In 2021, travellers will feel inspired to break the quarantine mould and visit some of their favourite destinations. As a result, searches and online bookings will begin to rise, making it the perfect time to up the ante on social media platforms.
Having a user-friendly, well-designed hotel website with up-to-date information, great reviews, and discount codes for customers simply won’t cut it. Every hotel, including yours, is fighting to receive that all-important guest. One way to ensure that you have a competitive edge is to use social media to its full potential.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube carry millions of users daily, who could all view your page, feel inspired and make a booking. But a strong social media presence requires strategy and attention to detail, making most hotel owners feel overwhelmed.
To make the transition to social media a bit easier, we’ve compiled some of the best social media marketing strategies and ideas tailored to the hotel industry.
The Importance of a Social Media Presence
Research has shown that over 95% of hotel guests use social media to post images and reviews of their trips, making it the perfect platform to interact with visitors.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram give you direct access to your potential guests through visual and written content. This is a very effective way to build brand awareness, that will increase the number of visitors to your website. Studies have shown that the more times users are met with a brand online, the more likely they are to remember and interact with that brand.
A steady flow of content will increase your reach to millions of possible guests that are already using the platform and get them to remember and recognise your brand. But how do we do that?
Identify Your Audience
Before you can dive into the social media pool with fresh and exciting content, you need to identify to whom your content will be targeted.
Studies prove that users are less likely to use a service or a product without any social proof, so they will be more likely to book a stay if they can see clear and positive interaction by other social media users. This will increase your credibility and will directly impact their purchasing decision.
But who is interacting with your social media profiles and booking stays at your hotel? You need to identify your current visitors before you can decide on a social media strategy for any hotel. Are they families, couples on honeymoon, millennial backpackers, or corporate groups?
These users will be the main target of your social media platforms and will ultimately have the most important purchasing power.
Platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have in-built tools that will help you to watch and track reach and engagement. This will make it easier for you to gather data on your customers, their interest in your post, and their behaviour that will help you to build a loose consumer identity that you can market your content to.
The Best Social Media Platforms for Hotels
A short search on Google or any social media platform will provide you with evidence that social media marketing strategies have been successful for other hotels since the dawn of social. Big, international hotels have been utilizing platforms like Facebook and Twitter to increase their visibility which in turn increases their occupancy.
But not all hotels are the same and not a single social media strategy will be effective for all audiences. Inviting your guests with compelling and engaging content is not enough.
You might still see a low interaction rate on your profiles regardless of having the best photographer, specials, and service. This is a problem that most businesses face when they are trying out a new social media plan. The best way to get your name out there is to use platforms to their full potential.
Social Media Marketing for Hotels – on Facebook
Facebook boasts an astronomical 2.45 billion users every month in 2020 making it a great platform to start your marketing campaign on. But, because Facebook is an ever-evolving platform, knowing how and when users use this platform is key to crafting a stellar marketing campaign.
Facebook Marketing Tools for Hotels
A great way to get started on social media marketing is to start a Facebook business page. This will only take a few minutes and will centralize all your hotel’s information and eye-catching content.
Facebook allows any business profile to add extra tabs to their page which can allow for effective cross-referencing on other social media platforms and websites.
You might want to add your Instagram feed, Tripadvisor reviews, special offers or easy one-click online booking systems which will make the user experience on the page simple and pleasing.
After going through the process of adding a cover image, profile picture and easy-to-access links and tabs to your Facebook page, you need to start crafting unique content that will make your advertisements stand out from the rest. Create enticing blog posts, exciting videos or share guest experiences that will lure in new potential visitors.
One simple, yet less thought of way to make your hotel easily recognizable online is to use appropriate hashtags. Create your own unique hashtag, like #MyHotel (sic), that you can use to identify your brand online.
Make sure to ask guests to use the same hashtag when they post images of their stay online. Users are able to click on this tag and see all feed and tagged posts, which will increase credibility to potential consumers.
Identify useful and appropriate hashtags that you can scatter throughout your top-tier content to make your posts more reachable. Frequently used hashtags include #travel #hotel #vacation. These will add your content to more streams and will allow you to reach more Facebook users.
