Or at least focus creating your own platform
According to Hootsuite, Facebook organic referral is down to 5,2% while at the end of 2018 that was still 7,7%. More and more, social media are charging you to reach your own created audience of fans and followers. Don’t become dependent on social media (like you did with the OTAs like Booking and Expedia) and start creating your own platform, away from the ‘walled gardens’ of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, back to the good old open internet where content is accessible by every browser without logging in.
Therefore create your own space online. With a continuous stream of content, build your brand awareness and uniqueness (your business is a brand, even if you only operate a single property – even you is a brand!). New Google algorithms love stories around a single theme. It will help you get relevant visitors – more so than (paid) content on social media. Any business can do it, maybe with some help defining a clear, simple brand message. What you should learn from social media is that you should focus on the ‘why’ and not on the ‘what’ or ‘how’. Maybe step away from the cookie cutter website template with about, rooms, restaurants, meetings and contact pages/tabs.
Having your own platform is a less intrusive way engaging your audience. Most advertising is seen as annoying, or phony – think promoting by social media influencers. This market has long saturated, with only few being real influential, with rates to match. And honestly, what brings a social media celebrity floating in your pool or having breakfast in your bed to your business? Is it the audience you like to reach?
With your own platform people come to you who are actually interested in you, on their own terms and at a time they prefer. It is also a good way to become less dependent on the OTAs, whose platforms maybe great for searching and comparison, but which are full of ‘noise’ and competition. Not to mention you want to attract direct bookings.
But also beware of Google
Realise that Google itself is more and more turning from a search engine into an answering machine. People get answers straight away on Google so clicking through happens less and will further decrease. A reason more to build your own platform (especially an email addresses database) where you can directly communicate with your audience. Also, accept dat SEO will become more and more challenging. If you feel you don’t have enough stories to tell to keep your followers engaged, it could be a solution to join a collective of stand-out properties like yours which share similar beliefs. Like creating your own little (or slightly larger)’gang’. Obviously I like to recommend my own platform www.dnahotels.com, but there are great ones out there, like The Aficionados, Pretty Hotels, Welcome Beyond or regional initiatives.