Magnetic marketing moves for hotels, as taps GuestCentric

Hotels are bombarded with opportunities to engage new and current guests across channels. However, one area that hoteliers have trouble accessing is a guest’s network of friends and family.

While content marketers strive to portray a property with engaging content that ends up being shared by followers, the reality of the evolving social media landscape is that attention is increasingly reserved for those who pay to play. has extended its link-up with digital marketing platform GuestCentric, naming it a preferred partner in the hotel marketing vertical. This brings into the robust GuestCentric ecosystem, which has hundreds of existing integrations for hotels to tie together a single-source marketing solution.

What’s unique here is the way that approaches marketing unlike other “social media marketing” solutions for hotels.

The company has carved out a niche of “magnetic marketing” that incentivizes guests via stay discounts to share pre- and post-stay content with their networks, creating brand advocates with less friction than traditional “leave a review” or “tell a friend” entreaties.

This suite of tools makes for a powerful force in social marketing and revenue optimization. If every guest brings in another guest, then the cost of acquiring a customer effectively halves.

In this excellent analysis by Hudson Crossing’s Max Rayner, demand generation is also taking the center stage within a hotel’s operational ecosystem. guestcentric

This shift means that all avenues to generate demand must be considered — especially as the costs of acquiring customers are exceeding net RevPAR. So even as RevPAR increases, actual net revenue per available room is dropping (as PPC costs exceed any rise in room rates).

Given the trajectory of customer acquisition costs, more resources will be allocated to increasing the lifetime value of existing customers.

This means that CRM and loyalty will move to the forefront, with channel management and SEM becoming a smaller part of the overall mix given the higher costs — a necessary evil that must be tolerated but not further encouraged.

One of the more traditional means of increasing exposure to new customers involves encouraging more guest submissions on review platforms. Many chains, such as Starwood, have integrated on-site reviews, after having realized the power of social proof.

TripAdvisor has its own ReviewExpress widget to help hoteliers garner more post-stay reviews, while other vendors such as Revinate create robust post-stay surveys that offer a dual-pronged value of feedback and potential social sharing.

Focusing on post-stay communications can have real results: for those hotels using its post-stay survey tool, Revinate reports an average review increase of 409 percent. And with review frequency and freshness impacting ranking and placement on review sites, there is a real impact on hotel visibility.

Magnetic marketing has one key advantage: it focuses on social proof from a person’s known network rather than a person’s public broadcast.

Sure, TripAdvisor connects to Facebook so users can sort reviews only from those they know. Yet the relative pull of providing incentives to a smaller group of people is far different than publishing a review for the whole world to see.

Sentimental content also becomes an essential part of this magnetic marketing approach, as hotels can harness the guest experience as guests share their favorite moments via photos.

The entire experience is centered around sharing the special feelings surrounding the vacation, developing emotional attachments to the hotel by people who haven’t yet stayed there — and making those potential guests envisage what it would be like to say there.

This focus on emotion is how this sector of the hotel marketing industry is differentiating itself from even the most up-to-date post-stay survey. By taking user-generated content beyond the review, hotel marketing becomes more personable and less noisy.

EARLIER: Everything you need to know about Demand Generation for hotels

RELATED: Loyalty in travel isn’t dead – it’s evolving and it’s personal

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Nick Vivion

About the Writer :: Nick Vivion

Nick helps brands blog better at Ghost Works, a boutique blog management service. Nick was previously the Director of Content for tnooz, where he oversaw the editorial and commercial content as well as producing/hosting tnoozLIVE.



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