Once you have built a steady stream of content and use hashtags appropriately to attract eyes to your page, it might be a great time to budget for Facebook advertising. Paid advertising on Facebook is a simple and affordable way to get your content seen by potential followers.
Decide on an advertising campaign, whether it be a special discount or a new feature in your hotel, and decide on the budget that you may have available to reach your goal audience.
Paid Facebook advertising is simple to set up and will offer you extra tools that you can use to identify an audience effectively.
One of the most important tools that any hotel should be utilizing is the demographics tools. This handy add-on will show you not only the age and gender of your followers, but most importantly, it will show you their geographic location.
When we plan a holiday or dream about a visit to a resort or hotel, the location of the hotel plays a key role in the deciding factor. This information will make it easier for the strategist to pinpoint the country or area to which paid marketing campaigns should be aimed. It’s like delivering a flyer directly into the hands of a consumer who is already looking for a hotel. It’s that simple.
Social Media Marketing for Hotels – Instagram Business Profile
Instagram is the second-largest social media platform, exceeded only by Facebook, making it a great place to reach new audience members.
Instagram is known for its photo and video sharing capabilities, which is great for advertising purposes. The human mind processes information faster if it’s in a visual format, making the content more enjoyable and memorable.
Instagram has multiple options for sharing content like Instagram reels, boomerang, stories and live videos – which is currently the best way to gain audience interaction. Boasting 1 billion followers monthly, it’s not hard to get eyes on well-crafted content.
Instagram Marketing Tools for Hotels
You will have to create an Instagram business account and link all relevant content for users to access. You should connect your Facebook business page to Instagram to guide potential customers through your online profiles easily and to make management easier.
Crafting content for Instagram is unique and more time consuming than most other platforms. You’ll require visually appealing content that will get your audience to stay on your page and hopefully press that follow button.
Take the user experience into account when planning posts for Instagram and don’t spam their feed with long and wordy ads that they most likely won’t read. Keep it simple with snapshots of your local surroundings and scenery, services and poolside images with a sunset backdrop.
Short videos are easy to film and upload and will guarantee a fun visual element for potential customers. It will make it easy for consumers to imagine themselves on vacation at your hotel if you provide them with the full experience!
Hashtags on Instagram are inarguably the most important player in the marketing game. Posting without hashtags is equivalent to not posting at all. Do research on popular hashtags using free available tools to use the most popular, but targeted, hashtags in all your posts.
If you don’t want a hard-to-read caption, the hashtags can be added to the comment section and still have the same power on the algorithm.
There are currently two streams of hashtags that you need to be aware of:
Very Popular – General tags like: #FollowForFollow
Less Popular – Niche tags like: #InstaTravel
The very popular hashtags will be harder to rank for, but the less popular hashtags, even though still difficult, might have to rank a percentage higher due to the decreased usage. Make sure that the hashtags you choose are appropriate for your business and avoid adding irrelevant tags.
Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post, and when used correctly, can drive a lot of traffic to your page. Try to limit the number of hashtags per post to the most striking and powerful ones to avoid looking unprofessional to the user viewing the post.
Pro Tip – Carry the unique hashtag that you’ve created on Facebook over to Instagram and Twitter too.
Instagram stories are a unique tool that should be used as frequently as possible. It’s a short 24-hour post on your profile that will get potential customers to engage with your page. It can be used for asking questions, polls, sharing instant information, discounts and more.
Instagram has added a special feature to its platform called “Instagram Reels”. Similar to the app TikTok, this feature allows for 15 – 30 second videos making it easier to shoot, edit and share videos. This feature makes it easier to reach a wider Instagram community and show them your unique and quirky moments.
Just like Facebook, Instagram also has built-in tools that you should use to keep track of your engagement and followers. You can use these in your favour when planning new content or budgeting for paid advertising.
Instagram Hotel – How to Make Your Hotel Instagrammable
Instagram culture has taken the world by storm in recent years. Users and visitors don’t only want the best possible experience at a given hotel, but they also want the best possible Instagrammable moments.
