Social media marketing utilizes social media platforms to connect with a targeted audience to build your hotel brand, increase bookings, and drive hotel website traffic. Publishing great content on social media profiles, analyzing results, listening to and engaging with followers, and running social media campaigns maximizes outreach effectiveness leveraging social media.
At present, the major social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. Some of these platforms are more useful than others when it comes to social media engagement for your business. It can also be said that many online reviews aggregator websites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Reviews act as social media platforms.
Social media has matured far beyond being just a place to broadcast silly content like cute cat videos. Nowadays, in addition to posting updates, news, and captivating content, hotels use social media in various ways, from research and reputation management to targeted marketing campaigns. For instance, a hotel concerned about what an audience is saying about its brand or property would monitor social media conversations. A hotel business that wants to understand its performance on social media would analyze its engagement and reach on social media with an analytics tool (social media analytics). A business that wants to reach a specific audience or at a large scale would run highly-targeted social media campaigns (social media advertising).
Recent statistics show that over 70 percent of the U.S. population holds a social media account, demonstrating that engagement on social media platforms and services has become the most popular online activity. By 2023, the number of social network users in the United States is forecast to increase to approximately 257 million.
Social media provides hotels the chance to create, develop, and strengthen their guest relationships, create Search Engine Optimized (SEO) content, and strengthen their hotel’s online reputation.
Social media supports your customer pipeline throughout the decision making and booking process. Potential guests generally start planning their trips using a search engine, reading online reviews, and perusing social media for travel inspiration.
The online curation involved in travel planning makes social media an indispensable hotel marketing tool at the top of the marketing funnel. Social Media also leads to conversion at the bottom of the marketing funnel by driving customer action at the hotel’s direct marketing channel, its website, and providing promotions to clinch the deal. Social Media’s potential expands from thereby providing guests a connection with the hotel during and post-stay. Social Media is a vital tool in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) toolkit.
Visual content is vital in the travel and hospitality industry. Potential guests want a taste of what they will experience, and they want to feel engaged with your hotel or brand. Hence a visual-based feed is very crucial to help showcase the experience you are selling at your hotel.
Today, it is more likely that your target audience will seek images and videos on social media platforms before making their booking decision. A brand’s social media presence and visual identity are probably among the final decision-makers for consumers when making a booking.
Hotels should make the most out of social media channels as its usage is only expected to rise in the future. Social media exposes your brand and online presence to a broader and potentially targeted audience; a strong presence on social media drives traffic and boosts SEO efforts for your hotel’s website. It is an opportunity for hotel businesses to showcase what they have to offer, relevant news, and create expectations and excitement for potential guests.
Hotels need to rethink their use of social media to promote the business and enhance guest experience and customer care, which will reinforce the brand’s reputation and drive future growth.
Unlike large hotel groups with the budget to invest big in their social media strategy, individual franchise or independent hotels or properties with smaller marketing teams and smaller marketing budgets need to be strategic about their spending in terms of time and money online.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing the right social media platforms for your hotels to participate actively.
The first step is to decide your target audience online. Consider each social media platform’s users’ demographics and ensure it matches the kind of guests you are looking to attract. For instance, if you are looking to engage a younger clientele, an emerging platform that caters to a younger demographic, like Instagram, might make sense for your hotel brand. On the other hand, if you are more interested in boosting business travel and events bookings, connecting with the local business community on a platform like LinkedIn may be fruitful. But for hotels that are interested in bookings across multiple demographics, a far-reaching platform with a broad user base like Facebook will give you access to mass in one place.
If your hotel has enough resources to create appealing photography and develop a robust design aesthetic, you will likely find success on visually rich platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. But if producing a large amount of high-quality visual content would be a challenge for your operation, you can consider curating user-generated content, or partner with social media influencers to create the kind of content that performs well on the platforms that you are considering.
Try to study the online market to see where your interest in your brand or hotel might find the most active interest. Consider those platforms that other hotels in the industry use and where conversations about travel and tourism are taking place for your particular locale if your property is located near a top tourist destination, research which platforms have the most activity and engagement tagging it. For example, Yosemite National Park is highly photographed and therefore has a lot of activity on Instagram. If your property were in this geography, it would make sense to have some presence on this platform to engage with those sharing such imagery.
Today, most social media platforms require businesses to pay for ads and promoted posts to get your content in front of your target audience. If you have limited funds, then follow the approach of growing your audience on one particular channel rather than spreading the budget over multiple platforms. Each platform offers a different audience targeting options for advertisers, so carefully choose a platform that provides you enough flexibility to put your piece of content in front of your most valuable demographic.
In this section, you will learn how to use Twitter to its optimal use to make your hotel brand stand out in the crowd.
First and foremost, you must complete your hotel’s Twitter profile. Make a simple and attractive profile that describes your hotel, and its specifications utilizing strategic keywords. By completing your Twitter profile, you will ensure ranking on Twitter searches for your targeted keywords. To create a catchy and amazing twitter profile, follow the below-listed pointers:
Create a clever logo or avatar for your hotel that symbolizes your hotel brand. Your Twitter profile pic will be the visual representation of your hotel in Twitter feeds. Make it count.
