To pursue branding objectives and create customer awareness, spreading the word about your services and creating brand curiosity plays a crucial role in business growth. By this, you actually connect the dots between consumers’ needs and the quality of services you deliver.
People prefer you over others only when they think your brand is popular among other customers too. Not to mention, they actually take time to know what others feel about your service.
This creates an environment that invites inquiry and drives more customer flow. Also, it’s important to satisfy your existing customers so that they not only recommend your services to others but also act as a brand ambassador by spreading the word of mouth.
Word of mouth is a dominant key factor in compelling customers to make a decision. However, not many hotels are betting on it, thinking it’s not something they have control over. But the reality is a tad bit different.
Let’s take a deep dive to understand the concept of word of mouth and its potential in the hospitality industry.
Why Does Word of Mouth Still Counts?
Word of mouth (WOM) has evolved and is not the same as it was decades ago. With the internet boom, the reach of WOM has increased tenfold.
The primary reason is that customers trust other customers. If the reviews are good you are going to get more customers turning to your services. Such is the impact of word of mouth in the hotel industry.
You only have to work on delivering quality service and WOM does the rest. It can rightly be called the most effective free advertising. In fact, it is the most powerful tool you have at your disposal and can turn out to be miraculous to your business.
The competition is fierce and businesses have to constantly stay ahead of their competitors. So the importance of word of mouth in the hospitality industry can’t be neglected.
What is Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM)?
Word of Mouth in the hospitality industry is basically about spreading information from one guest to another and WOMM is all about facilitating this communication. This kind of marketing is actually the publicity activities set by the company which encourages consumer to consumer or consumer to marketer communication.
WOMM is an influential form of marketing and it has been found that 92% of consumers trust other people’s views on a particular product or service before coming to a decision.
In recent times, it has gained good momentum and is becoming fruitful for businesses in today’s hyper-connected world.
Whatever you say or write about your brand or service is not as impactful as customers talking about their experiences is.
How Hotels Use Word of Mouth Marketing?
WOMM has enormous potential to develop brand loyalty and increase your hotel’s conversions and sales.
You can easily outshine the competition by working on certain parameters which will give the finest experience to your existing and potential guests and compel them to spread the word about it.
So, which are those parameters? Let’s see.
1. Be worthy so that consumers talk about your services
Providing top quality services is the key factor in building strong relationships and retaining your guests.
So, your only motto should be providing a world-class experience to your guests and what you will get in return is the positive views they share with others about your property.
These are the deciding factors and are worthy of your guests’ loyalty. A recent study shows that 68% of the customers think that any business’s customer service is the critical factor while making a purchase decision. It is better explained in the next point.
2. Add value and improve guest experience
Making your guests feel appreciated is the key. You can employ the following techniques to improve your quality of service.
- Communicate with them and know what they actually want.
- Keep your staff well mannered and use words like, Thank you, our apologies etc.
- Keep a measure of your customer service performance and evaluate it frequently.
- Add value to your service and strive towards giving an overwhelmingly positive experience to your guests. You can refer to our blog about enhancing hotel guest experience.
This will definitely give an overwhelming experience to your guests and they will definitely feel like talking about your service and sharing their experience with others.
3. Make the best use of social media and other channels
Social media is the hub of WOMM. It has a higher reach compared to other channels. People turn to social media to discuss all sorts of things and it’s the best media to share their views about a particular product or service.
Your website can also provide a platform for guests to share their views.
Satisfied guests take time to leave feedback on your website which portrays your business in the best light.
Another crucial and equally impactful area is blogging. People read blogs that are informative and bloggers act as influencers or brand ambassadors of a particular product or service.
In fact, bloggers are one of the effective word of mouth marketers as their content reaches the majority of online readers who then spread the information with their friends and other connections.
So the power of social media and other channels just cannot be underestimated.
4. Delight your guests with an emotional touch
Connect emotionally with your guests, such connection develops loyalty and establishes a bond with them. Guests will definitely share those experiences which promote high arousal and to which they feel emotionally attached to.
No one will take time to share an experience that was simply ‘OK’.
For example: If I come and stay at your hotel and you figure that it’s my birthday. You can just send a birthday cake to my room with a bottle of champagne as a gesture.
It’s also called personalisation and emotional investment and such gesture will compel me to share my experience and thus promote your services.
Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies for Hotels
A well-planned word of mouth marketing strategy can definitely create that required buzz among your potential guests. It is a long term profit-oriented strategy that helps you achieve your set goals.
There are various time tested word of mouth marketing strategies that are helping businesses to popularize their services among a huge target audience. Let’s see what those exactly are.
1. Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing is undoubtedly the most unsurpassed WOMM strategy. This kind of marketing is done with the help of ‘Influencers’, who basically are people with a strong follower list.
So when these ‘ Influencers’ recommend a particular brand or service, people trust them. This eventually leads to boosting your brand exposure, increasing your website visitors and getting you more conversion rates.
2. Referral programs
A referral program is a vital marketing strategy that provides incentives to existing and loyal customers to promote a brand or service. You might have seen an advertisement that says,
“Bring in your friends and get a 25% discount”.
Or it might also say,
“Refer our service to your friends and family and with each referral, you get $25 off on your next stay”.
It works this way, you identify your loyal customers and ask them to promote your services when they are most engaged with your brand. You can compliment them for being loyal and say that you will be happy to serve their other friends too.
Referral programs are one of the most cost-effective ways of gaining new customers. And it has been observed that businesses with referral programs saw 86% more revenue growth compared to others that didn’t have it.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another comprehensive word of mouth marketing strategy where ‘Affiliates’ are given a commission for every sale that occurred through their affiliate link.
These affiliates may be blog authors or social media influencers. Such popular affiliates have a huge following on social media or youtube and they can give access to a broad customer base as their followers have a high degree of trust in them. This works flawlessly and has helped many businesses drive more sales.
Businesses spending more on this type of marketing has increased ten folds in recent times. In fact, a study shows that it is estimated to grow up to $8.2 billion in 2022.
Among many business promotional strategies, word of mouth stands strong and has proved as one of the most effective strategies for achieving business growth.
Your best brand promoters are your loyal guests and it’s quite imperative that you give a mesmerizing experience to your guests so that they feel compelled to spread the word about your services.
Word of mouth holds enormous power and when considered and implemented in the best and most thoughtful manner can help your business to reach the pinnacle of success.
You can incorporate various WOMM strategies mentioned in this article and see their miraculous effects. Hope this guide helps you in knowing why word of mouth in the hospitality industry is an effective form of advertising in the hotel industry and how you can use it to your advantage.