While will likely see this change again once the crisis is over, transformative events like this have had lasting effects on our behaviors. For example, Facebook’s growth started to multiply after the 2008 financial crisis (5x growth from 2007 to 2009 according to Statista). On the other side of Covid-19 we will still visit our favorite shops, restaurants, and resorts—especially once we are able to safely step out again. However, we will be planning, sharing, and experiencing these adventures in a more connected way. More than ever we will be looking for those social cues from our friends, families and influencers. According to BCV Social, inquiries into hotels’ services via Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct increased by 80% in May, 2020. People are starting to plan trips not just by surveying the travel landscape but by asking specific questions about their intended destination.
Marketers need to rethink the way they leverage social media in engaging their communities. The content that worked before may not work in the post-COVID-19 era. Here are three key topics to help hotels connect with travelers in the post-COVID 19 world.
Health and Safety Are Foundational Elements
Travelers need to feel safe. One of the most important aspects that will restrict room booking is a feeling of a lack of ‘hygiene and cleanliness’ measures taken by a hotel. Many hotels are now implementing contact-less services, securing third-party hygiene certifications, and applying social distancing measures as per the guidelines issued by the WHO, the national government, and the local authorities. Additionally, many hotels are forming partnerships with hospitals and healthcare companies. Social media managers will have to cover the entire spectrum of safety content on their calendar. Ensuring they cover physical safety in addition to the emotional aspects of feeling safe. About 70% of consumers turn to social media for customer service needs. It is crucial for social media managers to have an empathetic response ready with clear objectives such as ‘listen’, ‘appreciate’ and ‘resolve’. These are foundational elements that travelers need to hear to feel comfortable with picturing their travel at the property.
Inspiration Is Still The Key Travel Driver
More than ever we are thinking about getting out. We are picturing that amazing spa, resort, pool, lounge, bar, or whatever motivates people to get out and come together for new places and experiences. While health and safety are foundational elements, the amazing experience and amenities are the motivating elements. Do not shy away from celebrating the things we need now more than ever.
Celebrate User-generated Content
Celebrate users content and experiences. Be authentic, respectful and appreciative of them sharing their story. For example, encourage people to share about their last road trip, staycation, or other travel memory, which you can then feature on your social media platforms. Over 60% of people rely on reviews and recommendations to make informed buying decisions, according to Podium, a cloud-based company that provides interaction management tools to businesses. This will likely increase as people seek confirmation that properties are ready for them. Therefore, treat early travelers as brand ambassadors. Help them understand how important they are and how great of an experience they will have. Over-communicate with them as they will in-turn share their experience to all of us who are watching these early adventurers.
During the initial phase of the crisis, people turned to social media to stay connected with the outside world. Today, they are remembering past trips, planning for their first trip back out, and connecting with hotels to inquire about services, all through social media. Every social media engagement insight points to one thing: People will travel again. What matters now is how hotels engage with them, inspire them, and most importantly make them feel safe and confident about their stay at hotels.
About the Author
General Manager – BCV
Mark Skroch is the General Manager for BCV Social. Before this Mark served in leadership roles at Fusion92 and VSA Partners, where he served as SVP, client services and associate partner, client engagement, respectively. Previously, Mark held senior positions with leading agencies such as Energy BBDO, Digitas, Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson. As an entrepreneur, as well as a seasoned leader with over 20 years of experience, Mark has led and implemented integrated communication strategies across a variety of industries, from telecommunications to packaged goods, sports, retail, spirits, mobile devices, insurance, and financial institutions.