One way to ensure that your clients interact with your online presence is to create a space that will be easy to post on Instagram. Visually appealing backdrops, fast wifi connectivity and interesting photo opportunities will result in user-generated content.
Encourage your visitors to use your unique hashtag and an @ mention in the caption of images and posts.
Content Marketing for Social Media – Twitter
Twitter might be the biggest player in the tourism and hospitality industry. With millions of daily users, it’s hard not to see the potential in this platform. If you are more word-focussed, then Twitter might be the platform to jumpstart your campaign.
With a limit of 280 characters or less, advertising on Twitter might be harder than the norm, but you’re more likely to get potential clients to read short captions than long, wordy ones. Twitter is known for its fast-paced content sharing, making it an invaluable tool for customer relations.
Twitter Tips for Hotels
Set up a custom feed that allows you to keep track of useful keywords. Examples of this include ‘bad service’ and ‘your area’, this will help you keep track of frustrated and unhappy clients in your area, and this might be the perfect opportunity to jump into the conversation. This function also allows you to keep track of your competitors’ clients and services.
This custom feed will also give you the ability to see when and where new travellers are entering the area. This can be a good opportunity to reach out and give them advice on the best restaurants or sightseeing spots. That extra attention to detail will make a difference.
Decide on a proper Twitter tone of voice to ensure the best interaction with your potential guests. Remember that the Twitter platform is used mostly for customer service and interaction, mostly with words rather than images.
Using the correct tone of voice is very important. Keep your conversational tone light and professional, and avoid any off-putting interactions or words.
Make sure to engage with users and followers as frequently as possible. In doing so, you will build a trusting relationship with guests at your hotel and the transparency of your services will go a long way in gaining credibility by followers and clients alike.
Twitter has built-in functions like Twitter’s advanced search engine that allows you to reverse search your own business. This function will keep you in the loop and cut down on valuable response time. You will also have the ability to keep track of your competitors and clients using this tool.
Social Media Marketing for Hotels – LinkedIn
Boasting 630 million users, LinkedIn is a platform that should not be taken for granted. You will be able to find anyone from staff, to potential clients and even vendors on this platform making it the best-centralized setting for all hotels.
Image by Inlytics from Unsplash
Keep professionality in mind when creating a LinkedIn profile for your business. Add all the required information to ensure that potential clients know the ins-and-outs of your hotel to ensure credibility, and make sure the information is always up to date.
Not unlike other platforms, you will have to make sure to add links to other social media profiles and your website. You will also need to add direct additional contact information to this page to make your hotel’s profile reputable and easy to manoeuvre.
Posting content on LinkedIn is just as important as keeping your account up to date. A carefully selected feed with appropriate content is undeniably valuable for networking purposes.
Appropriate posts may include any of the following:
Blog Posts and other links to your websites
Photography of the surrounding area and hotel
Video Content like short tutorials, business advice or a virtual tour of the hotel
Repost content of other reputable profiles to attract a new set of audience members
But users often visit LinkedIn to either search for relevant content that will somehow enhance their career or efficiency or curate and share selected content that will increase their visibility. Therefore LinkedIn is unlike other social media platforms. Which is important when planning a social media strategy.
Content Ideas for Social Media – LinkedIn
The LinkedIn user base is quite unique. Users usually go onto the platform with a specific goal in mind. By helping them gain insight and excitement about your property you may turn them into a paying visitor.
Sharing information on LinkedIn is similar to platforms such as Facebook. Images and videos are a great way to gather consumer engagement and to stand out from our competitors. Short tours of a hotel room or a walkthrough of the pool and entertainment area are sure to grab a user’s attention.
But as you monitor engagement on your posts, you will get an insight into the wants and needs of your target audience and you might decide to change up your content accordingly.
LinkedIn has a very interesting tool that will help you keep track of your visitors or potential target audience and when used correctly, can be the best marketing tool you can use in 2021. Make sure to use this platform wisely and you will reap the benefits.
Hotel Marketing Ideas – Start a YouTube Channel
YouTube is a very popular platform, not only for content creators but also for advertisers. Boasting more than 2 billion users each month, it’s easy to see why more travel-based businesses decide to either start a YouTube channel and share unique content, or to go ahead with paid advertising.
