Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM, WOM marketing), differs from traditional Hotel Marketing, in that it is actively influenced or encouraged by organizations e.g. ‘seeding’ a message in a network, rewarding regular consumers to engage in WOM, employing WOM ‘ambassadors’.
Some of the key challenges for Hotel Marketers and Managers lay in obtaining key metrics from WOM. Today we have several tools that help us better identify improved metrics from WOM. And we can see this in correlations with effective incentives that stimulate WOM.
Data shows that WOM referrals, when acquired through strategic campaigns, have a strong impact on new customer acquisition.
- WOM has shown to improve marketing effectiveness with 54% (Marketshare)
- 84% of consumers reported always or sometimes taking action based on personal recommendations. 70% said they did the same of consumer opinion (Nielsen)
- WOM Influence 50% of purchase decisions (Khoros)
- The average value of a Facebook fan is certain consumer categories is $174 (Syncapse)
- 77% of brand conversations on social media are people looking for advice, information, or help. 18% were positive reviews of the brand (Mention)
- Customer trust their own stories, not your brand’s (Khoros)
- Superfans account for 10% of WOMM (Khoros)
The WOMM eco-system has been very complex. And most Hotel marketers have been more focused on collecting the data, connecting with a Social Community that will help them identify some of the new relevant data. And no doubt the four Ps of the Marketing Mix; Price, Product, Promotion, and Place are still crucial. Research and data in relationship with these four Ps are within most Hotels’ comfort zone.
WOMM adds three new elements to the Marketing Mix; Engage, Equip, and Empower.
- Engage – give your fans new values through storytelling
- Equip – give consumers reasons to talk about your brand
- Empower – give consumers and employees new ways to talk and share information
- Word-of-mouth marketing works. 89% of consumers believe that customer testimonials are the most effective content with 70% reviewing online customer reviews first when they consider a brand (Lithium)
You’re Not Integrating WOMM with Your Other Marketing Efforts
Are you guilty of trying out a variety of marketing tools without a real plan of action that ties your efforts together? WOMM is strengthened when you have your other marketing efforts in sync.
A comprehensive strategy that builds consistency in every marketing channel you use should include your Hotel website, direct mail pieces, deal-of-the-day promotions, social media, and public relations. Having a defined look and message is essential. (Kabbage)
To create a strategy, take some time, and write out what makes your business unique. Things to consider:
- Customer experience
- Scope of services
- Rewards and promotions
- Loyalty programs
- Reputation and reviews
- Product lines carried
Your brand message must include these details and be communicated consistently across each marketing channel. By doing so, you’re training your clients to share this information with others.
By providing great services along with a consistent message, you can begin to build a valuable team of brand ambassadors who will evangelize on your Hotel’s behalf. However, you have to meet them halfway by giving them the tools and incentives to want to share your business with others. By doing so, you will discover that WOM is the most powerful form of marketing just as it always has been. It just now requires a little more effort and attention than it once did. (Kabbage)
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