Kids may be dragging their feet as they begin a new year at school, but for hotel social media experts, this is a time to celebrate. Between the school supplies and the clothing sales, back-to-school season is one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year for families and hotels as well. Many families are looking for one last hurrah before the summer comes to a close, so it’s the perfect season for hoteliers to amp up their social media campaigns and discounts.
Here’s a lesson today to help your hotel see a big payoff before the school year is in full swing:
Flaunt Your Hotel’s Features and Discounts
Nearly every hotel has at least one feature that makes them perfect for a last-minute summer family vacation, but the key is to know what it is and how to market it on social media. This is your hotel’s unique selling point (USP) and what sets your hotel apart from the others.
Whether it’s a luxurious pool, private beach access, or another family-friendly activity that’s available at your hotel, entice families by showing why your hotel can offer a better summer family adventure than most. If you’re close to an amusement park or a local attraction, promote a package on social media that offers discounted admission or transportation if they book with you.
If you have specific hotel features that tend to be more popular in the summer—such as a pool, golf course, or rooftop bar—post bright and sunny pictures of these amenities. Arizona Grand Resort, for example, capitalizes on the fact that Arizona summers are warm and long, and the resort has its very own waterpark. Summarize your content by sharing ideas of how families can get outside and soak up some sunshine at your hotel before fall settles in.
Image courtesy of http://www.arizonagrandresort.com/
Support a Charitable Cause
There’s never an off-season for charity, but getting your hotel involved in a charitable cause related to the back-to-school season is particularly beneficial. Loews Hotels & Resorts, for example, partnered with DonorsChoose.org to donate money to public schools for various projects, and their social channels were flooded with promotion for this campaign. The audience, especially families, jumped on board and showed their support through shares, likes, and lots of engagement overall. The key isn’t just to get potential guests to take a last-minute family vacation—it’s to encourage brand loyalty and to show that your hotel supports a cause that they strongly believe in.
Image courtesy of http://www.loewshotels.com/
Make Your Campaign Tech-Friendly
Having a mobile-friendly campaign is crucial for success regardless of the time of year, especially now that the majority of shopping is taking place via mobile devices. According to Social Media Today, 40 to 50 percent of moms purchased books, electronics, and apparel from a tablet, and it’s probably safe to assume that they’ll look into travel purchases the same way, too.
Know which platforms will showcase the best of your hotel, and branch out your back-to-school campaign to smartphone and tablet apps such as Instagram. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and you want your message to be in front of as many back-to-school bargain browsers as possible.
Red Lion Hotels, for example, used a “RedicoveRED” slogan as the official hashtag for followers to enter a summer Instagram contest to win four free nights at one of their hotels. Younger audiences are more plugged in than ever before, and this is the perfect example of a social media campaign that targets those who rely heavily on their mobile devices. The power of a hashtag, a retweet, or any other feature that allows your followers to interact should never be underestimated.
Image courtesy of http://www.redlion.com/
Hoteliers, do your research on what kinds of bargains families are hunting for this season, use your social media channels to tug on some heartstrings and get mobile. Back-to-school season is officially in full swing, so now’s the time to do your homework and reap the rewards.
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Natalie Athanasiadis is a PR and digital marketing guru assisting hotels including Laguna Cliffs Inn with their digital marketing. When she is not scouring for the newest social media trends you can find her playing with her dog Devito or feeding her online shopping addiction. Get social with her on Twitter @natalieathana.
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