As the new year has just started I decided to share my thoughts on the trends we’ll see in hospitality social media in 2018. This list is based upon the many articles I’ve read online, videos I’ve seen and so on. Some of them are not specifically about hospitality but I’ve taken out the aspects which should be taken into consideration for hospitality brands. If you want to read and/or see the articles I’m talking about, please check the further reading list at the bottom.
1: More personalized communication
Travelers want personal communication. We’ve seen this already happening in 2017. Small personal notes can boost someone’s experience at your hotel. In 2018, we’ll see an increase personalized communication. Think about chatbots that get to know a customer. They can give the customer personal reminders (Don’t forget your toothbrush! Bring your bathing suit to our beautiful pool) or enhance their stay/visit through personal upgrades (We know you’re going to stay in a double room. Do you want to upgrade to a kingsize bed instead of a queen’s?).
All this could happen through Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp – probably depending on your location and which messaging service is most used. There are more and more companies experimenting with these messengers and it seems to work. A good example is KLM (Dutch airline) which sends boarding passes and flight updates through Facebook Messenger. Why not do the same for your ho(s)tel or restaurant visitors?
Creating a chatbot is not that difficult. I plan on creating a post about this January 2018. To make sure you get notified when this post goes online, make sure you are part of the Tremento Tribe.
- Examine if your guests would like personal reminders and messages
- Find out what the best service would be to do so (Facebook?)
- What information could you give your guests?
- Write down that information
2: Live streams
Live streams have gained a lot of popularity in 2017 and will continue to grow in 2018. It’s now easier than ever to go online and create a livestream. Many platforms offer you the opportunity to do so without much effort. Especially Instagram and Facebook seem to be where it’s at. Which one works better depends on your target audience. Your hospitality brand can make extremely good use of this trend. Talk with your employees and arrange a moment to bring the livestream into the kitchen.
You could film your chef explaining how to make your restaurant’s most popular sauce, or ‘vlog’ about the hustle and bustle, just show the fans back home what’s in the different pans. Of course I’d advise to only do so if your staff’s okay with it and if you make sure you’re not in their way – and if the kitchen looks clean, obviously. Another option would be to live stream your bartender making some cocktails, or your cleaning staff dancing to their favorite song. Get creative and make live streams a weekly thing on your social media channels.
I am going to create separate posts soon about how you can use live streams on social media for your hotel, hostel, restaurant or café. To be notified when these posts come online, make sure you are part of the Tremento Tribe.
- Pick a platform: where are your customers? Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube?
- Get yourself a good quality phone and if possible even a little mic.
- Make a list of things you could live stream (see some ideas in the description above)
- Explain your staff what you’re going to do, where it will be published and when
- Go live!
3: Long format content
From number 2 we roll into number 3: there will be more long format content. The popularity of shows on Netflix shows us how much people love watching series. Branded content could be a great way for your hospitality business to stand out of the crowd. What about a little series on your staff members? Or maybe you can employ a local ‘vlogger’ to show your (potential) visitors what they can do in the neighborhood. Or make a funny little series about people visiting your restaurant and use your staff members as actors. There are lots of opportunities out there.
One big tip would be to employ interns, local schools or influencers. Depending on your budget those first two might be a great idea. You could involve a local high school and give the teens the assignment for their art class to make a ‘serie’ of 3 5-minute clips about your hotel/restaurant. Schedule one or two days for them to do so and reward the best group with a free dinner. You’ll be surprised at what many teenagers nowadays are able to produce + your local community will appreciate you.
- Long format branded content might just work better than another commercial
- Try to tell a story instead of just your brand’s message
- Create a list with different ideas for videos
- Employ staff members, local schools, interns, influencers
4: Augmented Reality
There’s no way I could leave augmented reality off this list. Augmented Reality might still seem something you don’t have to think about, something that ‘will happen in the future’, but the truth is the opposite. Remember last year when everybody was hooked to their telephone screens looking for Pokémon? That’s right, that’s already 1.5 years ago. Technology is evolving rapidly and so is augmented reality. Augmented Reality is expected to go fully mainstream in 2018 and you better be prepared.
Wonder what AR in hospitality could be like? Well imagine this: a guest is booking a room at your hotel through your website. At one step in the booking process they can pick what kind of view they’d like. They take out their phone, which is linked to your website or your hotel’s app, point their camera at their own window and by doing so they’ll see what the view would look like on their screen. They can go stand in front of their window, move their phone around and see the view at different angles. Maybe they can even navigate through different views: “swipe left for an ocean view, swipe right for a skyline view” and so on.
With this new wave of technology, the booking process of hotels and travel experience in general is bound to change. To make sure you know what’s going on, watch the next video.
- Be ready for change
- Stay up to date on what the travel industry is doing with Augmented Reality
- Try the technology yourself, immerse yourself. It’s the best way to understand how it works
Influencer marketing has become grown-up in 2017. It’s a widely used marketing tool and frankly the power of influencer marketing is changing. Where influencer marketing first was a real big thing because ‘influencers are the ones we can trust’, we now start to not-trust them. Customers know that influencers often promote products because they’re being paid to do so. Instead, the power is shifting from big influencers to smaller ones. And that’s a good thing for most hospitality brands.
Smaller influencers are more niche-specific and they are much less expensive. Find people with power within your target audience that have an active following of about 2000-8000 people and you will see significantly more results than when you’re spending a whole lot of money on somebody with 50.000+ followers (with only 0,5% of them being active). Even better: you’re probably able to afford yourself 5 micro-influencers with the same budget as you’d have to spend on the ‘big influencer’. More reach and success guaranteed!
“A micro-influencer is someone with a smaller, more intimate following.”
- Make a clear description of your target audience
- Find people with an active following of about 2000-8000 fans
- Invite them to visit your property or restaurant in exchange for a free stay/meal
- If possible: mix trend no. 2 with this and livestream a part of their visit, or ask them to livestream their visit themselves
Enough trends to keep an eye on. There’s so much going on, but most of the big advances in technology will stay out of the hospitality business for just a little longer. However, it’s important to stay up to date. I hope this little list sparks your creativity for your social media channels in 2018. If there’s only one thing you can do, then I’d recommend the livestreams. I will soon publish a post that explains how to use livestreams for your social media. If you want to be notified when this post comes online, make sure to become a member of the Tremento Tribe.