Social media has matured into a prominent marketing platform for hotels and resorts, with properties of all sizes maintaining active accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other services. But even as hotels' digital footprint on social has increased, senior management may remain skeptical about social media's actual impact on bookings and revenue.
Marketers must dispel this suspicion by analyzing guests' journey from social media engagement to hotel website to booking page to confirmed reservation. Collecting data about this pathway will help you identify your highest performing social channels and demonstrate clear ROI.
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, few hotels have the tracking analytics in place to follow that journey accurately. Here are easy-to-execute steps that will help you track your campaigns and measure their impact.
Fix the social tracking gap
The first step is to pixel your visitors. Pixels are small bits of code created by Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms that track redirected users by collecting their IP addresses and other information. You can acquire this code—which creates a transparent 1x1 image (hence, "pixel")—from the ad manager interface for whatever platform you're tracking, then install it on your website, booking pages, and other completion pages.
(Installation is fairly straightforward, although having your website manager look over your shoulder is probably a good bet.)
Next, you need to use tracking links in your URL for each social post. Tracking links use simple coding parameters to capture important reporting data about your campaign like the site on which the ad appeared, the campaign name, and keywords you used in the ad.
Complicated, right? It's really not. You can easily create parameters for your links by using the Google Analytics URL Builder or a similar service.
Fix the phone tracking gap
Phone calls have historically been difficult (if not impossible) to track back to specific social media campaigns. As a result, online hotel marketers have avoided driving traffic to phone numbers because the booking can’t be accurately tracked.
This is unfortunate—and means you're missing out on opportunities. New guests often want to transition from mobile web search to mobile phone call. The guest may have questions or simply need the extra human touch. Without an easy transition to a live phone call, the booking might be lost entirely, and your hotel will miss a huge number of potential bookings.
Enter dynamic number insertion (DNI), a call tracking feature that assigns a unique phone number to each social channel, advertisement, or other source and then displays that phone number to visitors after they click through. This process lets you track the ROI of nearly every social media campaign that ends in a phone call.
Analyze your data
Once you have a system in place to regularly collect your social media performance data, then you can really focus on analyzing what content, promotions, and channels are driving value. You can break down the highest and lowest performing posts by:
- Click volume
- Bookings initiated
- Bookings completed
Then look at the data and see what you can learn about images, timing, social channel, copy, promotion, and targeting.
With smart, data-driven social strategy, you'll achieve more bookings, higher revenue per booking, accelerated revenue growth, and better understanding and support from your hotel leadership.
Are you interested in seeing how managed social media can help your hotel business?