In the past 10 years, the percentage of Americans active on social media has skyrocketed from 24% to 81%. According to the same research, the number of worldwide social media users reached 2.34 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.95 billion by 2020. That means that just about everyone who is able to read and travel is exposed to social media in one form or another. As a result, hotel marketing via social media has become the new norm and extends well beyond Facebook and Twitter.
It’s now more vital than ever for hotels to actively maintain their social media presence in order to increase exposure to their establishment and ensure maximum room occupancy. With this post, we’ll take a look at 5 best tricks to the trade to maximize popularity, increase your follower base and more importantly potential guest engagement.
Before we jump into the 5 tips, let’s take a quick moment to fully understand why you should be creating social content for your hotel.
Essentially, social media gives your brand the opportunity to share its unique personality with the world in a more “human” manner. Transparency and authenticity are paramount in order to make meaningful social media connections.
Identify Your Social Media Strategy
As with all good plans, the first step of any successful social media marketing campaign is to establish a strategy and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Here, you should think about your audience and what they are actually interested in. Moreover, you need to decide which social media platforms to focus on and be clear on how you will maximize your time and exposure on each of the social channels.
At this stage, you may also find it helpful to establish best practices or social media guidelines for your team, so that everyone is on the same page. It may also be sensible to identify potential targets in terms of the audience demographics you want to reach, as well as social media influencers you would like to win over.
Which social media channels work best for your hotel or resort? Here are the top six social media networks you should get familiar with.
Create Shareable Visual Content
Every minute people spend on social media means they are looking at photos, watching videos, reading reviews and paying attention to what people have to say about your hotel.
Visual content, including both photos and videos, is hotter than ever, and consistently gains more interest than your average text-only post. Focus on the type of content people will want to share. One way to do this is to take photos of your hotel and the guests who are having a great time.
When taking marketing-worthy photos, remember to keep it simple. As with most things, less is always more. With your hotel, you don’t want to show everything. There’s nothing wrong with simply enticing your potential guests with some of the exciting amenities your hotel has to offer. If you really want to maximize the value and reach of your social content, it’s highly recommended to include the right hashtags for your property and/ or tagging them in social posts.
A Little Consistency Goes a Long Way
In general, social media audiences and search algorithms like consistency as opposed to sporadic use of platforms to promote content. For hoteliers and hotel marketing teams it is important to adopt a consistent approach to posting content, rather than going weeks at a time without posting and then springing three posts on people and expecting them to engage.
One quick takeaway is to create a social content plan ahead of time. Schedule new content that your viewers will want to read. When your audience knows to expect new content, those with an interest in it are more likely to take the time to visit your profile, engage with it and share it with their followers. If you don’t have new content try repurposing older content.
Avoid Promotional Post – Share Value
People on social media aren’t there to be sold to. They’re on social media to have conversations, be entertained, or search for something that solves a problem they may be having. Taking that into account, as a hospitality business, you should try to avoid selling to potential guests as much as possible. Show your online social audience the potential benefits they will get from all the amenities at your hotel.
Keep in mind that guest engagement should continue to occur once guests are check into your hotel. To maintain real-time guest engagement, hotels must have the right communications tools in place—whether it’s a text message, WeChat, email, social media or other mobile apps such as OpenKey’s popular mobile key app, which can also provide guests with a promotional discount if they leave a review on your Facebook page.
Not reacting fast enough and through the guests’ preferred means of communicating with the hotel could be one of the biggest issues facing hotels today.
Provide Real-Time Response
A great way for hotels to stand out through social media is by responding to comments or questions in real-time. If someone says that they can’t wait for their vacation to swim in your pool, it’s a good idea to like their post and respond with an equally enthusiastic response. Your guests will be excited that the official account responded to their post and they will probably look forward to their experience even before they set foot in your hotel. If someone mentions their favorite wine, why not message them with a special offer for a bottle upon their arrival?
If there are any questions from social media users you can answer prior to their arrival, that’s a sure way to win them over and almost ensure positive guest reviews. The same should be said about negative comments. Don’t avoid them. Instead, jump in and try to deliver a solution.
That being said, it’s always a good idea to be careful as It might be a good idea at times to send a private message regarding a specific issue.
Taking into consideration the stats and insights mentioned above, you can see why social media is a vital component of your hotel’s marketing strategy, and it is a great tool to maximize your bookings.
Your potential customers are already spending more time on social media than they are anywhere else online. So, the next logical step towards increasing your bookings is to be active where your guests are, and actively communicating with them.