Social Influencer Marketing Impact: Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories

In October 2013 Snapchat updated its app to include Stories which allowed users to build a sequence of content that could be viewed an unlimited number of times over a 24-hour period.  Then in 2016 Snapchat updated this feature to include Snapchat Stories auto-advance allowing users to move to the next story after one story has played. Snapchat Stories became a big hit with its younger audience and quickly took hold with millennials.

 

It wasn’t long before other platforms realized the potential of Snapchat’s feature and in August 2016 Instagram launched Instagram Stories. The product piggybacked on the success of Shapchat Stories and works just like it. One difference is that Instagram has double the user reach over Snapchat – Instagram Stories feature is currently used by 200 million of their 700 million users.

instagram vs snapchat social influencers

According to Google Trends, Instagram Stories is two times more popular than Snapchat Stories. Couple this with the fact that Instagram users easily go through the new feature while staying on a familiar platform and you have yourself the winner of this competition. With such a greater reach to a wider audience, Instagram Stories is attracting users away from Snapchat and even is attributed to stalling Snapchat’s growth.

 

Instagram or Snapchat: Who do Social Influencers Favor?

 

With growing competition for the same feature on the two different platforms, it prompted a month-long study by Mediakix that examined to which platform’s Stories feature top influencers posted most often.  The evaluation included 12 top social influencers who had from 495K to 16.6 M followers, regularly post on Snapchat, and are looking for the most engagement opportunities.

 

Number of Instagram vs SnapChat stories social influencers

 

The study findings showed:

  • Instagram Stories was favored over Snapchat stories 25 of the 30 days
  • On average, social influencers posted on Instagram 25% more of the time than Snapchat.
  • Instagram had an average 6.6 stories posted per day over Snapchat’s 5.3
  • 8 out of 12 social influencers posted more on Instagram Stories than Snapchat Stories

 

Social Influencer Marketing Impact

The Instagram vs. Snapchat study is but a small example of the greater picture for the rapidly growing social influencer marketing industry. Instagram’s influence marketing, currently a 1 billion dollar industry, shows it could reach 2 billion by 2019. Clearly social media influencer marketing has become one of the most important ways to increase awareness of your property and brand. With its leap ahead of Snapchat, Instagram learned there is power in the opinion of peers. They are clearly onto something!

 

Hotel Customer Service Through Social Media Channels

In today’s digital world we all communicate through social media to one degree or another regardless of generational differences. It has become the medium we use to exchange ideas or opinions and create or maintain relationships with not only friends and family but with every industry including, and perhaps especially, when discussing hotel customer service in the hotel industry.

For hotels, it offers a direct channel for guests to provide feedback, from compliments to requests to complaints. And, together with advances in technology, social media channels have created opportunities for hotels to provide and improve customer service.

Social Ecosystem woven in Social Search

The Three R’s of Social Hotel Customer Service

Revenue: Hotels that deliver great social customer service will become more profitable than hotels that do not.  It is the avenue that influences purchasing decisions and creates booking opportunities.

Reliability: Addressing complaints and resolving issues quickly shows your hotel listens and cares about guests. That spontaneous and authentic contact is what your guests and prospective guests crave. It creates a bond between your hotel and guests that creates loyal followers.

Reputation: Guests that experience a positive customer service experience are 25% more likely to become advocates and influencers of your hotel. But they can just as likely stop coming to your hotel and give bad reviews because of a poor experience.

Social Hotel Customer Service Guidelines

When it comes to a social hotel customer service strategy, there is no magic route your hotel can follow to find the best social customer service practices. It all depends on your hotel’s structure, processes, message and identity. But there are some guidelines that will help shape your hotel social customer service practices and serve as a reminder that responsiveness is everything.

 

  • Staff Ambassadors: Your hotel staff is first in line for interacting with your guests. Guests want to feel their issues are as important to you as it is to them. Respectfully take care of any issues and show that your hotel makes them your number one priority. To avoid confusion, ensure your staff is consistent with their handling of all issues by setting standard practices for basic issues but allow some flexibility so that staff can make decisions that make them feel they are part of the solution.

