Here at 5 Star Stories we often hear people say: “I have a blog but I never know what to write.” Or we get asked the question: “How do I increase the engagement on my social media?” As we focus on marketing for travel and lifestyle businesses, it is often lodge owners or marketers that we are dealing with. And the good news is that we have some easy solutions for them! Selling travel is a joy; the beautiful pictures, the inspiring stories and the drool-worthy videos are right there at your fingertips – you just have to know where to look.
Here are five great places that you can easily source fabulous content for your lodge.
1. Your staff
Some of the best content we have seen has come from the staff at lodges. We can bet your bed nights that your chef has some killer recipes to share or perhaps even a hilarious tale of a kitchen rampage by a honey badger. Your barman could probably write an entire book on stunning sunset cocktails, and your receptionist can most likely whip up a stitch-inducing article on silly questions asked by guests at check-in. We reckon even your housekeeping and grounds staff have a few delights mixed in with that dirty dishwater. You just have to encourage them to share their stories and give them the platform to do so.
2. Your guides
Similar to your staff but backed up by the knowledge of the environment in which your lodge operates, your guides are some of your best content providers. They are out there every day performing game drives, bush walks or tours of your grounds and area, encountering unique stories to share around every corner. Make it easy for your guides to share their photos, videos and daily sojourns with your team and you will have content coming out of your ears. And reward them for it so they have motivation to do so – turn it into a competition to see who can get the most likes or comments or give a prize to the guide that submits the best photo at the end of the month.
3. Your guests
Even as you are reading this there are guests at your lodge taking pictures of their food, their rooms, and themselves, and sharing these images with their friends, family and followers. Harness this power of social storytelling by making it easy for your guests to include you in their stories. Give them free Wi-Fi so they are able to do your marketing for you, and make sure your social media handles and hashtags are clearly visible in their rooms and in common areas. You can even ask your guests to share their photos with you at check-out or even better, host photo-sharing evenings where guests can share their images with each other and your team during their stay. Just be sure to get their permission to use these in your own advertising first if you plan to do so!
4. Your community
Your social media followers don’t just want to see your content, they are also happy to share their own. Short on fabulous images of your establishment? Host a competition where past guests can win a stay if they send through amazing pictures of their previous trip. Looking for new stories? Ask your audience for their favourite sighting they had at your lodge and use their comments to compile a blog post. The opportunities to harness content from your own community are truly endless.
The right influencer can be an amazing source of engaging content for your platforms. Be sure to hook up with a credible blogger/photographer/videographer/journalist that has access to the channels you want to be on and, most importantly, where your audience hangs out. You don’t need to go for the one with the largest following – choosing an influencer wisely can be a better, more profitable solution. Foodies love your lodge? Then choose an Instagrammer with a focus on good food and wine. Do you offer fantastic facilities for families? Then maybe a mommy blogger is more your style. Whoever you decide to use, make sure you do your research and have contracts in place so that everyone is clear on expectations right from the start.