Sharing YouTube videos on multiple platforms has never been easier, making it a simple way to create videos that aren’t limited to 15 – 30 seconds. Making videos that will not only inform your audience but also entertain them is a golden ticket to views and hopefully visits.
Host a stand-up comedy night and post the video online, or record customer testimonials – the possibilities are endless on YouTube.
After you’ve written down a plan, shot and edited a video, you are ready to post it to Youtube. To make sure that your video ranks using the YouTube algorithm, you might want to use keyword research tools to find the best title and tags. Write a detailed description with contact information and post your video!
YouTube videos are a great way to get interaction with your hotel guests and get them to share some of your content with friends and family – especially if they are featured in the video.
If you have a bigger advertising budget, then YouTube ads might be a great option. Hire a videographer to create an eye-catching advertisement and pay to have that ad featured in local videos.
Hotel Advertising Ideas – Social Media
Now that you have all your platforms up and running and you’ve gained a little bit of insight, it’s time to start planning some valuable and exciting content for your audience. But this step might seem intimidating for hoteliers across the board. Where do we start and how do we engage our audience enough to interact?
The 80/20 rule is a great guideline to follow if you don’t want to bore your potential clients. This means that only 20% of your posts should be direct marketing of any kind. Avoid spamming your audiences’ feed with advertisements regarding discounts and other direct selling points.
Rather focus most of your attention on the other 80% of your profile. This can include posts and images ranging from recipes for the hotel chef to housekeeping tips from the maintenance staff. This will help you build an audience that is inclined to return back to your profiles to see more interesting content.
Here’s a list of interesting post ideas that you can implement into your weekly posting schedule:
Day Trips in your area
Cooking tutorials from the kitchen staff
Film and post videos of events hosted in the hotel
Local events and holidays
Major attractions in the area
Behind the scenes
The list of possible posts are endless and will really benefit your business in the long run. Another way to boost engagement on your posts is to run occasional competitions or trivia. This can be done on Instagram Live or any other live streaming platform.
Your audience might come for the cooking tips, but stay because of the incredible service delivery.
Tools to Help You Keep Track of Competitors on Social Media
Keeping a competitive edge over your direct competitors is crucial for survival. And getting access to digital information has never been easier. Luckily, there are endless ways to keep track of your competitor’s social media following, website visits and interactions.
Keyhole is an all-in-one social media analysing tool that will give you insight into any brand or company. This easy to use tool can be used to track hashtag performance, keywords and will give you a head start in the race to the top.
Data is gathered from top-performing posts on all social media platforms and compiled in an easy to read format. This tool is a great way to measure the impact your competitors have on social media by searching relevant hashtags and keywords.
This handy tool will compare your brand alongside your direct competitors’. It helps track following, mentions, social media activity and ranking across all social media platforms.
The free option of this tool offers you a quick “head-to-head” analysis of you and your competitors, making it a simple tool if you need to see direct information quickly without moving into specifics.
The full functionality of the tool goes beyond the above-mentioned points and dives deeper into research analysis. You can get information on top-performing posts, audience metrics, engagement numbers and activity metrics which will help you strategize a better campaign.
Social Blade uses metrics from Twitter, Youtube and other social media platforms to rank business according to brand engagement. An overall user summary compilation allows you to keep track of an overscore that takes views and subscribers into account.
This might help you understand the hospitality industry as a whole and give you some insight into the numbers and metrics of the top-performing hoteliers.
Final Thoughts on Social Media for Hotels
The impact that social media has on modern society is hard to ignore. It has changed the way we learn, have fun and relate, but most importantly it has changed the way that we choose to travel.
Major players in the hospitality industry are starting to realize the importance of these platforms and their users. Social media is a certain way you can build a strong brand identity, drive sales, reach a wider audience and influence where travellers choose to stay.
There is a wide range of tools that can be used to create unique and enticing posts and even get an understanding of your competitors in order to get a leg up in the race to the top. And when used properly, these tools can be invaluable.
Posting regularly and consistently is the key to creating a fun and exciting community of followers and clients. And when used in unison, these platforms have the potential to change the future of your business.
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