Hotels (and the hospitality industry in general) may not be the quickest adopters of technology and “e” trends…but the industry has no shortage of creative and talented people. Branding and marketing is also cutting edge in the industry, especially with the new trends in luxury and lifestyle branding.
So it’s quite dissapointing that hotels are yet to make a mark where viral marketing is concerned! Other industries have made their foray into this new and unpredicatable arena… and many have tried and failed…and then again, there have been some dazzling successes. But where are all the creative minds in hospitality when it comes to online viral marketing? Are hotels scared of the fickle, short-lived and volatile nature of viral marketing? Too risky an attempt at brand management? What do YOU think?
For those unacquainted with the world of Viral Marketing, I’m sure your initiation will be an exciting one! Viral marketing is essentially as the title suggests…marketing messages that are so exciting / funny / interesting that users voluntarily pass on the same to everyone they know…hence spreading the word “virally”. A more boring description would be as such, as offered on Wikipedia:
Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages. The basic form of viral marketing is not infinitely sustainable. It is claimed that a customer tells an average of three people about a product or service he/she likes, and eleven people about a product or service which he/she did not like. Viral marketing is based on this natural human behavior. The goal of marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to identify individuals with high Social Networking Potential (SNP) and create Viral Messages that appeal to this segment of the population and have a high probability of being passed along. The term “viral marketing” is also sometimes used pejoratively to refer to stealth marketing campaigns —the use of varied kinds of astroturfing both online and offline  to create the impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm.
Some classic examples of successful Viral Marketing campaigns:
The Subservient Chicken by Burger King
An attempt by Expedia
Advert for Ramadan by Nando’s
…and many more!
So the question is…where are all the Hotel Viral Ads? If you’ve come across great hotel viral ads please do let us know by commenting below! We’d also love to hear your viral marketing ideas for hotels and hospitality!
Happy Viral Brainstorming!