 

  • Chat Messaging: Provide a messaging service between staff and guests as a solution for handling volume requests of basic issues – like needing towels or an extra pillow. It will also assist your staff in attending all guest needs in a less stressful and efficient way.

 

  • Guest Expectations: When guests or prospective guests engage with your hotel through social media platforms, they expect a response in real time. This is your opportunity to shine. There are many live chat services available that can give you the chance to connect with your guests on a more personal level and show your hotel cares – all in real time!

 

Simply put, properties that take the time to include social hotel customer service as part of their social media marketing strategy will be the ones that will reap the benefits of repeat business and increasing their chances for profitability.

Top 5 Reasons Live Chat is a Must for Hotel Websites

PARSIPPANY, NJ – May 22, 2017 Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry recently launched CoMMingle Live, its fully managed Live Chat service for the hospitality industry.  Over the past 6 months, the company has gained valuable insights on how consumers interact with hotel Live Chat agents and now shares the Top 5 reasons Live Chat is a must for hotel websites.

“Our CoMMingle Live Chat service provides an assisted sales function for hotel websites, where there currently is none,” stated DJ Vallauri, Founder & CEO of Lodging Interactive.  “As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to interacting via Live Chat services with many brands and it’s time the hospitality industry provides conversation commerce support as well, especially as hotels look to increase their share of direct website business.”

Most consumers today are very comfortable using Live Chat to engage with brands and find it extremely convenient to be able to do so at a time and place of their own choosing.  Yet, the hospitality industry has been slow to adopt this technology as a method for real-time customer engagement.  Technology and staffing issues around the clock 7 days a week undoubtedly are reasons for the slow adoption.

Last summer Lodging Interactive launched a fully managed Live Chat service exclusively for the hospitality industry to help hotels improve their guest and potential guest engagements.  Through our Live Chat service, hotels benefit from real-time customer engagement without the headache and expense of managing Live Chat internally.

Top 5 reasons Live Chat is a Must for Hotel Websites

Here are the top 5 reasons why today’s hotels must have a human Live Chat service on their websites:

 

Live Chat Reason Number 1: Time is Money.

Time is something we, as consumers, have very little of these days. Any business that can provide additional time to its customers is going to win in the loyalty game. And loyalty is what creates business opportunities. For hotels, this means booked rooms.

When potential guests are visiting your website, and have questions about your property or destination, they traditionally must either call or send an email and then wait for a reply. We have all had this experience as consumers but it is not the best way to provide immediate customer service to potential customers. Live Chat addresses this service gap for hoteliers.

Our CoMMingle Live Chat service on your website is an enabler that connects your potential guests with business opportunities for your hotel via Live Chat operators who are always standing by ready to support your website visitors needs.  And because our CoMMingle Live Chat service is completely mobile enabled, potential guests can request immediate service and assistance from anywhere. Our hotel Live Chat live service agents will always be there ready to assist them.

 

Live Chat Reason Number 2: live chatHumanizes Your Brand

Real-time Live Chat service enables your hotel to connect with its guests in a human manner. No robots allowed.  Today’s consumers want to feel connected to a brand or company on a human level. With all the automated messaging, artificial intelligence and chat bots available today, your hotel can really standout by providing a human connection with your guests.  Use Live Chat to engage with them as you would on a telephone call.  And because it is a human interaction, your emotion and empathy will clearly come through to win the customer.

 

Live Chat Reason Number 3: Offer FAQs in Real Time

Hotel websites that offer FAQs are in the minority.  It is a shame that most hotel websites do not offer frequently asked questions pages. As consumers, we have come to expect FAQ pages on every e-commerce website we visit. Yet for whatever reason, the hospitality industry has not adopted such a practice.  With the competitive nature of direct online hotel bookings, maintaining an FAQs page on your website should be as ubiquitous as your booking engine.

Live Chat can take the FAQs page to and even higher level by providing a real-time human engagement experience with your customers.  Providing our service on your website increases the likelihood potential customers will begin to engage with your Live Chat agents as they are clicking through your website; side by side and even when the customer transitions from your website into your booking engine.

