Viral Marketing for the Hospitality Industry

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An overview of viral marketing for the hospitality industry in June 2008

An overview of viral marketing for the hospitality industry in June 2008

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  • 1. Viral Marketing: Is it right for your business? Stacy Armijo Pierpont Communications June 18, 2008
  • 2. A little about me…
    • Public relations and marketing experience for companies of all types
    • Strongly believe in the power of traditional marketing and communication tools
    • Believe viral marketing presents new opportunities ripe for exploration
  • 3. What is “viral marketing?”
    • The short version:
    • Any promotion that encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily, typically through word-of-mouth or electronic media.
  • 4. Passing the smell test
    • Hospitality is ideal for viral marketing because:
    • A large portion of the target audience is already online
    • It engages users around their passions (travel, parties, bargain hunting, luxury)
    • Many properties can leverage existing networks for success
  • 5. How could you use it?
    • Supplement existing membership programs
    • Promote new or unique services
    • Monitor consumer attitudes and opinions
    • Expand the reach of your brand
    • (Potentially) Drive traffic to your property
  • 6. What are the options?
    • There are TONS! We’ll discuss…
    • Web site
    • Search engine optimization
    • Blogs
    • Social networking
    • Mobile marketing
  • 7. Web Site
    • 21 st Century storefront
    • The destination of all of your marketing
    • A must for every property
  • 8. Web Site: The Basics
    • Clean, appealing design
    • Complete, accurate, up-to-date info
    • Show us your personality
  • 9. Web Site: Kick it up a notch
    • Virtual property tours
    • Links / Searches for area attractions
    • Regularly updated editorial features
    • Videos from property staff
  • 10. Web Site: Rock ‘n’ Roll
    • Online guest book
    • Blogs by company representatives
    • User-generated video and photo galleries
    • Online forums for guests
    • Live chat with customer service reps
    • Make-your-own brochures
    • Event planning wizards
    Interaction should increase with each evolution
  • 11. Search Engine Optimization
    • Critical and highly competitive in hospitality
    • Find unusual terms / search criteria
    • Consider pay-per-click
    • Recommend outsourcing
  • 12. Blogs: Several Options
    • Monitor and comment on existing blogs
    • Write your own blog
    • Empower your guests to blog
  • 13. Blogs: Comment on others
    • No control over the message
    • Company reps perceived as less credible
    • Source is often unknown
    • Far less time-consuming
    • Frequency is up to you
    • Potentially engages a new audience
    • Keeps you apprised of consumer trends
    Cons: Pros:
  • 14. Blogs: Write your own
    • Very time-consuming (more than you think)
    • Finding a well-suited author can be difficult
    • Must have resources to moderate / keep active
    • More control over the message
    • Shows your personality
    • Offers guests an opportunity to engage (via comments)
    Cons: Pros:
  • 15. Blogs: Empower guests
    • Very time-consuming to recruit authors, manage
    • Content may not be relevant
    • Must manage critical and/or inappropriate postings
    • Another way to create guest loyalty
    • Offers a more personal view of your property
    Cons: Pros:
  • 16. Keys to blogging success
    • Find the right author
    • Find the right content
    • Take a long-term view
    • Show your personality
  • 17. Social Networking
  • 18. Social Networking: Jury is out
    • Online communities for users with similar interests (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace)
    • Can create pages for your property and participate in the community
    • Not seeing much success for hospitality yet (see page postings, but no participation)
    • Consider participating around specific events or promotions
  • 19. Mobile Marketing
    • One of the newest additions to the marketer’s toolkit
    • Currently, best for enhancing value for existing customers
    • Example: Send guests texts regarding the complimentary cocktail hour or jazz performance that evening
  • 20. Who’s doing it great?
    • Leverage existing networks for participation
    • Requires a lot of time to launch, monitor, maintain
    • Don’t be afraid to start small
    • Traffic is good
    • Buzz on other sites is good
    • GP members really like it
    • Biggest challenge now is connecting to sales
    • Launched in March 2008 after two-year development
    • Online forum for GP members to exchange info about travel destinations
    Enhance the value of Gold Passport membership. Lessons Results Program Purpose
  • 21.  
  • 22. Who’s doing it great?
    • Create your own online “eBrochure”
    • Customized messaging with consistent branding
    • Ideal for business clients and event planners
    • Could cut down on printing costs
  • 23. Overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start?
  • 24. Take it slow
    • Start by observing:
      • Follow a few blogs (RSS feeds are great)
      • Check out MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn
    • Implement one tactic at a time
    • Dedicate appropriate resources
      • Very little cash
      • LOTS of time
    • Remember, it’s all gravy!
  • 25. Questions Stacy Armijo Vice President Pierpont Communications 512-448-4950 [email_address]