4 key insights into social advocacy for hotels

There are a ton of social networks out there, each intending to do different things and appeal to different demographics. But as a hotel, which ones should you really care about? The answer to this question depends largely on who you ask. I could lecture about what I think are the best choices but I find it’s a lot more fun (and relevant) to simply look at the data—and we have lots of data.

Flip.to has been the advocacy platform for hotels and theme parks for over five years. In that time we’ve helped our clients connect with their guests in meaningful ways. In doing so, we’ve been able to collect a huge amount of data, and observe how the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) social networks, well, work.

Here’s how we define social engagement, plus 4 key takeaways to pull back the shroud, and help guide your hotel’s social engagement efforts with your guests.

Social Engagement

Social Sharing

In Flip.to’s space, a “share” is defined as someone who’s booked a room at your property and then told their friends and family about it using a social network. Sharing is crucial because it represents the “top-of-funnel” when we’re talking about advocacy. These advocates’ voices are powerful, delivering an impactful message that comes from a trusted friend rather than a corporation.
Facebook Stat OneWhen it comes to sharing, Facebook is the clear winner. This isn’t a big shock because Facebook is arguably, if not absolutely, the most popular social network in most parts of the world today. What’s interesting here is just how popular it is relative to Twitter and LinkedIn. Facebook represents nearly 58% of all sharing through the Flip.to platform. Twitter is a distant second at 27%, and LinkedIn represents the remainder.

Social Connectedness

When we talk about social connectedness, what we’re really saying is “reach.” High sharing volume is great, but paired with massive reach it’s even more powerful.

In the last five years, Flip.to has helped its customers reach over 60 million connections through advocacy.

So how does that break down by network?

Again, Facebook rules the roost. Of those 60 million connections, 69% can be attributed to Facebook.  Twitter is an even more distant second with about 25%, and LinkedIn rounds out the balance. It’s important to note that the difference between first and second here is significant. Not only does Facebook represent more social connections, it represents more connections per advocate as well—creating a multiplier effect.

Unique Visitors

Any time an advocate shares an upcoming trip to a social network, there’s an invitation for her connections to visit the property’s website and learn more. Plus there’s an incentive attached to entice that person to book in the future. Driving traffic to the property’s website means there’s an opportunity to win over this prospect and secure a sale down the road, cutting out any intermediaries.

Twitter Stat OneHere’s where our journey gets really interesting. At the time of this analysis, Flip.to had generated over 2 million unique visitors for its customers. Of those 2 million, nearly 60% came from Twitter.  Facebook, now the distant second, represented about 34%. Despite creating the majority of advocates and despite those advocates representing greater social reach than all others, Facebook could not deliver the same volume of website traffic that Twitter could.

Potential Future Guests

Once a friend or family member lands on the property’s website, a customized message invites them to sign-up and lock in an incentive for a future stay. Those that sign-up represent a pool of potential future travelers for the property. They’ve been given the best introduction possible—that of a trusted source—and now they have an incentive in-hand to experience the property for themselves. For the hotel, the marketing potential here is huge, so capturing those sign-ups is critical.

Facebook Stat Two

Facebook manages to pull ahead again here by a large margin. 62% of all sign-ups originated from a Facebook post. Taking it a bit further, about 12% of all advocacy originating from Facebook will result in a sign-up on the hotel’s website. With Twitter it’s closer to 3% and with LinkedIn it’s nearly spot-on 2%.  LinkedIn did manage to close the gap as we moved through the conversion funnel.

Key Insights to Guide Your Hotel’s Social

Know (and be) where your guests are

With the majority of social advocacy taking place on Facebook and Twitter it’s safe to conclude your guests are active on these social networks so you should be too. There’s more to it than just having a presence but that’s a discussion for another time. If you’re looking to invest in one over the other, Facebook is likely your best route but it’s critical you understand your customer demographic before diving in.  Don’t assume one is the clear winner every time.

(Relevant) Content is King

People are better connected via Facebook than they are through either Twitter or LinkedIn. Since we know they prefer to share via Facebook, this means that sharing relevant, meaningful content with your audience can be more impactful through this channel. Take advantage of the multiplier I mentioned and ensure that your message is hitting home.

Posts that include photos receive 120% more engagement than the average post.
Via BitRebels

Tailor messages based on the channel and the audience

Twitter is a massive broadcasting tool that makes up for fewer connections, but with a more active audience. We demonstrated that you can effectively drive direct traffic by taking advantage of your guests’ connectedness over Twitter.

While it may not convert at the same level as Facebook, there’s something to be said about volume. Adjusting your messaging on that channel can help to improve conversion and bridge the gap. Additionally, Twitter was designed to be a conversational tool, unlike the other channels. When you’ve been tagged in a tweet that’s an open invitation to engage in a conversation with that person. Each subsequent tweet can reach that same audience time and time again.

Know how to convert social traffic

The Facebook crowd is more likely to convert and sign-up on your website, underscoring the importance of this channel. It may not bring as many people to your site as Twitter does, but those that come are there for a reason.

