. Ms. Sandoval Valdes can be contacted at 786-360-3514 or Brenda@Linksworldgroup.com Please visit http://linksworldgroup.com for more information. Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
General Search:

NOVEMBER: Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive

Brian Obie

When people arrive at a hotel they have usually traveled a long distance. They are typically tired and stressed to some degree or another depending on how easy or difficult the journey. When they finally come into our driveway and understand this is where they should be – with the valet right there ready to greet them – they get the sense that they can finally relax. There’s a huge sense of relief. They now can begin their business trip or holiday with the family knowing they will be rested and renewed. READ MORE

Rob Uhrin

When you think of the word resort, what comes to mind? Upscale amenities such as white sandy beaches, luxury pools, first class dining and entertainment and the ultimate spa experience to name a few. The word “resort” probably does not conjure up images of urban cityscapes, or streets filled with busy pedestrians in business suits. There is a new class of resorts coming to the fore in the hospitality industry right now called urban resorts. This article will explore this new type of transformational city design and how to achieve it. READ MORE

Vince  Stroop

In a time when experiences are moments-long and shared over Instagram by many users, it is hard to top the surprise factor when it comes to creating a new destination. Nor should we, as hotel designers, try. With the pace of changing trends that is being communicated to us by branding agencies, designing the next new thing can be tempting. But I am not sure that’s what guests genuinely seek. And judging from the rise of Airbnb, I may be right on my guess that guests want memorable, meaningful experiences, not more selfies. READ MORE

Michael Tall

An urban resort is a property that connects guests to the unique and vibrant elements within a city and outside the hotel. The hotel itself acts as a concierge service, forming a direct link between the local community and those guests who crave localized and authentic excursions. With no signs of slowing down, the urban resort trend is here to stay, and hoteliers can successfully capitalize on this growing segment by keeping the guest experience in mind. At its core, an urban resort is a respite from daily life, offering guests the freedom to choose between relaxed disconnection or active participation within the local community. READ MORE

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.