Sales funnels for hotels in social media
SMM is often underestimated. At first glance, it seems that creating a company image with the help of texts and images is a task for a schoolboy with average erudition. However, if you approach this issue with proper attention, SMM is able to dramatically increase sales, bring a new audience, and greatly improve other important business indicators.
Let’s look at content marketing in the context of sales funnels in social networks for the hotel business.
A sales funnel is a system that helps a company build high-quality communication with consumers. Such a study helps to better understand the desire of the consumer, his motives, problems and pains, the course of thought so that any objection at each stage can be followed by suitable action. Working with sales funnels helps you create content that is suitable for potential customers, and systematically lead them to purchases with the help of content.
What does it look like? The funnel is an inverted pyramid, where potential customers who have just met the organization are located in the upper wide level, and sales and subsequent additional sales are located on the lower, narrowest level.
The widest part of the funnel at the top is the search for new customers, and the next levels reflect the customer's way — up to the purchase. In the course of moving to the bottom of the pyramid, the significant part of the customers is eliminated.
Before the customer gets to the bottom and makes a purchase, he will go through the following stages: attention, interest, desire, and in the end will reach the action.
At each of these stages, a potential customer can find a reason to choose a different product/brand or refuse to buy at all, and the company's task is to bring as many customers as possible to the lower stage of the funnel- that is purchase.
- Attention — goal: attract the attention of as many people as possible and increase brand awareness
- Interest — goal: show that the product solves the client’s problem
- desire — Goal: persuade to make a purchase and resolve objections
- Action — Goal: provide good service and persuade to make the additional purchase and/or become a brand advocate
At the topmost level of the funnel is the “Attention " stage. Here, the main task of marketing is to attract the largest number of potential consumers to the content. An important point: it does not make sense to sell at this stage, because the potential customer has not yet formed a need and/or loyalty to the company.
At the first meeting of a potential client and your hotel, you need to impress the person. You need to differ favorably from the competitors in order to be remembered.
To become clear to the audience, you need to learn to speak the same language as them. To master the language of your audience, you should study their behavior, goals, tasks, pains, and problems well. Hotels of different classes will have different tasks when posting content, and perhaps a simple hotel without a bright USP needs more creative content than a luxurious five-star hotel, where all the advantages are already visible to the naked eye.
Content at the first stage consists of information about the company and services, presented in the most creative, beautiful, original, and tempting way, and key point - in a manner that is understandable to your target audience. For adult wealthy audience verified calm texts and glossy shots will be best, for young people, the most active audience of the social networks, - entertaining ironic content .will be more suitable.
For a hotel, you can choose the following content:
- Photo or video of the hotel facilities (exterior and interior), the restaurant interior and dishes, or other objects reflecting the USP of your hotel (this can be a unique view, an outstanding SPA area, etc.)
- For example, a person sees the content that there is a new menu in your restaurant, remembers that he is having a birthday soon, and starts to look closer at the information to make a final decision.
- Relevant memes and jokes embedded in the subject matter of your products/services. For example, a funny interpretation of some event: "Thinking of a great St. Valentine's present for your partner? Choose this staycation in Budapest!" The meme resonates with the audience, they subscribe and start "warming up” in the account before the purchase.
- Informational content that is close to the topic of your products (for hotels, of course, tourism). For example, you can post affiliate material and a contest with a popular influencer/ publicist/ photographer, etc. about what to do on the weekend in the city. Interested users will subscribe and start consuming the content until they are ready to buy.
Content at this level should be a kind of "showcase", where you hook the audience with your idea and a presentation that is close to it. A person may not have a real need (not going on a trip to your city/country, not looking for a place to spend a romantic weekend in their city, etc.), but after seeing this content, they should want to get this experience/ remember about such a need/ see the opportunity.
Creating a need — this is the goal pursued by the content at the first stage of the funnel. Therefore, there should be beautiful attractive photos that are interesting to a large number of people among the potential audience.
This stage of the funnel is aimed at the cold audience, and it can take up most of your company's content if there is a regular influx of new audiences into your accounts.
How to measure: the number of unique visitors, likes-comments-reposts of this type of content.
You have drawn attention to yourself, the audience did not leave, but stayed to observe what you can offer them. At this stage, the funnel has the task of arousing interest in potential customers.
You can tell how the company's services can help solve the client's problems. This stage of the funnel is also called warm-up. Describe your product in detail: what benefits it can bring to a potential buyer and how it can ease their pain.
What needs/pains can the hotel services solve for the client? Recreation, accommodation for events, banquets, filming, presentations, master classes, club meetings, tastings, etc. It's on the surface, but what do we actually see?
Recreation: spend time alone with yourself, take your child to the sea and feel like a good mother, recharge your batteries and have fun with your friends, then show off photos on social media — one service brings different needs. It is important to analyze the pain of customers in detail.
For example, a young couple wants to make preparations for their wedding at your hotel. You can pick this need, understand what the value of your services is, what you can offer. For example, a discount for those who want to save money, or a bottle of good champagne for those who dream of trying on luxurious life for at least one day, etc.
At this stage, the client decides who to choose — you or your competitor, they will evaluate, review and compare. At this point, it is very important to create such content that will convince the customer that they need only your products and services. It is still too early for direct advertising and sales, the buyer is still only looking closely, it is easy to scare him off with aggressive imposition.
The content at this stage is a detailed explanation, not an empty boast, but a demonstration of clear criteria, characteristics of the product/service.
