Is it worth it for a hotel resort using social media for marketing to expect a noticeable outcome?
Located in the friendly and quiet community of Costa Teguise on the beautiful and environmentally aware Canary Island of Lanzarote, the Sands Beach Resort is situated on a sandy crescent of beachfront property that is wrapped around a picturesque seawater lagoon. This luxury hotel features spacious rooms with amazing views, several on-site restaurant and bar options, multiple swimming pools, a fully-equipped gym, and a range of outdoor activities including tennis, snorkeling, scuba diving, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Even with this much to offer, the Sands Beach Resort management team quickly discovered that exceptional facilities don’t always automatically translate into exceptional growth. In an effort to attract more customers, the organization recently orchestrated a complete digital transformation that included a comprehensive public outreach campaign on social media.
By all accounts, this campaign has been an unprecedented success. Since investing heavily in the sleek and informative Lifestyle Lanzarote company blog and significantly boosting its online social media presence, Sands Beach Resort has experienced a 30 percent increase in its annual rate of direct bookings. The hotel’s ranking on Trip Advisor has also improved greatly, and staff members have seen a real difference on the ground. Even Sands Beach Resort’s affiliate tour operators have noticed a significant boost in consumer demand for the hotel and its hospitality services.
Other businesses can certainly learn from Sands Beach Resort’s innovative marketing approach. Here are six ways that the hotel successfully used social media to drive customers to its door and generate an unprecedented expansion in profits:
1. Get Employees on Google Plus and Use It Internally – Sands Beach Resort initially launched its social media campaign by signing up to Google Apps. This enabled the hotel to offer live chat through its website to better connect with potential customers and aid in the reservation process. Google Plus also proved extremely beneficial for internal communication, allowing employees to chat with one another during work, deliver professional presentations, and share documents through Google Drive. Because the vast majority of staff members have their own Google Plus accounts, they can keep current with the latest Sands Beach Resort developments by following the company page while sharing a variety of private and public postings.
2. Get Top Management on LinkedIn and Twitter – Following the lead of Sands Beach Resort Chief Executive Officer, Juan Carlos, all top management members maintain active Twitter accounts. They often boost internal moral and contribute to company transparency by tweeting among themselves regarding various events and happenings around the office. Sands Beach Resort also ensures that all top management members secure and maintain updated LinkedIn profiles that are directly connected to the official Sands Beach Resort company page.
3. Follow and Engage with Customers on Social Media – Avid users of Google Chrome, the team members at Sands Beach Resort recently signed up to the Chrome extension Rapportive. This widget maker shows users everything that they need to know about their contacts instantly in their Gmail inboxes. In addition to monitoring emails, Rapportive allows employees to ensure that they are fully connected through Twitter and LinkedIn. It also enables the reservations department to oversee all accounts and automatically follow all reservation tweets. To better support its affiliated triathlon group training camps, Sands Beach Resort creates Google Drive spreadsheets that detail all group members with a presence on social media. The company then shares these spreadsheets with staff members before the group arrives. As part of its plan to engage with guests during and after their stay, Sands Beach Resort coordinates photo and video shoots of various activities. It uses the material that these shoots generate to create multimedia presentations that can be posted on the Sands Beach Resort’s active blog.
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4. Use Social Media Internally to Boost Staff Morale – In an effort to promote teambuilding and maximize staff productivity, Sands Beach Resorts uses Google Plus, You Tube, and other forms of social media to publish and share various fun and inspirational photos and video
5. Employee Advocacy on Instagram – All Sands Beach Resort staff members belong to Instagram. They are encouraged to “like” and comment on both the Sands Beach Resort Family account and the Sands Beach Resort Active Sports account. Sands Beach Resort encourages all employees, regardless of rank and position, to add their unique voices to the company’s diverse social media mix. A photo taken by Debora, the Sands Beach Resort receptionist, has become one of the company’s most “liked” Facebook posts.
6. Utilize Interns to Become Brand Ambassadors – Since starting a company internship program two years ago, Sands Beach Resorts requires each incoming intern to update the intern blog and to post accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and other major social media outlets. Sands Beach Resort has also negotiated special deals with various industry partners that give its interns free trips or park admissions. In return, the interns must blog and tweet about their vacation experiences.
The comprehensive social media outreach of the Sands Beach Resort has earned the hotel recognition within the hospitality industry and beyond. In 2014, the UK digital marking authority Valuable Content honored Sands Beach Resort with the annual Gold Award. 2014 marked the second time that Sands Beach Resort received this distinctive honor.
Valuable Content praised Sands Beach Resort CEO Juan Carlos and Digital Marketing Director John Beckley for “ditching” most of the company’s advertising budget in favor of investing in social media, creating outstanding online content, and “building an active and engaged new customer base in the process.”
Which of the above things the Sand Beaches Resort did most impressed you? Do you know of any other hotels that are doing a similar digital transformation of their online presence from the inside out?
For more statistics, number and important information on the impact of social media marketing on hotels, check out this great infographic from SiteMinder.