Understanding where these potential future guests are in the travel booking process is crucial. Be sure to have content on your website that appeals to a socially-minded audience. A sign-up for an offer they can claim on a future trip, for instance, may be more relevant to this viewer. This not only keeps people on your site longer, it improves conversion. Lookers turn into bookers when they see an experience that’s aspirational and attainable. Seeing that experience through the eyes of former guests is as real as it can get without being there yourself. So consider your on-site messaging and what story it’s telling your potential guests.

The biggest lesson from this analysis is that it’s immensely important that hotels understand their guests and that they make some effort to tap into their guests’ social connectedness.

Every guest that walks through a hotel’s door represents an opportunity to create the experience that guest is expecting.

Hotels are great at this. But thinking beyond the on-property experience, every guest represents a social network of their own, like-minded friends and family. Tapping into that network can yield great benefits when done thoughtfully.

Be a part of the future of hotel marketing and revenue management with RevPAR Hacking

Hot off the press from Flip.to and industry leaders, RevPAR Hacking is the ultimate guide to the impact of revenue culture. Not only will readers get insight from leading experts in their field, but they’ll also learn the tips and tools to put them at the forefront of hotel marketing and revenue management.

RevPAR Hacking Cover

Download RevPAR Hacking to learn about the impact of revenue culture, plus the thoughtful approaches to get you there.

So what does it mean for a hotel to have a revenue culture?

By aligning collective goals, teams work together as they aspire to generate the most revenue—and the entire organization will reap the rewards. In fact, so will the guests, as there will be more resources available to serve their needs. A revenue culture spans everyone responsible for driving the hotel’s bottom line—marketing, e-commerce, revenue management and sales succeed by sharing revenue considerations at every level of their strategy.

To go further, guest data and revenue data should inform one another at every level. A comprehensive revenue approach to this degree will not only align your teams, it’ll also target the most profitable business for your hotel—the right guest at the right price.

In RevPAR Hacking, industry thought leaders open up on how they’ve created a growth-minded revenue culture that has set up their teams for success. These models shed light on the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’ of revenue culture, but also why it’s a valuable (and inevitable) shift for hotels who continue to seek growth.

A revenue culture that aligns your hotel’s goals will be a key driver of success—your team, your guests, and your bottom line will all win.

See for yourself how RevPAR Hacking reveals the impact of revenue culture, plus the thoughtful approaches to get you there.

Seeing is believing

5 ways to target the right guest for your hotel using advocacy

Advocacy works for all types of hotels—the friends, relatives & colleagues of your guests are the perfect demographic for your hotel to reach. Whether your hotel fits in the business, leisure, resort, limited service or luxury markets, you have the ability to make trusted introductions to entirely new audiences of future guests with an advocacy campaign.

Your guests are already sharing their travels—get them talking about their stay too. Check out some tips below on how your hotel can reach the right guest by marketing with advocacy:

  1. Connect the right guest with the right incentive for the best engagement. Two glasses of wine may engage guests booking a romance package to advocate more than a flat discount off of food & beverage (perhaps better suited to a family). Likewise, business travelers may enjoy a complimentary room upgrade or loyalty points.
  2. Tailor guest share messaging for your brand. Your guests have like-minded travelers in their networks. Don’t be afraid to play up your guest share to build stronger connections with potential future guests. Just remember to keep it conversational—this message is coming from your guests on your behalf, not the other way around.
  3. Enhance your advocacy strategies to optimize results. Pre-stay, Post-stay, and Photo Advocacy are all great experiences to engage your guests at different times of their travel. For example, guests love sharing moments at spectacular leisure destinations. Adding Photo Advocacy would be a great fit for this type of property. Our advocology experts can help guide you through the process of putting the best campaign together for your hotel.
  4. Engage top advocates even further. Some of your advocates have astounding reach! With the Flip.to dashboard, you can easily sort by top advocates. Keep an eye out at check-in for these notable guests (our handy front-desk guest-list email will help, too) and make their trip a bit more special. Building these connections convert your guests into even greater promoters of your brand (and even co-creators,) giving them further reason to continue to advocate for your hotel.
  5. Don’t forget to share! When your guests supply your hotel valuable moments from their stay in the way of photos and quotes, share! These authentic moments are perfectly suited to share to your own network and reinforce what’s unique about your experience. Plus, it’s built right into the platform—click to curate in just a few moments.

It’s important to remember that when you target guests using advocacy, you have the ability to be strategic across campaigns, incentives, share messages, and more. This will further optimize your outreach across your different markets. These small efforts can mean a big boost in engagement and revenue for your hotel!

Flip.to is “secret sauce” for The Oliver Hotel’s off the charts guest engagement & room sales boost

The Oliver Hotel joined forces in 2012 with Flip.to to help spread the word about its updated Southern charm, sophistication and amenities


ORLANDO, FL – DECEMBER 2014 – The Oliver Hotel, a historic, boutique hotel in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, underwent renovation and renaming in 2011. The hotel joined forces in 2012 with Flip.to, the brand advocate platform, to help spread the word about its updated Southern charm, sophistication and amenities.