 

Live Chat Reason Number 4: Increase Group RFP’s

Through the use of Live Chat, agents are able to share group related documents in real-time with potential customers while they’re on your website.  For example, agents can immediately share floor plans, catering menus and even available event booking specials. This form of “assisted sales” has resulted in an uplift of group RFP’s submitted on a month-over-month basis.

 

Live Chat Reason Number 5: Immediate Crisis Management

When a potential crisis situation begins to flare up, Live Chat agents can be the first line of defense for your hotel.  They can engage with customers immediately and potentially defuse the situation and potential stop negative guest reviews on TripAdvisor.

 

BONUS: Competitive Advantages / Marketplace Differentiation

And, as an added bonus, a Live Chat service on your hotel’s website is a competitive advantage and a true differentiator.  When you consider that Live Chat is only available on a handful of hotel websites across the country, there is no doubt that your hotel can clearly differentiate itself from its competitive set within the marketplace.  Research continues to support that consumers would rather do business through websites that have Live Chat verses those that do not. In fact, 63% of consumers are more likely to return to a website that had Live Chat verses one that did not.

 

For more information on how to add CoMMingle Live Chat to your website, please visit: www.LiveChatForHotels.com or contact Lodging Interactive at 877-291-4411 extension 701.

 

 

About Lodging Interactive

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses.  The company also offers fully managed Live Chat agents for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com division.

Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner, and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.

Lodging Interactive is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the company’s president, DJ Vallauri, currently serves on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter and is a Forbes.com Agency Council contributor. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

 

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Snapchat Marketing for Hotels

A Hotel Social Media Marketing Budget Reconsideration

 In 2011 Snapchat launched as a fun and simple messaging app that reached out to a young teenage audience. The concept was to share images with users’ friends that then disappeared in seconds.

Then they introduced Stories: A chance to put together all user images into a succession of snaps to tell the user’s story. It was a big hit with the younger crowd and quickly caught on with millennials.

Even Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram, realized the potential when they created their own version of Snapchat Stories.  600 million users strong, Instagram’s version caught on well with users who didn’t have to learn a new social media platform to use the feature. In fact, Instagram became a very strong competitor and their version of Stories became popular enough to stall Snapchat’s growth.

Clearly Facebook and Google also knew that Snapchat was onto something when, in 2013, both giants made bids to acquire them for $3 billion and $4 billion respectively. But Snapchat owners were having none of that. They had bigger and better ideas in mind.

snapchat

Snapchat Paving Their Way into the Future

If Snapchat was going to make it into the future as a vital social media platform, they needed to think beyond their niche market and open themselves up to a wider audience.

According to an eMarketer forecast, this year Snapchat is expected to grow to 70.4 million users in the U.S. and to 89.2 million users by 2021. Their largest user base continues to be between the ages of 18 to 34 but users between the ages of 35 and 44 have been steadily increasing and predicted as jumping from 6.6% in 2017 to 9.8% in 2021. Users between the ages of 45 and 54 are predicted to climb from 4.5% in 2017 to 6.7% by the year 2021. This slight shift in age demographics becomes a consideration for hotels trying to reach their target audience.

Snapchat Inc. became Snap Inc. in September 2016 in preparation for its decision to go public with the Snapchat app being its main product.  Its value now is at approximately $28 billion. According to Snap Inc.’s IPO filing, they:

  • Have 60 million active users from the US and Canada
  • 60% of all smartphone users are now on snapchat
  • 50% of U.S. daily new users are 25 and older

It is evolving and working hard to increase their number of users within a wider audience. They need to show value to their investors by proving they are a viable social media platform well worth the investment. If the numbers increase as predicted, hotels would want to reconsider adding them within their social media marketing plans.

The company introduced their first consumer product, Spectacles, that became available for online purchase this February.  It is a strong indication that Snapchat wants to delve deeper into consumer products and now, having gone public, their interest toward e-commerce can show investors that they are serious about expanding and growing into a solid investment.

