On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, likes, comments, mentions and reposts are the standard, sharable currency. Receiving recognition for a great post, photo or video is like your friends saying, “Good job!” For independent hotels, receiving positive feedback on content shared on their own pages is great, but the real value comes from what others say about them. When guests, followers and admirers post their experiences and thoughts about independent hotels online, their shared content is called Earned Digital Media.
Earned digital media is recognition earned for delivering memorable experiences that guests feel compelled to talk about online. It’s the final stage of the digital media cycle for independent hotels that begins with paid digital media, like online travel agents (OTAs) and digital ads, that drives guests to owned digital media assets, such as traditional and mobile websites, to capture bookings and then, if the guest experience is executed perfectly, results in great content posted by travelers on social media and review sites like TripAdvisor.
Independent hotels cannot purchase or directly produce earned digital media, but they can encourage and influence guests to share their thoughts by providing exceptional service and hospitality. With so much importance placed on, but very little control over, earned digital media, some may question its value, but here are 2 reasons why it is so important for independent hotels:
1) It cuts through the clutter: Consumers are hit with marketing messages 24/7/365 via the internet, TV, print media, etc., so many try to ignore the endless pitches for products and services. However, a great vacation and hotel review posted by a friend on Facebook is something they will likely pay attention to and read. Though the review is not viewed as marketing, it can have the same impact as a paid digital ad. This highlights the power of earned digital media, it has the ability to reach and influence consumers in ways that other types of media simply cannot match.
2) It lends your hotel credibility: The explosion of social media and review sites has completely changed how consumers collect and digest travel information. Today, travelers place great value in feedback left by other travelers, even though they’ve never met and don’t know each other’s preferences. However, what’s assumed is that since an effort was made to provide a glowing review, it must reflect the general guest experience. This change in consumer behavior has proven to be very beneficial for independent hotels, but it must be managed to ensure the impact remains positive. With more guests publically sharing their great experiences, independent hotels are able to leverage this earned digital media and elevate their reputations online and increase bookings on-property.
Learn more about marketing your independent hotel online to travelers around the world digital by downloading a free copy of our Earned Digital Media & Marketing Tips for Independent Hotels report today.