Adler Hostel, established in 2012, is Singapore’s first luxury hostel and is a rising young brand. The Adler brand is about providing quality products and services with an affordable price tag, and it seeks to complete every urban traveler’s experience in Singapore with comfort and style. Its unique positioning as a ‘Poshtel’, or luxury hostel, is its key differentiating point amongst a sea of common backpackers’ inns and hostels in the scene.
Current Business Strategy
- One of the key challenge for Adler Hostel is a surge in number of new competitors competing in the premium hostel category. This has hence resulted in a price war amongst the competitors.
- Adler Hostel also faces low occupancy rates of approximately 50% during non-peak periods, however this is noted to be common across the hostel industry.
- Adler Poh maintains that his main business strategy has always been working on enhancing its services by investing its spending back on its customers rather than spending the budget on paid marketing or publicity. Past experience of ineffective paid marketing efforts contributed in shaping this mentality of Adler. He explained that while paid online advertisements on Facebook and Instagram generated impressions and engagements, none of which converted into actual hostel bookings. The lack of conversions and low Return of Investment (ROI) for the business is a great concern for Adler.
- As he understands the importance in creating 2-way communication channels with his customers, and engaging with them in after-services, he consistently responds to each and every review/ comment posted on Facebook and TripAdvisor.
How can Adler Hostel utilize social media to raise awareness of the “Poshtel” concept and build a strong brand community through word-of-mouth to ultimately drive conversion?
Adler Hostel’s current social media analysis
Adler Hostel currently manages an active Facebook page and Instagram account and its social media accounts are managed solely by the hostel’s CEO, Mr. Adler Poh. The content on both accounts tend to be repetitive, with similar content across both platforms. While Adler’s Facebook page and Instagram profile has about 7,200 fans and about 650 followers respectively, its organic reach (i.e. the number of unique people, fans or non-fans, who saw any content about their page) is relatively low.
Brand Awareness: Adler hostel has moderate brand awareness amongst the urban traveller crowd. Having been featured on Thai online travel blogs in January 2016, Adler has been receiving a steady stream of patrons from Thailand since then.
Brand Engagement: Adler hostel has low brand engagement on its Facebook page. On average, about 85% of its fan interactions are passive reactions such as ‘likes’ on their Facebook posts. Most of its social media content and campaigns are curated in-house.
Word of Mouth. Adler hostel’s current marketing strategy is rather passive and relies heavily on reviews from past guests purely based on good will. Because of its positioning as a Small-Medium Enterprise (SME), Adler has to be more stringent about how they spend their resources. Adler does not engage in paid advertising as they had proven to only drive traffic views that may not necessarily translate into direct bookings.
Challenges Adler Hostel Face
Our group has identified 4 main challenges Adler Hostel is currently facing and we will be crafting out the appropriate social media strategies in response to them.
Challenge 1: Low awareness of “Poshtel” concept
Challenge 2: Low engagement levels on social media as a result of run-of-the-mill content
Challenge 3: Weak presence of brand community online
Challenge 4: Low occupancy rates for Adler Hostel for both peak and non-peak periods.
Our group has identified five broad categories of traveller segments and their different needs and demands
- Seniors (Ages 60 and above)
- Business Travellers
- Community Seekers
- Students (Aged 18 to 24)
ZMOT and the 7 step travel process
Adler Hostel’s Target Audience and Their Social Media Behaviour
We have identified Adler Hostel’s key target audience to be students and community seekers, and together they fall under the broad umbrella of millennial travelers – people aged 18 to 34.
Motivations and Values
- Identify strongly with, and are attracted to brands with strong purpose that resonates with their principles and beliefs
- Open to opportunities which would promise self-discovery
- Unlike cookie cutter travelling content posted online, they will steer away from the common themes as they pride themselves in being differentiated
- Less receptive towards content generated by corporate sources
- Attracted to content which are inspirational and novel – due to their tendency to be individualistic
Social Media Behaviour
- Seek validation from online social media peers/ followers
- Travel decisions will be heavily influenced by peer validated online platforms and social media networks due to higher trust and positive impressions.