Snapchat 3Vi (Vertical Video Views and Interactive) advertising are ads in vertical format that tailor content to the mobile app.  Snapchat popularized this format and it allows users to make purchases through the Snapchat app. According to Snap Inc.’s S-1 filing, over 90% of those that participated in Snapchat’s advertising saw a rise in sales. 3Vi ads also promise to provide a way for hotel advertisers to track ROI. This might make it an alluring way to get hotels to consider joining the app and giving Snapchat ads a try.

Snap Inc. has the incentive and drive to prove they are a viable player against competitors but they have to delicately balance this with the young public that followed them and brought them to this stage in their vision. Also there are so many things happening – and fast – that hotel digital marketers need to keep an eye on the developments to see whether or not Snapchat is worth a second glance.

Lodging Interactive CEO to Speak About Hotel Reputation Management on HSMAI NYC Luncheon Panel

hsmai

PARSIPPANY, NJ – May 8, 2017 Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced that DJ Vallauri, the Company’s Founder & CEO, will be a guest panel member at the HSMAI NYC Chapter luncheon on Monday, May 22, 2017 at the 3 West Club in New York City.  The panel discussion, titled Online Reputation Management – Perception vs. Reality, will discuss and share insights hoteliers can use when managing their online reputation.

“I’m honored to be part this month’s HSMAI NYC luncheon panel to discuss the importance of correctly managing hotel online reputations,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & CEO. “For more than 15 years our firm’s CoMMingle division has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services to the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 hotel reviews for clients.”

Industry expert and speaker, Tim Peter, will moderate the luncheon panel and additional panel members will include Adele Gutman, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Revenue for the Library Hotel Collection and Mark McCullough, Senior Key Accounts Manager for TripAdvisor.

For more information and to register for the luncheon, please visit: http://www.hsmainyc.org/.

Conversational Marketing is The Future of Hotel Customer Service

Use of messaging and chat apps at hotels are fast becoming the preferred means to communicate with guests and, with this, come the endless possibilities to build relationships and increase sales. Hotel guests can chat in real-time and receive valuable and convenient customer service. This builds a trusting relationship that will go a long way toward loyalty and guest retention as well as lower overhead costs with efficient daily operations.

The technology is not new but primarily it is the exponential increase of mobile usage in recent years that is at the heart of the resurgence of messaging and chat apps. A Forrester Research study shows consumers spend nearly 78% of their time on smartphones and more than 3 billion consumers world-wide are heavy users of instant messaging platforms.

Conversational Marketing and Building Hotel Guest Relationships

The implication of conversational marketing might be to drive sales but its use now-a-days is more toward providing good customer service.  Uber’s Chris Messina coined the term conversational commerce and, simply put, it refers to the trend toward interaction between consumers and businesses through messaging apps, chat apps, and voice-activated technology. Consumer engagement can be through a human representative, chatbot or a fusion of the two.

For hotels it provides an excellent tool for hotel staff to automate customer service messages to guests. This increases hotel staff efficiency and provides a great guest experience. Hotels can interact with guests to quickly answer questions, resolve issues and provide personalized recommendations  – all in real-time and at the guests’ convenience.

 

conversational marketingIn the artificial intelligence market, there is now IBM’s Watson Technology. It’s essentially a supercomputer system that answers questions using natural human speech with filters for intent and context.  The likes of Facebook, Google and Microsoft have their own versions that are free within their platforms.

 

Facebook Messenger is now able to accept payments through chatbots that not only increase guest engagement but create the possibility to translate the conversation into booking transactions without ever leaving the application. This makes it easy and convenient because it means there is no jumping back and forth between website and text conversations. Reducing the number of sources hotel guests need to turn to will shorten the distance between a prospect and a booking.

 

Conversational Marketing and The Hotel Guest Journey

Regardless of how conversational marketing reaches you, guests want help, advice and direction while they work through their decision-making process. It should be an effortless process for your guests and gives a chance to establish a better rapport with your guests and prospective guests. A quick turn-around to questions/inquires, convenience and personal attention mean everything to your guests. So it’s vital to have the conversation stay natural – human – real.