Examples of content for a hotel at this stage of the funnel:
Content in the form of THESIS-PROOF
- Examples: "People choose us to relax and take a break from the rhythm of the big city." The content must prove it: HOW? For example: “You will have a nice rest from the city stress because we have free entrance to SPA area for all guests; relaxing practices-yoga and meditation-every morning in the gym”, etc.
- Offer the client detailed video reviews, product/service analysis in pieces, for example, you can show the details of one of the hotel rooms, and not just general glossy photos that are posted on the site.
A common mistake is to assume that the client will guess everything from the photo and a short abstract description. This is a common reason for losing customers. We consume a lot of content every day, including advertising, and there is an "advertising blindness".
A person becomes immune to offers and sales because this happens at every step online and offline. Do not neglect this factor, at the second stage of the funnel there are often gaps in communication with the audience.
How to measure: like-comment-repost on this content, more subscriptions after this type of content.
The audience got to know the company, understood what you are, and became interested in what you sell. The task of the next stage is to strengthen the buyer's desire to purchase your services, dispel doubts, and remove objections. Simply put, to convince that you are better than the competition. You can do this through reputation content-something that confirms your expertise and your services to consumers.
Reviews and photos of satisfied customers, your company's participation in competitions, awards, and prizes that confirm the level of your services, and a high degree of guests’ trust will work perfectly.
Examples of reputation content for a hotel:
- User-generated content (UGC) is a free advertisement for your hotel and proof that people chose you and trust you.
- Reviews. There are many sites that aggregate reviews and a million ways to creatively showcase them. You can offer customers to leave detailed feedback in the form of "problem-solution” for bonuses. For instance, you can offer a 50% discount on the room for newlyweds who celebrated their wedding for their wedding anniversary.
- Write about the contests and events you participate in. Your active social life is another proof of your success, they want to work with you, they respect you, and so you are a reputable and responsible player in the market.
- Show your team. It is easier to trust people than a soulless brand. Tell stories, the more convincingly you can humanize your business, the better fruit it will bear. When you share such (almost) personal information, the consumer's fear of the unknown decreases, because it is much easier to buy from a familiar person than from a name.
How to measure: like-comment-repost on this content, more subscriptions after this type of content, clicks on links
When a person has reached the final stage of the funnel, provide them with the highest quality service and additional motivation to buy right now, without delay. This additional motivation can be an action, a special offer, or a time limit. Don't be afraid to give discounts and bonuses to those who buy from you for the first time.
Travel for many is not an ordinary purchase, a person carefully chooses and weighs the options. If a guest chooses you and is satisfied with the quality of the service, they can turn into a brand advocate. The LTV of such a customer will grow, which should be the long-term goal of any hotel business.
The problem at this stage is the same as with the others to leave the client half a step away from the goal and think that they will understand everything themselves. Do not give a person a chance to follow the wrong links, get confused, and go to those competitors who will be more willing to help make a purchase.
The company task at this stage is to maximize the receipt, turn a one-time buyer into a regular client. Working with a customer who has bought at least once is much easier than running a new one through the entire funnel from top to bottom. Offer gifts and bonuses, do everything, and even more to make the person leave super-satisfied.
If you managed to exceed the expectations of the guest, he will not only return but also recommend you to his friends and acquaintances — this is how word of mouth works.
This is especially true for expensive services (vacation, trip, wedding organization), which have a long decision-making period, where the price of error is high.
Content of the final stage of the sales funnel for the hotel:
- To make a person buy right now, you need a final trigger. Promotion, special offer, auction, trial version, etc. — something that will make you act without delay.
- Don't be afraid to name prices, people value their time and the need to find out details outside of social networks is uncomfortable. At this stage, all information should be very clearly structured: offer → price → duration of the promotion → action.
- Create clear instructions: at the end of the message, clearly state what the client needs to do: register via the link, take a survey, make a phone call or write a personal message. One. Clear. Action!
- Create mailing lists, work on additional sales options. Create CRM systems - this helps to significantly increase the receipt size and LTV.
Example with parsing, where all the recommendations are applied:
Valentine's Day is coming, and you have no ideas how to please your beloved? (problem) Spend a romantic weekend with us. A chic room with a view of the Opera, a spacious bathroom, a comfortable king-size bed + access to the SPA.
It will be an unforgettable time for two! (solution) Today and tomorrow we have a special offer: book a romantic weekend for just 199 euros and get breakfast in the room as a bonus and a late check-out as a gift! (special offer, time limit) The offer is limited, please, email us. Direct us to make a reservation. (action)
After the person has made a purchase, enter it in the CRM, offer other hotel and restaurant services: attend new menu tasting, offer discounted accommodation on a birthday, etc.
How to measure: more clicks on links, clicks on the proposed buttons in social networks, new dialogues with the buyer, more calls.
The service sector is a hugely competitive environment, especially in social media. Thoughtless placement of images will not bring the business closer to achieving its goals. You will have to fight for the client. You need to keep your finger on the pulse of trends, test hypotheses, and try new things because even the most loyal customers get bored and leave, it is important to constantly attract new ones.
This work involves not only drawing attention but also forming the interest, desire, and support of the client before the transaction.
Using different types of content, you will find your unique pitch to best showcase the USP to your target audience.
Competent content marketing can bring you closer to achieving your business goals, and systematic work with sales funnels will speed up this process.