- Seek to belong to communities which share similar interests/ purpose
- Performs the dual role of watcher and producer – actively generates and consumes content simultaneously.
- The most trusted source of information for them is when it comes from “a person like me”.
- When traveling, they avoid conventional tourist destinations but instead seek out the newest trend spots of the city, or places which align with their personal interest in order to experience a new destination from the vantage point of a local
- Willing to seek an experience that is completely different from their own personal experiences – this means countries with different cultures or willingness to put themselves out of their comfort zones
- They see traveling as part of forming their personal identity, and therefore embrace personalized travels.
Strategy 1: #PoshtelNotHostel
On the whole, this strategy targets the problem of low awareness of the “Poshtel” concept by educating the public on how Poshtel can provide comfort and localised experience at a lower price point. This strategy positions Adler Hostel as an attractive alternative compared to other forms of accommodation. It will be split into 2 different phases, with phase 1 featuring Adler Poh as the brand champion and sharing his story and experience as a “hostelier”. Phase 2 will be targeted at increasing Adler Hostel’s “Poshtel” concept amongst the masses.
#PoshtelNotHostel Phase 1
Mock-up of YouTube video of Founder Adler Poh sharing about his inspirations for starting Adler Hostel
Objective: To build rapport with target audience and increase awareness of Adler Hostel’s brand presence
Timeline: Short stories (3-5 mins) will be uploaded weekly over a period of 1 month
Channels: YouTube, Website, Facebook
From the interview, we gathered that Adler, who is a millennial himself, shares similar attributes to Adler Hostel’s target audience – young age and love for travelling – making him a suitable spokesperson to represent Adler Hostel’s brand personality. Videos were chosen as the primary channel for storytelling as the average consumer with internet access watches an average of 206 videos in a month (Margalit, 2015), and brand videos have been found to have a positive impact on businesses (Robertson, 2013).
#PoshtelNotHostel Phase 2
Example of complementary pairs of social media content posted on Adler Hostel’s Instagram page (spaced out across a few hours)
Objective: To change impressions and perceptions of hostel accommodation, and reinforce Adler Hostel’s USP.
Timeline: Fortnightly content posts lasting 6 to 8 months
Channels: Facebook and Instagram
Content Ideas: Pictures and short videos on what to expect and what not to expect at hostels. Content to be posted as complementary pairs: “Always At Adler” VS “Never At Adler” to show stark contrast
KPI: No. of views and No. of total engagement (Likes, Shares, Comments)
This content series aims to change people’s impressions and public perceptions about hostel accommodation, through showing them what Adler has to offer. This content series serves as a follow up from Adler Hostel’s founding stories by educating the public on the ‘Poshtel’ concept. As the Poshtel scene is still relatively new in Singapore, Adler Hostel can be considered as one of the pioneers in bringing affordable, luxurious, and homely accommodation to Singapore, hence having this content series reinforces their unique selling points as a Poshtel.
Evaluation: Strategy 1 serves to increase organic content generation as the content series can be easily created and curated in-house by Adler himself. In addition, it is an inexpensive method of increasing brand engagement with the public and fulfills Adler’s wish of not spending on paid spending for social media. However, our group acknowledges the response might be limited since Adler Hostel’s brand community currently does not have a strong online presence. Also, there is also a lack of influential community leaders to steer masses’ perception about the Poshtel concept.
Strategy 2: #ComeHomeToAdler
In conjunction with Adler Hostel’s 4th year anniversary, our group proposes to launch #ComeHomeToAdler – a social media campaign that calls out for all past and present Adler guests to share their favorite Adler experience on social media and stand a chance to win complimentary stays at Adler Hostel. The main objective is to leverage on customers to spread positive word-of-mouth amongst their own social circles, as such user generated opinions are more trusted than corporate sources. Furthermore, this serves as a means to crowdsource content and gather feedback for Adler Hostel to attune to their customers’ changing preferences and stay on trend.
