Getting it right: value-added hospitality content marketing

March 1, 2017 | MediaPost | by Roberto Villazón

Content is ubiquitous. Currently, it seems like everything posted online falls within the category of content. However, content marketing speaks specifically to the multi-sensory messages created by brands for consumption by a targeted audience.

The proliferation of content marketing was undoubtedly facilitated by the internet. Brands now have a reach unlike their predecessors in traditional media where marketers were restricted to print, television and radio. Now, the methods follow myriad media of content creation and distribution. Personalization is the driving force behind true content engagement. This is where a brand really matches audience behavior analytics with creative content that truly resonates on a personal level.

When it comes to the hospitality industry, content marketing should be about selling experiences. Whether you are using podcasts, microsites, landing pages and a blend of media within your integrated approach, you are responsible for delivering a feeling of fun and good times. Travelers and patrons of your restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals want to make their experiences memorable — your content should reflect this sentiment.

Niche content wrapped into a brand’s marketing persona is a proven way to generate traffic and user engagement. For example, does your audience like EDM (Electronic Dance Music)? Then how are you generating content based on their interests? Focusing a microsite to showcase the hottest DJs, festivals and music tracks being released could be a viable start. Create playlists of exclusive music tracks just for your target audience or have fans share their favorite tracks they enjoy while on vacation or on that special excursion. This should all feel organic and experiential.

The microsite is not the only latest and greatest strategy for increasing those audience engagement numbers. Wrapping branded experiences within uniquely created content published through these websites can be a very effective way to boost sales, brand awareness and brand loyalty. Hospitality brands can run multiple microsites to reach consumers and the various audience segments they hope to attract.

The emphasis should be on reaching your audience based on their interests. Creating and delivering content that your audience can use to plan, experience, and then share their experiences is how you make your content sticky. If you make your content as irresistible as your branded experiences, consumers will keep coming back for more.

Gamification of branded content can also be an effective way to give your consumers a voice in your marketing campaigns’ narratives. Games are instantly high-engagement tools, especially when easily accessible on mobile with multiplayer capabilities, which doubles as a social network and active digital community.

Gone are the days when you only spoke to consumers in one directional and single communicator manner. Through feedback and user-generated content, consumers expect to be heard and their opinions respected. When done correctly, user-generated content provides a wealth of research material and ideas for implementing your next marketing campaign.

And how to you directly speak to your consumers? Social media is the easy guess, but knowing how each network handles content, media formats and audience specific interests, is the best way to plan your content marketing approach.

Distribution is your choice of pathways to your consumers. Where are your consumers active or perhaps dormant and waiting for your branded content? Distributing the same content simultaneously across multiple channels is not always a sound strategy, remember, the medium also dictates the method of distribution. How you repurpose your content from blog posts to updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and so on, should reflect the culture of the distribution channel. Optimizing the effectiveness of your distribution process is deeply rooted in the data.

The New York Times’ recent partnership with Spotify is a great example of how brands can create distribution opportunities by thinking outside of their industry or core business. Whether creating innovative branded hotels and travel experiences with iconic fashion brands, creating a niche digital publication based on your customers’ interests or using unconventional ways to deliver your content, your content marketing should add value to the lives of your target audience. Value-added hospitality content marketing and distribution can produce measurable outcomes and repeatable customer engagements.

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