Social media, PR and events go a long way toward keeping your property top-of-mind.
We live in a society where everyone is bombarded with messaging that comes at you from every direction. Staying plugged in to your audience and maintaining a top-of-mind awareness is vital to your success.
When Slobo and I took over the Goldmoor Inn, everything was exciting and fresh. As owners, many projects take over your to-do lists, including evaluating employees, reviewing policies, considering property improvements and—of course—taking care of your guests. While all of this whirls around you, it’s important to remember that you have to ensure that everything is exciting and fresh for your audience as well.
We’ve found several ways to keep the Goldmoor Inn relevant in the news, active in the community and visible. Here are some tactics to employ:
1. Embrace social media and email
When we purchased the Goldmoor Inn, we purposely dove into evaluating the mediums we’d need for communication to our current clients and potential guests. I find social media perplexing but thankfully have a team around me who offers meaning to click-throughs, hashtags, at signs, posts and traditional media coverage.
Our own email lists are valuable tools. We can reach out to those customers who have experienced our property, but also find ways to gain new subscribers to the special announcements and offers we can share throughout the year to boost seasons, events or relate important changes on site. It is important to make it personal, quick and easy to read, and offer information about what’s happening in your area so people have a reason to stay and to choose your property over others. Recently, we announced the Goldmoor Loyalty Program, which rewards guest that visit frequently.
The growing list of emails can be additionally expanded by offering giveaways or prizes such as an Instagram photo contest that inspires guests to post their image with a hashtag you identify.
We’ve been diligent about offering fresh new content everyday on our social platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Pew Research Center and the John S. and James. L. Knight Foundation recently released a survey showing that 62% of adults in the U.S. get news via social networks, and 64% of those who do usually get their news from just one social network, usually Facebook.
In the past seven months, we’ve seen growth in both followers and engagement (a key term in this sphere of influence). Our Facebook page has achieved a 20% increase in followers and a 126% increase in engagement, which means someone actually reacted by sharing, liking or commenting on the post. These results were achieved without boosting any individual posts or the page through the paid options this platform offers. Similarly, our Twitter account has seen a 22% growth in followers, and tweet impressions have increased engagement by 67%, again without using any form of paid advertisement. Instagram has seen a follower growth of 98%, and this visual post is especially important for the foodie and event audience we want to welcome.
These improvements were the result of a consistent posting schedule that has been tailored to the platforms' demographics and are continually being assessed for further growth and improvement.
2. Capitalize on public relations possibilities
Supporting local convention and visitor bureaus and chambers of commerce is vitally important to ensure you and your business remains visible in the community, but don’t forget the state tourism offices. At any given time, there may be journalists and bloggers visiting from around the nation and other parts of the world, and if they’re visiting your town, consider hosting their stay or a meal. This gives the writers a first-hand experience to share with their audience and ties you to the town or region they’re covering. It’s worth the expense of offering complimentary rooms and meals when you receive coverage that can lead to new clients.
We recently hosted a writer touring Chicago and Galena with the State of Illinois Tourism officials and writing for several luxury publications in the United Kingdom. She immediately posted a photo of her room at Goldmoor Inn on her widely followed Instagram account, and we’ve already discussed the importance of being social.
We also enlisted a professional public relations team to represent us with outbound pitches to media, enticing them to visit our property and share with their audience. Recently, our PR team invited a weekend getaway writer from Milwaukee to stay with us. My husband and I shared dinner and stories, and offered him an overnight accommodation. His resulting story in the Milwaukee newspaper created immediate action, and we’ve since booked two new couples’ stays and hosted a surprise birthday dinner with four guestrooms for one night. They wouldn’t have known about us without this coverage.
That said, know that just because you host a writer for dinner or overnight you are not guaranteed coverage or positive coverage. The third-party evaluation holds weight for a reason as readers trust a story over a paid ad where the owner can share the business in only its best light.
3. Promote your own events
With PR and social media buzz in mind, be aware of the events happening in your area that you can connect with. We are hosting a wine dinner with a local winery the night before the Corkless in Galena wine festival so we can be included in the big PR efforts promoted through the city and tourism entities, but also so we can promote another event on our property and potentially earn our own media coverage.
Consider creating events that are newsworthy on your own property that help you stand out. Understand the logistics, staffing and products or services you’ll need to present a flawless event and ensure you’re not losing money in the meantime. Our Classic Movies Under the Stars event invites locals and visitors to enjoy some freshly popped popcorn and a double feature in our alfresco venue, the Pavilion, so with little added expense or personnel we can promote an event that’s already received media coverage in a national newspaper syndicate. We have yet to determine if people will clamor to see the stars of the silver screen under the celestial lights above, but we hope this is just another way our future guests will find us.
After 25 years operating corporate hotels and food and beverage entities, Birgit Radin and her husband Slobo pursued their dream of inn ownership. Birgit earned a certified hotel business and management degree from the Hotel Business and Management School in Villingen, Germany, and has worked in key management roles on three continents, led several transition teams throughout her career, and managed hundreds of millions of dollars in renovation and repositioning projects along that path. Today, she and Slobo operate an 18-suite property which includes two log cabins and three English cottages plus indoor/outdoor event venues all situated on 21-acres overlooking the Mississippi River Valley in Galena, Illinois. Reach her at email@example.com. To learn more about the Goldmoor Inn, visit www.goldmoor.com.
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