Digital Strategy

October 25, 2023

Measuring Social Media ROI in the Travel Industry

Are you obsessed with the idea of mastering the art of social media for your travel or hospitality business? Well, you’re in for an ultra-informative ride! Measuring social media ROI might sound like a digital puzzle, but trust me, you’ve got this! I’m here to guide you through the metrics, so you can finally see the results of your hard work; because after all, what’s the point of doing it all if it isn’t driving results?

Social Media ROI – The Basics

First things first, let’s break down the basics. Social media ROI is like the golden ticket to understanding the value of your social presence. For the ultimate beginners, ROI stands for Return On Investment. It’s all about figuring out what you get back from the time, effort, cost and resources you invest in social media. Think of it as the traveller’s compass pointing you to success.

You Are So Ready for This!

If you’re thinking, “I’ve got followers, I’ve got likes, but what’s the real deal?” You’re already on the right track. You’re ready to dive into the nitty-gritty of ROI measurement, and that’s what I’m going to help you with today, okay?

aerial view of laptop, coffee and success notebook

Defining Your Goals

Before you start crunching numbers (trust me, it’s not hard like it sounds), you need to define your goals. Are you looking to boost bookings, increase website traffic, or grow your brand’s awareness? Knowing your objectives is the first step in unlocking your social media’s potential. If you’re a small business, I recommend buying yourself a white board and just start brainstorming. You’ll want to make sure your goals for social media align with your overall business objectives and are also achievable. Here are my top three tips for defining your goals and I’ll create a bigger blog post on this:

  1. Start with SMART Goals: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Make sure your objectives meet these criteria. For example, instead of a vague goal like “Get more social media followers,” opt for a SMART goal like “Increase Instagram followers by 20% over the next three months.”
  2. Align with Business Goals: Your social media objectives should support your broader business objectives. For example, if your business goal is to boost online sales, a corresponding social media objective might be to increase website traffic from social media platforms or to enhance your social media advertising for product promotion.
  3. Prioritise Based on Impact: Evaluate the potential impact of each objective on your business. Focus on objectives that will have the most significant positive impact. If you’re a small business, it’s often better to concentrate your efforts on a few key objectives rather than spreading your resources too thin.

Obsessed with Metrics

To measure social media ROI effectively, you’ll want to get a little obsessed with metrics. Here’s a quick rundown of the key ones:

  1. Conversion Rate: Track how many social media visitors take desired actions, like booking a room or signing up for a newsletter.
  2. Click-Through Rate (CTR): Measure the percentage of users who clicked on your content to visit your website.
  3. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Calculate the long-term value of customers acquired through social media.
  4. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Determine how much it costs to gain a customer through your social efforts.

Tools of the Trade

Luckily, there are plenty of seriously informative tools to help you track these metrics. Google Analytics and social media management platforms like Hootsuite and Later are a few of my besties in this ROI journey, but there’s hundreds to choose from. They give you the data you need to see which posts, campaigns, or platforms are bringing in the results. Most will allow you to download a csv file to see your data in an easy-to-manage excel sheet, and, if you’re more visual, I like to take screenshots of the handy graphs and polls that make reading the numbers SO much easier.

Evaluating the Numbers

Once you’ve got the data, it’s time to evaluate. Are your efforts aligning with your goals? If the numbers don’t add up, it’s time to adjust your strategy. Maybe you need to focus on different types of content, post at different times, or target a different audience. The beauty of social media is that it’s dynamic, and you can pivot as needed. Here are three methods for evaluating the data effectively:

  1. Focus on Key Metrics: Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that directly relate to your objectives. If your goal is to increase website traffic, for instance, concentrate on metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and website traffic sources on Google Analytics. For a goal related to engagement, you’ll want to look at metrics such as likes, saves, shares, comments, and reach which can be found on those social media management platforms or even on Instagram itself.
  2. Regularly Review and Adjust: Don’t just look at the numbers once and forget about them. Regularly review your data to identify trends and patterns. If you notice a particular type of content or posting schedule is performing exceptionally well, consider adjusting your strategy to capitalise on those insights. It’s SO important if you’re taking things seriously to create a performance report. Ideally this should be worked on weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly, but some businesses when starting out stick to monthly and yearly to get started.
  3. Experiment and A/B Testing: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different strategies. A/B testing allows you to compare the performance of different approaches. For example, you can test two variations of a Facebook ad to see which one generates a better CTR. Experimentation can help you optimise your content and strategies over time and is one of my favourite ways to generate results for the brands and businesses I work with.

Let’s Look at Some Winning Examples

Hotel Marketing on Instagram

Let’s say you run a cosy boutique hotel in a charming coastal town. You’re passionate about showcasing the serene beauty of your location, and you’re an Instagram aficionado. Your goal is to boost bookings for the upcoming summer season.

Defining Your Goals: Your objective is clear – increase bookings by 15% compared to last summer. You’re ready to make your Instagram feed an irresistible window into the seaside experience your hotel offers.

Obsessed with Metrics: You track your posts diligently. After implementing some eye-catching, user-generated content and partnering with local influencers, you notice a spike in engagement. Your conversion rate is up, and more guests are clicking through to your website to book. You’ve got the data to prove it.

Evaluating the Numbers: As the season progresses, you keep an eye on your metrics. If you notice a particular influencer’s posts drive the most bookings, you might decide to collaborate with them more frequently, or even make them a brand ambassador. If a certain type of content (say, sunsets over the ocean) gets the most likes, you’ll post more of that. You’re making data-backed decisions to continually improve.

Adventure Holidays on Facebook

Perhaps you manage a travel agency that specialises in world-class adventure trips like trekking and mountain biking. You’ve launched a Facebook (Meta) ad campaign to reach adventure enthusiasts.

Defining Your Goals: Your goal is to increase the number of enquiries for your adventure packages. You’ve got an “Enquire Now” button on your website for each trip, and you want Facebook users to click it.

Obsessed with Metrics: With Meta’s ad manager, you’re tracking the click-through rate (CTR) and the cost per acquisition (CPA) for each ad set. You’re closely monitoring which ad creatives, targeting options, and ad copy perform the best.

Evaluating the Numbers: After running the campaign for a few weeks, you notice that ads featuring stunning action shots of your adventure trips out-perform the ones with more generic travel imagery. Your CTR is higher, and your CPA is lower. It’s clear that adventure seekers are responding to the thrill of your trips. You decide to shift your ad budget toward those high-performing ads, ensuring you get the most return for your money.

Remember, social media ROI isn’t a one-and-done task. It’s an ongoing process. Keep refining your strategy and optimising your content. It’s all about maximising your return on investment over time.

So, there you have it – my not-so-secret formula to measuring social media ROI for your travel business. If you’re obsessed with the idea of success, you have the tools and knowledge to make it happen. You’ve got this, and I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way.