Yes, OTAs are incredibly popular. But, as online reputation management company Revinate points out, they’re often the travel equivalent of Yellow Pages. Customers are initially using them to just research hotels’ rates and availability, without actually booking on them. If you can establish a social media relationship with customers at this point, you could still encourage them to book with you direct.
There are some new social commerce opportunities for retailers on the horizon. Not only are consumers spending more and more time with image-sharing social networks like Pinterest and Polyvore, they are clicking through to product websites quite frequently.
According to a March survey by Bizrate Insights, 32% of online buyers in North America have made a purchase as a result of seeing an image on a social image-sharing site, such as Pinterest. That includes 26% who were able to click through to the retailer from the image to make the purchase. 6% had to look for the product on another site as clicking the image did not take them to a retailer.
The latest (and most eye-catching) new entrant to the world of Social Media is Pinterest. Unsurprisingly, lots of businesses – including hotels and B&Bs – are currently scratching their heads to work out how they can use it for marketing.
In Part 2 of our interview, Heather and I discuss a variety of topics, including social media, business travellers and – deep breath – TripAdvisor. (You can read Part 1 here.)
1. I noticed that “Forfeng Consulting” helps with start-ups. Does this include business plans for B&B owners?
I do but also recommend that they get a business lawyer and CPA (Certified Public Accountant) involved to cover all their bases, money-wise and liability-wise.