What Hotel Impossible Taught Me about SMS Marketing
Have you ever watched the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible? It’s a show where the host, Anthony Melchiorri, tries to help save hotels that are failing. Much of the time, he finds that they’re not clean, poorly maintained or there’s ineffective management. But he also finds that many hotels spend way too much time and money on marketing in the wrong place: social media. Here’s how it usually plays out:
Melchiorri asks about marketing and where their time and effort is going.
The hotel owner answers “social media” – Facebook primarily.
He shakes his head in frustration and the owner will defend themselves saying they have “thousands” of followers.
That’s when he hits them with the big question:
“How many bookings did you get from Facebook last year?”
Most don’t know the answer, some will guess they a get few.
He goes on to make the point that social media has its place, but it isn’t where you make money.
Episode after episode I see it: Struggling hotels paying a ton of money for social media marketing – and getting next to nothing from it. For the hotel, and many other industries, social media is more about brand awareness, lead generation and, at some level, relationships.
But there’s a channel that lets you build relationships, loyalty and make money – and that’s SMS marketing.
The Trouble with Social Media
A recent OFCOM report showed 77% of UK SMEs use social media as their primary digital marketing tactic. After watching Melchiorri, I started to wonder if there is a better way to invest some of that marketing money?
To answer that we need to change his question just a little bit to: “How much money did you make from social media last year?”
Perhaps you can answer that for your business. If you’re getting a high return on investment (ROI) then social is certainly working for you – just be sure you’re measuring ROI and not engagement, reach, or “likes”. Those are important, but don’t translate easily into an assessment of ROI.
A recent study by the Direct Marketing Association found that only 48% of marketers felt they received any return on investment. Another third basically said they weren’t sure. It’s possible to measure how effective your social media strategy is, but it can be complicated, especially for an SME that may or may not have the resources.
SMS Marketing Benefits
Now, contrast that with SMS marketing.
Mobile marketing, including SMS, has consistently been growing. One study showed 77% of marketers claim to have good ROI with SMS. That’s up 147% over the year before, and certainly higher than the 48% for social media.
In that same study, 50% said mobile marketing (including SMS) was directly linked to their primary revenue. And that would make Melchiorri very happy. That’s because another thing he does is remind the hotel owners that their objective is to make money. Isn’t that true for any SME?
So, if you’re not seeing great ROI from social media (or don’t know if you are), and you want to grow your revenue, consider using SMS marketing. While nothing in life is guaranteed, SMS is a better bet for completing sales than social media.
Even if your social media is doing fabulous, you might also want to start experimenting with SMS. Just think what could happen if you turned those thousands of Facebook fans or Twitter followers into buyers on your SMS list. That sounds like a win-win situation Melchiorri would love.
To learn more download our free “Hotel Marketer’s Guide to SMS Marketing“.
SMS messaging can be a one-way, or a two-way affair. Sending coupons, sale notifications, or event announcements are all one-way messaging. The recipient doesn’t need to reply in order to use the information sent. In two-way messaging though, recipients can reply to your messages. And that makes it much more interesting, engaging, and potentially a lot more work to manage.
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
Now that the peak travel season is over, how can travel agents stay top of mind in their customers? If you look around, you’ll notice everyone seems to have a mobile. That means SMS is the perfect way to reach them and make sure you’re not forgotten.
So many of us are used to having our mobiles around nearly 24 hours a day that it’s easy to forget it’s still a growing industry. And though SMS has been around for over two decades, the ways we use it and people’s willingness to use it continues to grow. So for this blog I picked out five facts about mobile and SMS that really make the case that SMS for business has come of age. Let’s see if you agree.
Festival season is upon us! Experienced festival organisers predict that to be successful you need more than just music. You’ll need to offer an experience to your attendees. In the last blog I covered some of the reasons for that, and ideas on how to start building your SMS marketing list before your festival begins. In part 2, we’ll take a look at how to use SMS to create engaging experiences for attendees while they are at your festival, and even after they leave.
SMS marketing has seen a huge uplift in popularity in recent years, with big brands investing in the technology to better engage with their customers. There are so many benefits of SMS marketing, from the ability to directly to reach customers with your communications, to the fact that over 80% of SMS texts are read. With over approximately 90% of the world receiving mobile coverage, you’re highly likely to be able to reach your audience, regardless of where they are. SMS marketing is cost effective, and campaigns are quick to develop, in as short a time period as the time it takes to write a text message. This gives you the advantage of being able to communicate quickly, and effectively with customers, reacting to information almost instantaneously. With so many reasons to use SMS marketing, we’ve highlighted four sectors successfully using SMS messaging as case studies to highlight the advantages of investing in the technology.
Online travel and review sites are great for travellers. They are good for hotels too, but they offer a double edged sword. User reviews are unfiltered – that is the travellers can say whatever they like both good and bad. And managing a bad review can be difficult, but how can SMS help?