If a guest has a good experience at your property, they’ll tell a friend or family. Chances are these people might want to check you out themselves. This cycle is called word-of-mouth marketing. And, is extremely powerful.
According to surveys, word of mouth marketing impression results in five times more sales than a paid impression and people are 90% more likely to trust a brand endorsed by a friend.
Word of mouth publicity has evolved.
Previously if a guest liked something, they would tell 10 people. Those 10 people would either experience or mention this to another 10. And, the ripple effect happened.
Today, if a guest likes something, they post it on social media and suddenly hundreds of people know about you. The amplification is instant.
How is word of mouth different to social proof?
Social proof is influencing users to try your experience based on opinions, reviews, word-of-mouth and feedback.
As a majority of people rely on recommendations and reference from others before making a booking, social proof is imperative and the way to grow awareness, goodwill and eventually bookings.
Tips to make word of mouth a part of your marketing strategy and grow bookings.
- Add customer testimonials to your website. Let prospective guests know what your people who’ve experienced a stay with you have to say. STAAH’s ReviewMinder is an easy way to manage and showcase reviews from key websites such as TripAdvisor, Expedia etc on your own website.
- Encourage User Generated Content (UGC). It may seem like a buzzword, but content created and shared by customers has an authenticity factor that is irreplaceable in a paid format. You can use this material smartly to create engaging marketing collateral and drive up preference. Examples include photos taken on your property, guests enjoying your services, etc. Videos are a fantastic resource to have from guests. You can encourage guests to share content with you by:
- Creating a unique hashtag for your property.
- Incentivise creation and sharing of content by offering discounts, a free gift or similar.
- Create a sense of community by displaying UGC on your website.
- Share your customer reviews and testimonials on third-party platforms such as social media, as your ad creative on various channels, email marketing, etc. Remember to tag and credit the creators of this content – you happy customers – when you do this.
- Ratings. Got good star-rating on TripAdvisor or other platforms? Share it – on-premise and online. It’s the same with industry awards; if you got them, flaunt them!
- Create a referral programme. There are easy-to-use platforms such as Referral Candy, Friendbuy and Woobox, among others that you can use to create a formal referral programme. Such an initiative is good not just for you but also of interest to your guest due to the tangible benefits.
- Good content and reviews come from delivering good service. Make sure what you have to offer is share-worthy. UGC, reviews and the rest will follow.
Now that you know the basics of how to use word of mouth marketing as part of your marketing strategy, it’s time to apply these tips to your website and watch your bookings increase. Got a question or success to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.