 

Effective conversational commerce can successfully get your hotel to increase customer satisfaction and foster meaningful relationships. Hotel marketing strategies should carefully consider ways to provide a better customer experience by fusing with emerging technology that will help make those engagements turn into bookings.

#AskDJV Episode 56: Social Influencer Marketing – Part 2

Influencer Marketing = part 2

 

Hello Everybody, welcome to Episode 56 of the #AskDJV Show.  On this week’s episode, I want to continue the discussion as it relates to Social Media Influencer Marketing.

Now, as a hotelier, the way you deploy a Social Media Influencer program is multi-faceted.

The first thing you’re going to do is use Google to find someone of interest.  Someone you believe can properly represent your hotel in a professional, yet fun and informative manner to their followers.  You want to find someone who has a decent amount of followers on Instagram, on Twitter, etc., but not too many that they are going to charge you so much money for their services.  So you don’t want to look for a Kim Kardashian as I used in last week’s episode.

Social Media Influencers

You want to use what’s called a “micro influencer”.  These are folks who have anywhere from 3,4,5,000 followers up to maybe 40 or 50,000 followers.  That’s a more reasonable number for you to work with.  So identify those people, reach out to them and contact them and ask them if they’d be willing to work with you on an Influencer Campaign Plan with you and your property.  Once you get their acceptance, then you start thinking about what’s the strategy?  What am I trying to achieve with this Influencer Program?

Now, at first blush, you’re probably going to want to focus on branding and getting the word out about your hotel and share with people anything your website, your hotel has to offer.  So it’s going to be more of a branding exercise than a revenue exercise where you’re offering discounts.  The first step is to really get your brand out there amongst the various followers that this person can now provide visibility into your hotel.

Influencer Marketing Agreement

Once you’ve identified that scope of work, you then to have to enter into an agreement with that influencer and you’re going to negotiate back and forth, put together a written agreement as to what the deliverables are.  When they’re going to start working for you, when they’re going to end working for you.  The days they are going to visit and the days they are going to leave.  What they are going to do and what they are going to showcase at your property.  If you have a great pool, a great spa, tennis courts, golf course, you want to make sure you work that into the agreement so that the influencer showcases all of those different attributes and benefits of staying at your property.

Maybe come up with a storyboard. That’s what we do for our customers.  We create a complete storyboard from start to finish to actually let the hotelier and the influencer know what is expected in this overall program.  Once you’ve negotiated this with the influencer, the next step is to get them to your property, right?  You want to wine and dine them.  You want to assign someone from your staff to work with the influencer as they travel through your property or through your complex, as they are going on the tennis courts, as they are going to the beach or the swimming pool, etc.  The important thing is to stay out of their way.  They have their own followers who expect a certain personality from this influencer.  You don’t want to taint that or change that in any way, with you being too involved or too hands on.  So don’t micromanage the process, just be aware of what the deliverables are and make sure along the way there are checks and balances to make sure your influencer is doing what they need to do.

As the influencer goes about doing his or her work throughout the weekend at your property, filming instagram stories, snapchat stories, they are also going to take many pictures for you in what we call a “viro”.

Now, those viro images are what you are going to use to support this campaign for the next 60-90 days on an on-going basis.  So, it’s not a one-time shot, the influencer visiting your property, doing their thing and they’re gone.  It’s they do that and then you, your responsibility is to take that viro and repurpose it so that you can keep the campaign going for a good 30, 60, 90 days after the influencer has left.  That’s how you deploy Social Media Influencer Marketing.

Influencer Marketing Agency

If you need any help with that, our agency certainly is the leader in this space. We can help you as it relates to Hospitality Influencer Marketing.  Just get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help you out and show you the way to go.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s episode, I hope you learned something on it.  Be sure to subscribe to the red YouTube button down below so that you can stay up to date as new episodes come out.

Thanks again for joining us this week and we’ll see you again next week!  Take care.

 

View Social Influencer Marketing – Part 1