Donnet Bruce

Travel brands turn to social media for added exposure


Many of us are constantly plugged into multiple social networking outlets. Although social media is evolving, I feel like a "late bloomer." There are so many tools and strategies to learn when it comes to online marketing. In addition to social media platforms, additional trends that include: location based-marketing, video platforms, text campaigns, word press-based websites, review sites, plug-ins, and so much more. My first social media encounters allowed me to discover interesting connections between new media and the brands that I adore. My keen professional and personal interests revolves around the hospitality, food, beverage, wellness and lifestyle industries. Today, travel brands are reaching consumers worldwide by utilizing popular social media sites. I'll touch on a few opportunities that have assisted resorts, spas, and other hospitality entities increase their revenue. “Facebook alone accounts for 12.3% of all consumer time on the Internet,” says L2 Think Tank. In 2001, the 10 most-visited sites online accounted for 31% of US page views, in 2006 it was 40% – now it’s 75%, which suggests the medium and long-tail of the web is decreasing in importance, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Travel report. During the first-quarter 2011 measurement period, travel brand Facebook communities grew an average of 20%. Facebook allows companies to target specific groups of customers. One of the most popular social media websites is Facebook, with about 500 million active members—145 million are in the Unites States. In order to reach a large number of people, hotels create Facebook pages that contain:

• Photos

• Updates

• Activities

• Services

• Employee engagement

Here is an example of how the Nu Hotel in Brooklyn updates their recent and prospective guests.

Blogger conferences and retreats have become another popular trend in the hospitality industry. These influential retreats initiates a dialogue between bloggers and online visitors that may have known about a particular resort. For example, in January, the Snow Mamas blog featured five to six mommy bloggers who wrote about their ski trips. Each mommy blogger provided tips on dining, budget, lodging, and ski gear for the whole family. Check out the video here Mommy Blogger Retreat.

The voice of travelers are more important than ever. As social media shapes businesses, I look forward to innovative changes that continue to involve consumers. Today, many travel brands are being controlled by a consumers, their lifestyle, engagement, and social media. It's inevitable. I wouldn't suggest that resorts should only rely on social media, but online engagement should be a major component in the overall marketing strategy.