The Oliver Hotel
The Oliver Hotel

The partnership has been so successful that the 28-room hotel booked an astounding 430 room nights through Flip.to’s guest advocacy in the past year.

“Flip.to is The Oliver Hotel’s secret sauce. We hate to give away the recipe but Flip.to is the future of hotel social media,” said Mike Riley, GM of The Oliver Hotel. “Our engagement rate is off the charts, and Flip.to has lead to at least a direct 5% increase in total annual room sales, not to mention the word of mouth it creates down the line.

“Furthermore, Flip.to gives us an easy way to immediately gauge guest feedback the moment they step out the front door. If you don’t believe me, check out the front page of our website – it’s like our very own TripAdvisor,” added Riley.

Right at the time of booking, Flip.to encourages guests to share their upcoming trip to The Oliver Hotel with their social connections around the world. This drives friends and relatives to a uniquely personalized hotel website experience and leads them down the path of becoming future guests.

The Oliver Hotel
Oliver Royale

“When guests love a hotel, they want to let everyone know,” said Debi Moses, Senior Director of Sales for Flip.to. “And The Oliver Hotel is a hotel guests love. Flip.to offers a way to share that excitement in a way where everybody wins – guests, friends, and the hotel’s bottom line.”

To find out more about how Flip.to can help create a significant, measurable impact for your hotel, please get in touch with Debi Moses at dmoses@flip.to or visit www.flip.to.

Flip.to & Vizergy partner to help hotels turn guest referrals into a powerful new business channel

Flip.to partners with Vizergy, the leading partner in hotel internet marketing

ORLANDO, FL – NOVEMBER 2014Flip.to is proud to announce its most recent strategic partnership with Vizergy, the hospitality industry’s leading partner in hotel internet marketing. Flip.to, the brand advocate platform, turns hotel guests into a huge, trusted extension of a hotel’s marketing force, boosting brand awareness and earning new guests around the world.

Vizergy has partnered with Flip.to on multiple fronts, ranging from a new product offering within Vizergy’s best-in-class suite of marketing services, to a seamless integration with Secure-Res, their globally respected booking platform. This partnership has allowed Vizergy clients to take full advantage of the Flip.to brand advocate platform and has laid the foundation for hotels to earn increased customer engagement and generate new guests, with the help of their existing guests.

Since partnering, Vizergy has integrated Flip.to on a number of customer websites, as well as a variety of booking engines. The roster of Vizergy’s customers that have opted to integrate this service into their online strategy continue to see added revenue gains and increased traffic due to viral marketing. These successes are driven by the performance of the Flip.to platform and its ability to create uniquely personalized messaging for guests of each specific hotel property.

“Flip.to and Vizergy are proactively working together to design an integrated platform that has a real impact for our mutual customers based on what’s best suited for each one. Our mission is to help hotels earn new guests and we’re laser-focused on doing just that everyday,” said Edward St.Onge, President of Flip.to.

“We are thrilled to continue partnering with innovative new social platforms such as Flip.to,” said Robert Arnold, President of Vizergy. “As guests become increasingly vocal in the social sphere, it is critical to bring new and unique products to the table that will allow our clients to maximize booking potential and enhance relevant and targeted messaging for their properties. Flip.to delivers that added benefit of trusted word-of-mouth marketing, and we look forward to providing this service to many more of our socially savvy hotel clientele.”

Flip.to drives off-season bookings with the help of peak season guests of KeyLime Cove

Flip.to helps KeyLime Cove get unusually high bookings in slow season

Indoor Waterpark
Indoor Waterpark at KeyLime Cove

ORLANDO, FL – OCTOBER 2014 – Within one month of launching Flip.to during their peak summer season, guests of KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort spread the word about their upcoming trip to over a hundred thousand friends and family around the country, driving future bookings for a time of year that is typically a little slower.

“KeyLime Cove launched Flip.to toward the end of a busy occupancy period. Not only did we have nearly 30% of online guests sharing their visit on social media, but we saw a nice boost in inbound visitors to our website and to our Facebook business page,” said Jennifer Evans, Marketing Manager for KeyLime Cove.

“Our team was thrilled with how guests embraced the opportunity for interaction. At the end of the day, it’s about ROI – and we’ve got future bookings during non-peak periods to validate that Flip.to works,” said Evans.

“Guests who share during the peak season reach more connections who may make future plans during your slow season,” said Debi Moses, Senior Director of Sales for Flip.to.

Duval Street at KeyLime Cove
Duval Street at KeyLime Cove

“Whether it’s your peak or non-peak season, Flip.to helps reach an extraordinarily wide audience of friends and family thanks to your advocates, and brings those new connections back to your website for future bookings. And that is a very good thing for your bottom line.”

To find out more about how Flip.to can help create a significant, measurable impact for your hotel, please get in touch with Debi Moses at dmoses@flip.to or visit www.flip.to.