Social media offers incredible opportunities for hotels and tourism businesses, including marketing and promotion, building rapport and trust with guests, and offering added value for customers. According to Hotel Marketing.Com By 2016, half of the travel industry will be using social media as a way of generating revenue and bookings. Currently more than one-fifth (22 percent) use social media as a revenue generating tool with a further 27 percent planning to do so over the next five years.
If you’re looking to utilise social media to promote your hotel business and build trust, it can be tricky to know where to begin. There are so many established and emerging social platforms available, it can be hard to know which is right for your business. While investing time and resources across a multitude of social networks can work very well for some hotels, choosing one or two to focus on and do well can be equally effective.
Here’s a run down on the 4 social platforms we recommend hotels consider as part of their social media marketing strategy, and some suggestions on how to best utilise them.
Facebook and Twitter
Facebook offers huge opportunities for promotion and engagement for businesses, including cost-effective Facebook advertising options, and can be an excellent platform for hotels and other tourism businesses to reach a global audience. Vibe Hotels has built a community of more than 36,000 Facebook fans by posting content that engages, informs and entertains.
Similarly, Twitter has become an increasingly popular space for marketing and promotion and customer engagement. Check out MGM Grand Hotel to see how they have used Twitter to build a following of almost 160,000 followers.
Twitter is also a popular space for social searching and sharing – meaning many prospective guests will be looking for you on that platform, checking out the reviews and comments made by previous guests, and then sharing their own experiences staying with you.
If you’re starting out on Facebook or Twitter, setting up a business page or profile is relatively easy. The ways in which you’ll use both platforms is similar, though the nature of Twitter’s short-and-sweet post-style makes it a slightly faster-paced medium.
Both spaces are about informing, engagement and conversation, so you’ll need to post updates regularly, and monitor in-page comments and mentions of your brand so you can respond and engage accordingly.
Post links to your other online spaces, updates on booking deals and promotions, photos and video clips illustrating your hotel’s best features, links to useful resources for guests such as nearby attractions and eateries, and questions inviting guests and customers to offer feedback, demonstrating your ongoing focus on customer satisfaction.
Instagram is still up-and-coming in terms of business promotion, but it is being used – and used well – more and more by social-savvy businesses. Instagram is about photo and video sharing, and therefore offers an exceptional platform for promoting your hotel or tourism business with a focus on the visual. Potential guests may browse your Instagram feed to get a better feel for the look and atmosphere of your hotel – and may search Instagram for your brand name if they want to see photos of your establishment taken by other guests.
If you have a particularly stylish, architecturally interesting, or recently redecorated hotel, Instagram should be high on your list for creating social engagement, to show off how beautiful your space is. The St. Regis Punta Mita does a fantastic job of this. Likewise, if you offer a wide range of in-house activities and events for guests, showcasing these via Instagram will highlight them to prospective guests – while also encouraging social sharing and engagement with current guests photographed and mentioned.
Regularly searching your hotel or brand name on Instagram will also reveal images posted by guests – which you can then ‘regram’ or re-post, to demonstrate customer engagement and satisfaction.
While some businesses struggle to figure out how to best utilise Pinterest – an online photo-sharing platform where users search and pin images onto their own inspiration boards – this social site has become one of the most popular for search. For hotels looking to harness the power of Pinterest, one of the best strategies is to think of your business pinboards as an opportunity to add extra value for prospective and existing guests.
Pinterest offers an excellent space to showcase photos of your establishment and guests enjoying your facilities to promote your business, but it’s also a great place to share other content your guests will find useful, such as links to nearby attractions and local events, information about public transport and travel tips, and holidaymaking inspiration. Four Seasons Hotel New York does this exceptionally well, and offers a range of interesting and beautifully curated boards, including hotel images, concierge recommendations, and quintessential New York, to gain more than 1600 followers.
A focus on the user experience and adding genuine value while promoting your hotel will do wonders for building an online rapport with guests and building brand trust.
Some great examples
Looking for a little inspiration? Some other hotels doing a great job on social media include:
- Ark Bar Beach Resort via Facebook
- Bourbon Orleans Hotel via Facebook
- Hard Rock Hotel Penang via Pinterest
- Hotel Bel-Air via Instagram
- Hotel los Angeles via Instagram
- Hotel Monaco Müchen via Pinterest
- Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts via Instagram
- The May Fair Hotel via Twitter
- SKYCITY Auckland via Facebook
- Soho Grand Hotel via Twitter
- Trump Vegas Hotel via Twitter
- Watergate Bay Hotel via Pinterest
Using social media is a great way to reach potential guests, but it’s also a great way to encourage brand evangelism – so your existing clientele promotes your business for you.