The hospitality world is an industry definitely affected by innovation and technology. It'd be stupid for a hotel, hostel or any hospitality related brand to ignore trends within content marketing and social media. With new technologies constantly on the rise and certain innovations going mainstream in 2018 it’d be a waste not to adapt to these trends in whatever way is possible for you.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
One of the things that is definitely on the rise is augmented and virtual reality. To many these technologies still sound too-crazy-to-use, but are they really? I think it’s essential to look at these technologies and to see what would be possible within your own reach and budget in terms of putting AR and VR to use. If your target audience are Millennials, then you should know they are ready for it but don’t demand full HD VR films or AR apps – small tweaks and twists can make the difference. Like a simple AR addition to a leaflet or brochure. Or to the menu. It could be as easy as that.
Something that has gained lots of popularity since it’s introduction in 2016 are Instagram Stories. They’ve grown to be bigger than SnapChat and especially Millennials are extremely engaged in them. Instagram Stories are very easy to create, even on the go, and give people the feeling they can be with you right in the moment. The different engagement options within Instagram Stories make it an even more useful tool. Some interesting things within Instagram that were introduced lately are:
- The option to follow # hashtags, you could for example follow every post that has been tagged with #yourhotel
- Recommended posts. This is a new marketing thingy that Instagram is testing. It means that Instagram’s algorithms might start to show you content that your friends have liked, or content they think you’ll be interested in.
- You can now use GIFs in your stories
- You can save your stories, so people can enjoy them forever. This is quite nice when creating specific guides for, for example, your hotel or hostel's neighborhood. Or a behind-the-scenes of your restaurant.
Another trend within content marketing is, of course, influencer marketing. However we need to be careful here. The big influencers are losing trust and ground whereas small influencers are winning. The ones with less followers but more engagement. It is therefore important to look at influencers that are related to your target audience (and location) and establish lasting relationships where possible.
Live Streams as Content
Then a super cool trend to watch which offers tons of availabilities to hospitality brands is live streaming. Live streaming is still at an early stage and there’s lots to be experimented with and to discover regarding this trend. Live streams are a highly engaging tool to capture the attention of (potential) followers. They give followers the opportunity to be with your brand right in the moment where at the same time they are an easy way to generate content that can also be used later on: live streams are not gone the moment the stream ends. You can host the exact same video file on your website, or cut it into pieces to create an interesting recap video for whichever channel is preferable for your audience.
What you could do? Well, you could show people around your property in a livestream, or give them the opportunity to experience an event that’s happening in your lobby/restaurant/garden/[fill in the blank]. You could show the hidden spots in your building, places for people to work, introduce guests to your property's pet or the staff. Show how you make your delicious smoothies, cocktails or coffees. Let them ‘have breakfast with you’. There are lots of options. Categorize ideas, make lists. This will help you to create.
According to an article written by Screenpilot (2017), “brands that ultimately win at live streaming, as predicted in digital intelligence firm L2’s Intelligence Report: Social Platforms 2017, will be those that use live video to appeal to Millennials who crave interactive, real-time, and reality content.” We already know that Millennials like authentic and real content and seem to dislike any commercially-styled videos (that feel like ads). Live streams are ‘as real as they can get’: they’re not edited before they’re uploaded, no, they are right there. You know, as a viewer, that what you’re watching is ‘the real deal’. Or at least it will feel like that.
Where AR and VR ask for budget and time, live streams are easy to conduct and can be produced by pretty much anyone. There are two interesting case studies regarding live streaming within the travel industry that you could also take a look at: the Seize the Holiday campaign by Virgin, which used live streaming, and the livestreams AirBnB did through Twitter (they used 360 degree cameras).
Millennials are known to be fast-paced, digital natives. The way they consume content is different then 50-year-olds but also different than Generation Z. However, they are the biggest generation right now and likely to be the most traveling and spending-on-travel ones out there. I've been doing a deep-dive into this subject (Millennial travel and content consumption) lately. There will be more posted on the blog soon, under which part 2 of this post. If you want to stay updated on this, I recommend you to become a member of the 100% free Tremento Tribe. Just click here.
Did you enjoy this post? Then please let me know in the comments. Feel free to share your thoughts and if you come across any inspiring examples from hotels or hostels creating content, please do share.
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