15-20 per cent of the F&B revenue comes from social media platforms: Vikalp Raj

Hotels have been able to generate good number of leads and revenue in various segments like F&B, rooms, social events and more by curating special packages and offerings to cater guests on social media. In the third interview of the series on social media marketing, Vikalp Raj, Director of Sales Marketing, Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway, shares his inputs.

How is social media marketing helping you?
Social media marketing has been an integral part of our hotels marketing strategy since inception. It has helped us reach audiences of all geographies through Geo targeted campaigns and regular organic engagement. More than ever we have realised the need of engaging with our audiences on social media during these trying times. Social media has helped us build confidence amongst the guests, and we have been able to generate good number of leads and revenue in various segments like F&B, rooms, social events and more by curating special packages and offerings to cater to our guests. With the starting of home delivery services, we have launched the concept of brunch at home, since not everyone is comfortable to visit the restaurant. Social media has helped a lot with fetching over 50 orders every month for brunches and packed boxes. It also contributes to 6-7per cent of total room nights we close every month. With regular posting, we try to be always connected with our patrons and keep them abreast with all new offerings at the hotel.  

What are the trending and most searched terms for social media marketing for hotels?
 Some of the most searched and trending terms are hotels, hotels near me, 5- star hotels, hotel deals, hotel bookings etc. These terms are the trending ones while someone is looking to book a hotel or plan their vacation. Due to the current pandemic situation, guests are now more focused on the safety measures being adopted at various hotels. Understanding that almost everyone has been at home during the lockdown and travel plans were postponed, people are following the current ‘work-from-home’ concept. Most of the hospitality establishments have started to roll out safe staycation and workcation offers which has made it one of the most searched terms on social media. Terms like safe stay, hygienic hotel, safe staycation etc. are gaining popularity.
 Which according to you is the most suitable medium for social media marketing? LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or twitter?
 According to me the most suitable platform for social media marketing is Instagram and LinkedIn. This sole reason is that Instagram has the highest number of young users from all parts of the world. The youth spends more time on Instagram than any other social media platform and to market a product or a service, one does not need to run a sponsored ad to get a high reach on Instagram but investing money is a must on Facebook to get the desired reach. LinkedIn is the perfect platform to reach out to the corporate clientele which contributes to a major portion in the hotel’s business. Offerings and deals marketed through LinkedIn can help in achieving great numbers if targeted to the right set of corporates.

Do you feel that in any way you are eroding the privacy of guests by connecting with them on social media?
 No, I do not feel that we are eroding the privacy of the guests in any way. We directly connect with the guests only after they approach us, or they enquire about a certain service or a product. We directly do not connect with any of our followers as they might not be interested, and it might have a negative impact on our reputation.  
 In your experience, what percentage of social media marketing converts into sales?

 The conversion of social media marketing to sales varies from segment to segment. The percentage of sales conversion for home delivery of our weekend brunches is higher from our regular home delivery orders. Conversion percentage of our rooms business is lesser than F&B. This happens because of the price quotient. Guests are more comfortable to spend a lesser amount of money after looking at an Advertisement or a post on social media rather than spending a higher amount. Usually 6-7 per cent of the room revenue comes from our social media platforms and around 15-20 per cent of the F&B revenue comes from social media. A lot of people dine in at our restaurants just because they saw our post and got to know about a particular food festival or any exclusive offering. 


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