9 Successful Social Media Marketing Ideas for Hotels
The opportunities that social media have brought to the hospitality sector are endless and oh so exciting. Social media marketing for hotels is a land full of wonders, where creativity and technology can give you impressive results.
But using social media marketing for your hotel doesn’t mean posting every once in a while on Facebook and dropping a few tweets during the holiday season. Sorry to crush your dream!
Social media marketing requires planning in order to build a cohesive and strong brand image with a clear message which customer will be able to recognise across all platforms. Your objective should be to charm your customers through your unique online presence and make them dream of their next, unforgettable holiday at your hotel.
We know at times it might feel like it is all too complicated to manage, while you also have to run a successful business. But don’t despair, we are here to provide you with 9 social media marketing ideas for your hotel that actually work. This is a good start, even though it is not at all an exhaustive list of the tools and strategies you can play with.
Tell unique personal stories
How many beautiful hotels with great service exist in the world? Millions! When there are so many choices, the one thing that will set you apart from the crowd is the one thing that makes your hotel unique. The one thing you are proud of and that represents the soul of your business. A great example is the Soneva group, which offer sustainable tourism in some of the most enchanting corners of the world. Soneva focuses on its sustainability mission and has built their image and message in a way that positions them as one of the leaders in the sector. They use social media marketing to amplify the share their unique offer through a curated style which resonates with their target audience.
Have a consistent brand image and voice
Having a clear brand image and voice is one of the stepping stones to ensure your success, both online and offline. The social media world is a very unique environment, where clear identity, style and creative direction separate the winning brands from the ones left behind. Before starting any social media account or campaign it is key to spend some time with your agency defining your brand style guide, your tone of voice and your creative direction in order to ensure a cohesive brand personality.
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful tools within a social media marketing strategy, especially for the hospitality sector. Influencers are individuals with small or large followings on social media (usually Instagram, Youtube, Facebook or Twitter), not to be confused with celebrities (even though some of them basically are celebrities within their own niche). They have very engaged audiences and are able to share highly personalised and relevant branded messages and content.
Collaborating with influencers can mean offering a free stay at your hotel or in some cases even paying for a promoted post. We recommend focusing on smaller accounts, between 20k to 200k followers, as these are the accounts with higher engagement. A hotel who uses influencers in an impeccable way is Tri Lanka, on Lake Kogalla in Sri Lanka. Their account has a very curated collection of images taken by an equally curated crowd of influencers. They only invite creators who are in line with their brand, who can create images which align with their aesthetics and who can be authentic ambassadors for the hotel. The secret is not hosting the influencers with the biggest account but rather focusing on the right ones, from which you will have powerful content to use.
Unleash the power of targeting
Facebook has superpowers. Powers that will do wonders for your hotel's social media marketing if used correctly and will help you reach your potential customer at the right time, with the right message. Through the infinite targeting possibilities offered by Facebook Ad manager, you target people based on hyper-relevant criteria. You can target people who are looking to book a holiday and probably searching for the perfect hotel. You can target people who have an anniversary in the next 30 days, and might be planning a romantic getaway. If you offer wellness packages at your hotel, you can target people who are interested in yoga, massages or meditation. The opportunities are truly endless! Taking the time to define your target at the beginning of each campaign is one of the most crucial steps, which will ensure successful results and help minimise the costs.
Offer something that people want
Promotions can be a very strong lever to drive people to visit your hotel. By using a ‘magnet’, which can be anything from a free spa session to a 20% discount on the cost, you can use social media advertising to reach that audience and pull them in store. The two key aspects that determine the success of a promotional campaign on social media are a desirable offer and precise targeting. By desirable offer, we mean something that your potential customers will not be able to resist. Something desirable enough to go through the effort of engaging with your promotion and sharing their contact details with you (and in most cases to download a coupon or use a code).
Good targeting will make sure that this offer is delivered to the audience that will be most receptive. For example, if we are offering a discount on a weekend package for Valentine’s Day, you don’t want to make the mistake of targeting singles!
Showcase your wider offer
It’s easy, at times, to focus on promoting only your key offer, namely the rooms or the accommodation. But when people are on holiday, the accommodation is only a part of the overall experience and they most likely envision their vacation filled with more than just a comfortable sleep. If your hotel has a spa, make sure to dedicate time to showcasing. The same goes for your hotel restaurant, indulging in lavish dinners is one of the most looked for moments when on holiday, so you want to make sure your guests book their dinners with you.
Take inspiration from Shangri La Paris, showcasing their cocktails offer and bar or Cape Weligama
promoting their massages and spa services.
Never forget hashtags
We encounter Instagram accounts all too often where the posts are shared using the wrong hashtags or even worse, with no hashtags. A post shared without hashtags, or location setting has pretty much zero chance of performing. You have to think of hashtags as your doorway into Instagram, a way for users to find your post while they are researching a certain topic. If you don’t use hashtags, no user, besides a small percentage of your followers (but not 100% of them either, more likely 2 to 10%) will ever be exposed to your content. The hashtags should be researched beforehand and need to be aligned with the image you are posting. They should not only describe the image (ie. #hotel #room), as these are very general hashtags which will have an enormous amount of posts being tagged with.
In addition to these more descriptive hashtags, you want to add a series of hashtags which are related to your niche. These require a bit more research, but it will ensure that a very specific user who is interested in the topic gets exposed to your content (ie. #beautifulhotels #luxuryhotels #hotelsinsider #beaches_and_resorts). Check out this example to get some inspiration.
Use FB ads in a smart way
Facebook and Instagram ads are one of the most powerful ways to increase your awareness, drive interest, ensure that your ideal consumer finds their way to booking a room at your hotel and finally becoming an advocate for your brand offline.
We like to think of as a virtuous cycle that starts on their Facebook or Instagram feed. As you might have heard or possibly experienced in first person on your business social media accounts, Facebook has become more and more sophisticated in the way it delivers content to its users, using algorithms to decide whether a specific post is worth being shown, based on its prediction of how engaged the user will find it. It all sounds very complicated, but the key bit of info you need to take out of this, is that always and only posting with zero media spend will not get you very far. At best 10% of your followers will see your post. Through Facebook advertising, you can reach an array of targeted audiences, to deliver relevant messages at the right time.
Pinterest might have not been in your radar, but we hope you will reconsider it as a large part of your target audience is most likely on Pinterest and already engaging with your competitors. The visual platform which gives everyone the possibility to create mood boards of their hobbies and passions is a fantastic channel where you can visually showcase your offer. You can create different boards to highlight different areas of your business, for example, the food served at your restaurant or the interior design.
Pinterest is a platform base where the visual element is fundamental, so you need to ensure that the photography showcasing your hotel is of high quality and portrays it in the best light. A great way to connect your website with your Pinterest, in order to encourage traffic between the two, is to activate the ‘Pin it’ option on all the images on your site. Doing so, you will give your customers the possibility to save your images in their Pinterest boards and in exchange, you will be part of their personal inspiration boards. Have a look at a great Pinterest execution done by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.