There were lots of names I could have called this episode; Tracking what social media drives bookings; Using tracking & tools to improve your hotel marketing; Tracking of your social media activities to improve your marketing; Getting technical – tracking your social media efforts; There were a bunch of options but the point is listen to this episode if you are using social media in your accommodation, hotel, tour operation or any tourism business and you are transacting online. In fact any tourism business where you have a website and have paid advertising.
These are the types of episodes I really love as ultimately we want to know what social media activities drive bookings right!? A practice and insightful chat with Director of Social Media of Amalgamated Holdings Limited, Tim Welsh aka @Twel5 about how they are using and tracking social media across the range of tourism groups they own, how they do it and some of the tools that are used. This also goes into using these social media tools to better understand your market.
So much great stuff in this podcast episode, a must listen for anyone spending money on Facebook ads or using Facebook – especially hotels or accommodation.
After finding a little about Tim Welsh, we start off talking about the role of social media into the organisations plans. Tim talks about how social media gives the ability to tells a story and sell an experience rather than a hotel room just being a commodity. People are more savvy and are looking for which hotel will give them the experience they are looking for in the location they are visiting. Social media allows to better tell the story and to distinguish themselves (listen from about the 4 minute mark and hear a little more about QT Hotels).
From about the 6 minute mark Tim mentions what social media channels are currently the focus.
At the 8 minute mark we talk about the value of co-branded content in relation to video and YouTube and a little chat about working with influencers. “I think the next evolution (of working with influencers)…. once people realise how many “influencers” are out there we are going to get more scientific about how we decide who is influential…”
From the 11 minute mark we go deeper into how to measure the effectiveness of social media and to track what is actually driving bookings. Tim explains a multi-touch attribution model – what it is and why it is important as well as the importance of assigning value to this process.
“What you need to look at is tracing how many people come back from different sources and something like social media or a great content blog a lot of times won’t be that last piece of the puzzle that makes people book – it can be but usually it won’t be – but what it does help do is really inspire people and create a need or a want where it wasn’t previously and we need to assign a certain amount of value to that.” Click through to see a little more on this re Google Analytics signing values to goals.
Then we talk about UTM Tracking codes and the great importance of these. Buffer has created a guide to this so rather than me reinventing the wheel check that out here https://blog.bufferapp.com/utm-guide.
Places like Falcon, Hootsuite and Tracks (and I think Buffer) have these easily built in to their system.
“By better knowing what the pathway is we can provide we can provide better content that will actually put them into a closed loop marketing through various remarking tools and will make conversions cost less….” says Tim Welsh.
Listen in from the 18 minute mark – this is one of my favourite parts of the podcast – the example Tim gives is pretty darn cool.
The other part to this is using the social media tools to better understanding our audience and better segmenting of groups.
“We spend a lot of time NOT understand our audiences and just trying to understand what converts them but we need to start looking at different segmentations of groups. There are so many tools out there now – in terms of better understanding the demographics and psychographics of your audience that we are remiss if we don’t use them and if we don’t partner them together to see what the differences are…”
From about the 20 minute mark we talk about some of the audience pixels tools – all of them free – that we can use.
Tim mentions Kevin Mullett who is a guy that knows loads about these sort of tools or tools for anything – connect with him via Twitter here https://twitter.com/kmullett.
At the 22 minute mark we talk about re-marketing what it is and how it works and a few other of the important targeting options including geo-location targeting.
We start to wrap up around the 26.30 minute mark asking Tim what he spends his time doing in a typical week followed by one takeaway piece of advice for listeners.
“Learn about WHY your customers booked with you…and you don’t have to guess, ask them…”
“Dont underestimate the value of follow up emails, surveys, or even asking people on social media. Your communities are looking to talk with you and if you provide them the microphone to do so you are going to come out with a lot of elements to help you tell your story – and then you can back up those elements when you start adapting what they say with the data.”
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