The need for content marketing in the hospitality industry has increased like crazy over the last few months and years given the influx of unique property sharing platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway who are now allowing people to offer their personal properties and rooms for rent.
Because of the ever-increasing popularity of these vacation rental sites, all-inclusive resorts and high-end hotels are facing dramatic competitions (some would say it has even doubled or tripled) as they compete for bodies in their beds. One way inclusive resorts are pivoting their marketing is focusing on generating affective content marketing through ambassadors and social media.
It’s all about discovery and content that enables other people to see the resort and its amenities through an ambassador or visitor’s eyes.
Traditional marketing through third-party sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, etc. while beneficial to the resorts because of ease of use and promotion, they lose out on 20 to 30% of the total take on the reservation. Content marketing is the solution here – its efficacy and organic reach can double down on the impact at half the cost.
Before jumping headlong into any marketing strategy, including content marketing, resorts need to set and establish a strategy and clear goals with their budget and ambassadors in mind. To effectively do this, metrics and expectations need to be defined in a clear and measurable way.
Resorts and hotels need to understand from various levels what sort of traffic they’re trying to generate and drive to their space – business goers, vacationers, couples, etc. For example, a resort that is geared towards business travelers would not have the same strategy as a resort geared towards all-inclusive vacation amenities. Once the target audience and marketing strategy is defined, it needs to be broken down further into the persona or avatar that these resorts and hotels are marketing to.
Lisa Staff Photography and Fusion Photography were asked by Sandals Resort in Grenada to help them out with the content marketing process. In the case of Sandals Resort in Grenada, their ideal vacation goer has disposable income and values experience over anything. They are looking for more of an exclusive and intimate resort that is less populated by massive crowds. To get to this level of understanding that Sandals Grenada got to, resorts have to dive deep into the passions and interests of their avatars and what is going to appeal to them both at the resort and in the content marketing of the resort.
All of the content resorts are asking ambassadors to post or they are marketing on their own needs to be created and produced in a way that strategically aligns with the marketing used to lead people down the sales funnel in hopes of getting them booked. This is where a cohesive strategy and strong/quailty content marketing makes all the difference. In the end, you have to remember the ultimate objective which is to not only attract visitors, but the RIGHT kind of visitor – that persona or avatar that you dove deep into creating.
For the Sandals Resort Grenada project, Lisa Staff combined with Fusion Photography created content that was geared towards the experience and exclusivity of living your best life. The amenities, the convenience, access to the city center, access to the beach, and yummy food was all taken into account. The content created gets inside the eyes of a visitor as they would experience it if they booked.
Another element to remember of great content creation is defining where the content will ultimately be published. For example, you have to ask and determine will this be used in a digital asset library, on your social media channels, in blogs, or maybe for creating a video? Think about the content purpose which will help in driving the creation of the content.
What’s ideal about using ambassadors and influencers to create content is it actually user-generated content, which in today’s social media infiltration age holds more power than a high-end production created by a third-party marketing team. Social media users or web surfers who follow influencers or ambassadors are 10x more likely to make a purchase if the influencer recommends it as opposed to just a marketing bulletin put out by the company/brand itself.
Since the start of 2020 (what a year btw), 70% of high-end resorts and hotels have started turning to user-generated content in the form of influencers, ambassadors and actual customers. Oftentimes, people stay at resorts or hotels will upgrade their amenities because they’ve seen an influencer do it or because they also want to create some fun, unique content for themselves. Lisa Staff Photography and Fusion Photography both believe content marketing tied in with the power of influencers and ambassadors is where it’s at. See more of this particular content creation journey below!