Pro Tip: Upload a photo of 400*400 pixels, which can be seen on any device.
The header photo offers the largest real estate on your twitter profile page. Invest time and think creatively to make optimal use of this space to showcase your hotel.
Twitter recommends uploading a header photo of 1500*1500 pixels. Ensure essential information is aligned in the middle so that it is visible on various screen sizes of the devices. We recommend a customized graphic that includes details about your property, a tagline, and your hotel’s photos.
The Twitter bio is restricted to only 160 characters. You must explain your hotel business in a short but effective manner.
Pro Tip: Twitter has its search engine, so make sure you include the keywords that your targeted audience might be searching for.
Tag link which points to your homepage or landing page. However, it sounds simple to add a link in the profile, but make sure you know where you want to take your visitor and what kind of information you are supplying.
Twitter is a place where you create connections and build relationships with your target audience. Your timeline will show you the stuff you are interested in, those you have followed, and tweets you liked. You need to get individuals to follow you so your posts can get syndicated most efficiently and broadly, and to get followers, you need to follow accounts, yourself.
Pro Tip: Follow and share the right industry blogs, news, and influencers with Tweeple search.
Millions of people Tweet daily. Most of their tweets go unrecognized because of a lack of creativity.
Twitterati loves media-rich tweets in the form of image, audio, gif, or video. Always use Twitter cards to maximize your user engagement on this platform.
When you talk about particular amenities or features about your hotel, make sure you share plenty of images. Show the user what exactly they can expect from staying with you. Just remember, a product or service is best sold when shown rather than just saying something about it. Use visual media to demonstrate the experience you offer to guests staying at your hotel.
People are in absolute love with video content as videos are easy to understand and are engaging. Instead of just mentioning attributes such as your hotel’s views, show them a video of the views from your hotel.
Show your hotel surroundings, rooms, suites, amenities, etc. in the form of video.
As said before, Twitter is a great platform to build relationships with your guests and potential customers. Conduct running polls on Twitter to know their views and opinions and engage them.
For instance, if you plan to add a new amenity to your hotel, run a poll asking their opinions and feedback. Poll your followers on what is important to them when staying with you.
Promoting your products and services on your timeline all the time can get repetitive and stale. Share the content that the guests and users might find useful and provide value to them. You can tweet about the local events, local businesses, nearby attractions, news, quotes, travel tips, etc. that can help users discover new things.
You have the right to put out content you desire regarding your hotel on Twitter. But remember, the game is not finished once you Tweet, you also have to be aware of your guest’s or user’s thoughts and opinions--their response to your tweets is where the fun starts. Take actions to their retweets, show them you respect their point of view, and engage with them to build more activity and reach.
Sometimes, guests can share their dissatisfaction with social media. Listen to the complaints and retweet them promptly.
Pro Tip: If you find your hotel at fault, say sorry for the inconvenience or tell them that you will investigate their complaints and be in touch. Always handle complaints on social media delicately.
Many accounts share valuable information related to the industry. Check out what they are sharing and how it may affect your business.
During this critical period with COVID, you should be alert about changes to health policies and best practices impacting the hospitality sector.
Figure out who your competitors are on Twitter. Do an audit of their Twitter best practices and how they manage their account.
See how their posts make them unique and how their followers engage. Try to implement any available pointers into your hotel’s own social media best practices.
Did you know Facebook reported over 1.73 billion daily active users (DAU) during the first quarter of 2020? This, without any doubt, makes Facebook the most popular social media platform worldwide and a natural choice as to where you need to invest time, effort, energy, and money for your hotel to reach travelers.
We sure know that the travel industry, by its very nature, is very visual. Many things can be depicted using beautiful photos and videos. When you think about it, you'll find that there are loads of opportunities for good pictures inside your hotel and the surrounding areas plus any photos about things to do, nearby restaurants, and the many attractions in your locale.
More than 1 billion Instagram accounts are active worldwide, among which there are more than 500 million users who use the platform daily! Since 90% of accounts follow at least one business on Instagram, hotel, and restaurant businesses such as yours should not miss out on this fun and visual-centric social media platform.
The travel and hospitality industry is highly competitive. If you were doing the same thing as everyone else, you would not stand out in the customer’s eyes. So what can you do to differentiate your hotel amongst others is to stop focusing on taking pretty pictures and start focusing on your property’s unique personality. Every brand/hotel has a unique voice, and you should not be afraid to experiment with it. Social media is a platform that allows you to showcase your brand identity, and if used correctly, can bring a lot of awareness and connection.
There's no doubt that Social Media Marketing can bring your hotel much-needed exposure and website traffic. If done correctly, it can be a significant part of getting you leads and new customers and also a valuable tool to cultivate relationships with your guests during and after their stay to improve the guest experience and drive return business.
INNsight understands the importance of pairing your business website with various social media channels for a successful digital marketing strategy. At INNsight, we will help you connect your optimized business website with popular social media outlets. INNsight will customize and update your social feeds regularly on your behalf. INNsight will keep your social media channels fresh with unique, engaging, entertaining, and valuable content that will encourage users to read, respond, and convert from Lookers into Bookers.
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