Social media marketing for hotels has seen immense popularity in the recent past. In fact, it has proven to be so successful for the hospitality that no hotel online marketing is almost unthinkable without social media. However, social media marketing strategy for hotels has yet to be optimally leveraged. Many hoteliers under-utilize this treasure trove by restricting their hotel online marketing efforts to just one platform or may be, two. Another gross misuse is to limit the diversity of your posts on these social media platforms.
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In this blog, we will take an extensive deep dive into social media platforms for hoteliers to explore and benefit from. Agreed there are a myriad ways to tap into the potential of social media marketing in the hospitality industry; which is why we have handpicked the most promising and practical ones for you to get started with. Since social media trends in the hospitality industry keep changing every now and then, we’ve broken it down platform-wise so you can assess which ones work for you and which don’t.
But before we get into that, let’s take a quick detour to understand a few things that are common to hotel online marketing in general, regardless of platforms.
In an attempt to figure out how to promote a hotel online using social media, hotel owners almost always take the safe route of posting only promotional content like discounts, special offers, seasonal rates, etc.
1. 5 Basic Social Media Tips for Independent Hoteliers
A hotel’s social media strategy has to go beyond posting room rates and discounts. It’s about what users wish to see and know rather than what you, as a hotelier, want to update online. A hotel’s social media marketing ideas can range from the basics to the most innovative as hoteliers need more than just online visibility. Reviews, shares from users, comments and other user-generated content are useful to define your brand and its offerings. When planned well, social media marketing in the hospitality industry can give a massive boost to a hotel’s revenue as well as improve its brand presence.
A strong Facebook marketing strategy will propel your hotel brand to a new level altogether. One can ‘create a page’ on Facebook and boost posts, run paid advertisements, polls, add videos, images and more. You can also use Facebook to leverage the community effect, build trust, get referred via a guest’s network and do much more. Be creative with your hotel’s Facebook post ideas.
Here’s an interesting statistic that will convince you of the power of Facebook, in your overall hotel online marketing strategy:
Facebook brings in about $55 billion of ad revenue annually and more than 90% of that is from mobile ads.
Here are some ways in which you can expand your Facebook reach:
# Get your guests to use Facebook check ins and location tags
Social media marketing for hotels doesn’t get easier than this! Millennial and Gen Z travelers are most likely to cooperate with such requests as they are the most digital of all generations. Simply catch your guests at the right time and get them to tag your property on their Facebook images and also give the location tag. This will prompt their Facebook connections (friends, if you will) to take a look at your property and who know, make a booking even! This is a great way to improve social media marketing in the hospitality industry as visual content sells quicker in today’s digital age.
# Invest in paid promotions & ads to target your campaigns better
Facebook allows hoteliers to specifically target their audiences in order to get higher conversions. Understanding their algorithm and getting a paid campaign in place can help leverage the true potential of social media for hotel industry.
# Leverage Facebook messenger for business to build guest engagement
Direct messaging is a grossly under-utilized but a high yielding tool that most hoteliers have yet to fully leverage. Building guest engagement via Facebook messenger is a must for hoteliers who are looking to improve guest experience and loyalty.
# Facebook live is another platform to explore, when it comes to video posts
Whenever you host an event or if there’s any occasion that you’d like to share with your online audiences, going live on Facebook is an option you must consider. Video is the future of hotel online marketing as with any other business, and so you need to tap into this lucrative way to engage with your audiences.
# Reviews on Facebook also go a long way in convincing prospective bookers
The Facebook community is a tight-knit one. Meaning, building your online reputation on Facebook is just as important for your hotel as it would be on TripAdvisor and other hotel review sites. This is especially true in the case of millennial and Gen-z travelers. So, like you do with location tags and check-ins on Facebook, you should also find a way to request your younger guests to leave you review on your Facebook page.
#Roll out targeted and specific offers to increase chances of conversions
Who doesn’t like a good deal! The best part about Facebook, like we just discussed, is that you get in-depth understanding of who your audience is and how you can cater to a more refined group of audience. Once you’ve identified you’ve identified your target audience, you need to create relevant offers that is bound to strike a chord with them. Relevant offers can be either demographic-specific, geo-specific, seasonal or any other way you wish to customize it.
Visual content is ruling the roost when it comes to social media marketing strategy for hotels. Meaning, on a platform that is dedicated for visual content, anything but high-quality photos is unacceptable. Instagram is visual paradise – images must be high-def, compelling, share-worthy with appropriate hashtags.
With over a billion users (of whom 500 million are active daily users) Instagram is crucial to social media marketing in hospitality industry. If you don’t already have an Instagram profile for your hotel business, you need to get started right away as 75% of users take action on Instagram posts.