Mock-up of Adler Hostel’s 4th Year Anniversary Celebratory Campaign Facebook Header
Mock-up of Adler Hostel’s 4th Year Anniversary Celebratory Campaign Facebook Post
- Drive word of mouth advertising
- Build an online community
- Crowdsource customer generated media
- Create 2-way communication channels and gather feedback for improvements
Overview: Adler guests will share their favorite Adler Experience on social media and stand a chance to win a complimentary stay.
Message: Adler Hostel is the second home for all their guests whenever they visit Singapore.
KPI: No. of submissions and No. of total engagement (Likes, Shares, Comments)
Evaluation: We do acknowledge that this campaign has a rather limited audience since it is only opened up to the past or existing guest of Adler hostel. However, our group has deliberately crafted the campaign in such as manner as from research, it showed that WOM advertising is the most cost-efficient and effective way of advertising. Rather than crafting a social media campaign that caters to everyone, we felt that limiting the audience to existing guests of Adler hostel will significantly help reduced the marketing budget required to create awareness given the significantly smaller pool of target audience. Furthermore, we believe that by structuring the contest in this manner serves as a great way for Adler hostel to display to potential customers how much they value their guests.
We also note that this campaign may not directly translate into an increase in hostel bookings in the short run since the campaign is not directly linked to any sales promotion. Also, that the increase in brand awareness and lift in purchase intent after the campaign is also difficult to measure.
This is precisely why our group structured the campaign in such a way that it involves very little cost. We believe that the benefits this campaign can potentially bring about for Adler hostel in terms of increase in brand awareness, lift purchase intent and an increase in community engagement outweigh the little cost required to roll out the campaign.
Strategy 3: #GoPlacesWithAdler
This campaign takes on two phases. The first phase of the campaign is a video content series consisting of 4 bite-sized (2 -5 mins) video. The video would be filmed using a GoPro video camera where Adler would bring viewers to different iconic and interesting places in Singapore. After establishing some awareness of the campaign, Adler hostel will be ready to officially announce the campaign through its online channels and start providing this complimentary service to its guests. To do so, we propose for Adler hostel to include a popup on its website to announce this new service to its site visitors. To popup will also include a “Book your stay” now button which directs visitors to make a hostel booking and reserve their GoPro video camera. On top of that, we also proposed for a Facebook sponsored post to be made targeted to increase public awareness as a whole. The Facebook sponsored post will direct users to Adler hostel’s website to find out more. After the campaign starts to gain traction and Adler hostel starts receiving user-generated video content, they would curate some of the higher quality submissions and share them on their official social media channels. To further provide a platform to foster an online community, Adler hostel could include a function on its website that features all of the user-generated video footages.
Mock-up of Adler Hostel’s main website pop-up button launching #GoPlacesWithAdler
Mock-up of Adler Hostel’s Facebook Sponsored post
- Create awareness
- Leverage on customers to spread WOM
- Customers as brand ambassador
- Create a community
Overview: Adler Hostel to launch a complementary GoPro service.
Guests can make use of the complimentary GoPro video camera to document their travel and staying experience at Adler Hostel.
Message: Adler Hostel is not just an accommodation but a launch pad for its guests into the Singaporean lifestyle experience. At Adler Hostel, we want to be a part of your travel experience and we want to go places with you.
- of customers that rent GoPro
- of UGC received on all channels
- of post with #GOPLACESWITHADLER
- of total views of all UGCs received
- of total engagement (Like, Shares, Comments) for all UGCs
Evaluation: We do acknowledge that the success of this campaign is largely dependent on customer adoption rate and that there may be difficulties in attributing the business value of the WOM that is being created by the campaign in translating into an increase in hostel bookings.
Audrey, Mindy, Robynne