How to Grow Your Loyalty Through Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

November 6th, 2018 Lisa Livingston Hospitality Trends, Marketing

It’s true that if a customer has a negative experience, they will tell everyone that their experience was less than desirable. It’s also true that if a customer has a positive experience, they will tell ten friends. Social Media amplifies this at least 10 fold! Let’s focus on the positive experience for a second: What would you say if I told you that you can increase the amount of positive critiques you receive through word-of-mouth advertising?

According to Invespcro.com word-of-mouth advertising is linked to five times more conversions than conventional paid advertising, and people are 90% more likely to buy based on a friend’s recommendation.

That’s a pretty hefty percentage, wouldn’t you say? To demonstrate; ABC News wrote an article on the average number of friends we have on social media.  The results are astounding: While the number of friends ranges from 100-1000 the limit of “real friends” we have on social media is 150 per person. Think about that:  If you posted a positive experience on social media, at least 150 people would see it.   That’s huge when you’re trying to increase the reach of your social media marketing efforts.  

Social media is influencing users to check out your property based on location, amenities, reviews, and prior guest feedback . That’s why leveraging social media to promote your property is so effective. Let’s look at some ways that you can use social media to start your own word-of-mouth marketing.  

Testimonials:  

Guest testimonials are crucial to the success of your social media marketing footprint. By adding testimonials to your booking engine, you let prospective guests know what your guests had to say about your property, staff and experience. Don’t limit yourself to listing testimonials on your booking engine only. Ask guests to leave feedback on your Facebook page. Believe it or not, guests want you to showcase their experiences.  

User Generated Content:  

While user generated content is a relatively new concept, the idea behind it is as old as time.  Recommendations from guests are valuable! When a former guest has something positive to say about your property, it creates authenticity. Images shared by guests on platforms like Flip.to add to that authenticity by showcasing incredible views, or smiling faces.  

Social Media Influencer:

You might be asking yourself, what is a Social Media Influencer (SMI). A SMI is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry that has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach. SMI’s can have a huge impact on your property/brand. If your property is in a desirable location, you may have already been contacted directly about their services. Actually, some hoteliers blog about being inundated with requests from SMI’s to promote their property in exchange for a free stay. It can be very overwhelming to try and manage the whole process of working with Influencers. From sifting through the requests and truly measuring engagement it can be difficult to know who to trust and engage with. You can go it alone, or work with a professional marketing company like SWAYY that specializes in managing online influencers for the hospitality industry.

Ratings Matter: 

Your property’s ratings are your calling card. If you have great ratings on TripAdvisor or other platforms don’t be afraid to share them. Check out this article from TripAdvisor on how your property’s reviews are ranked. Since great reviews given recently help prospective guests build confidence about your property quickly, it goes without saying- ratings DO matter! Also, when a guest leaves feedback, be sure to respond to that feedback (good, bad, or indifferent). By responding, you are telling your guests (prospective and past) that you value their opinions.  

To Summarize: 

Marketing to prospective guests doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With the use of user generated content, it is easy to entice potential guests without breaking the bank.  By adding user generated content, ratings, testimonials and Social Media Influencers to your website or third-party platforms, you’re certain to turn guests into loyal family members.