Here are a few quick tips to increase engagement on Instagram:
# Don’t try to please all:
Social media strategy for hotels is as simple or tricky as you make it. The name of the game is personalization and as long as you respect this fact, things should work in your favor. If you try to please all, you are sure to end up pleasing none. So, identify your specific target audience on Instagram and create a tailor-made feed for them. Post images that will appeal to them. Conduct polls that will pique their interest. Your hashtags will also have to cater to that specific audience that you’ve identified as yours.
# Create a feed that creates a community
The purpose of investing in social media marketing in the hospitality industry is that you can attract, engage with and nurture your online audience. And the more consistent your approach, the higher the chances of building trust among users. When you have the trust of your online audiences, it is easy for you to build a community which will eventually start looking forward to your posts and will actively encourage their peers to follow you.
This, however, requires constant and consistent effort along with a keen eye for detail. While it is essential to stay true to your brand messaging and image, it is equally important to keep up with social media trends in the hospitality industry. You need to give audiences what they want to see but also find a way to include what you want them to see!
# Humanize your feed
Maintaining an Instagram feed for businesses requires more thought and effort than it does for a personal feed! This is because, as a business, you want your audience to engage with you. But if your feed is static and not very interactive, then your followers have no reason to engage with you. Engagement is a two-way street where you can only expect your audience to be as responsive as you are! So, it is ideal for hotels to build an online persona, a tonality that is typical to your brand- whether it is humorous, dignified, laidback, hip or whatever it is that best suits you.
Use this tonality to engage with your audiences. Thank them for their reshares, ask them questions, go live and connect with them as if hotel business were a person! The more you humanize your hotel online marketing strategy, the more likely you are to taste success.
Video content has seen massive, unprecedented success in the recent past so much that as per this study by Cisco, video traffic will account for 82% of overall internet traffic by 2022! With this much promise, it is paramount to make YouTube a part of social media marketing strategies for hotels!
Here are a few ways to leverage this platform:
# Virtual tours of the property:
Here’s an astounding stat – A booking is 67% more likely to happen when a virtual tour is available! Why not explore this amazingly lucrative option and create a virtual tour of your hotel property, upload it on YouTube and float it across social media, on your website, on booking sites, etc.
And it isn’t simply because a study suggests so- it is also quite logical for bookers to get visual assurance first before committing to a reservation. Because even if the reviews are great, checking things out (even if virtually) has its own impact. It helps you visualize your experience and if done right, could create a positive feeling of anticipation and curiosity.
# Keep the content and the description relevant & crisp:
Short videos (not exceeding 5 minutes) get more shares than longer ones. Your focus should be on creating videos that highlight areas of your hotel that you take pride in and want people to know about. Make the video compelling, keeping in mind your target audience. Knowing your target audience is a crucial factor in any social media platform, and YouTube is no exception to this.
The description you provide for your videos also plays a huge role in its online marketability. Read up on Google’s guidelines for titles, descriptions, meta details, etc. Stick to the character count and make sure you have your SEO in place with a sound strategy for it. Take a look at what your competitors are doing on YouTube and play your cards accordingly.
# Engage with your audience:
Social media is all about engaging with your audience because these are platforms where you can connect with them. Make use of this space to get to know them better. Read through the comments that you get on your videos and respond to them, as much as possible. Make sure you appreciate the shares you get and thank your followers for their support. Get your guests to like your channel on YouTube and assure them that you’ll live up to it! Stay genuine and relevant and you should be good!
In the recent past, Twitter has emerged as one of the most influential social media trends in the hospitality industry. Twitter allows brands to quickly and instantly communicate with their customers. As a microblogging site, it allows 140 characters, and this has been a boon in redefining brand-customer interaction. It helps guests convey exactly what they want, when they want to.
While the tweets on this social media platform have a short shelf life, this is a great platform to connect with guests, handle queries, attend complaints, etc. Hoteliers can use Twitter to announce a message, converse, connect, build brand presence, and follow relevant travelers. As with every other social media platform, engaging with your audience and addressing their issues helps build a credible brand image for hotels.
6. Other Platforms to explore:
Known as a visual board, Pinterest can be a great tool for hoteliers. It’s easy to update photographs of your hotel’s property here. Attractive visuals are a must for your pins to be ‘re-pinned’ by users and to gain a fan following. Pinterest provides a great platform for marketing hotels through social media.
Google+ acts as an apt social media platform as users search for hotel brands on search engines as well as Google maps. A Google+ page with comments from travelers will also appear in search results defined on Google Maps.
LinkedIn is also an important platform for a hotel’s social media campaign. Hotel staff with LinkedIn profiles can share updates (achievements, new announcements) on this platform. Use this platform to establish your hotel’s thought leadership in this industry within the appropriate groups.
Leveraging social media marketing helps hotels in many ways. Most of all, it helps build an unparalleled online reputation which is crucial to sustain in this digital age, where every booker looks for validity from other bookers. Hotelogix helps hotels connect with the best online reputation management solutions.
"Top 5 social media marketing strategies for independent hotels",