Social media is an inescapable aspect of modern life, but for hotels it’s more than that. It’s a marketing strategy that can boost your business more than you might realize. 63% of companies who use social media marketing attribute it to greater marketing efficiency. After all, you want to reach your audience where they are, and 87% of millennial Facebook users use social media to help make travel decisions.
Social media marketing has a lot to offer. Online platforms give guests a chance to explore and engage with a hotel organically, instead of relying on conventional marketing messages. Social media marketing feels more authentic, more relevant and more instructive, which is why it can drive a huge number of bookings when it’s done well. Unfortunately, authenticity isn’t always easy to manufacture.
In today’s climate, it’s rare for a hotel not to have a social media presence, but few use it to the fullest. Not because they don’t want to, but because they aren’t armed with the knowledge they need. Here’s how to plan and perfect your hotel’s social media marketing strategy.
Highlight Your Strengths
Social media presents a golden opportunity to develop your brand without the constraints of traditional advertising. First and foremost, fill your profiles with interesting, original content. This can range from insightful blogs to gorgeous pictures to stimulating podcasts on adjacent topics. Remember, most guests won’t be interested in a blog about hotel management, but they would love a blog about how hard it is to arrange a fish pedicure for a guest at 2 a.m.
Focus on highlighting what makes your location, staff or services stand out. Avoid anything generic; you want guests to be excited about seeing your hotel in the flesh after getting to know it so well online. Be careful to avoid “marketing” heavy posts that might turn followers away.
Manage Your Reviews
If you’re going to be active on social media, you have to be prepared to take criticism gracefully. According to TripAdvisor, 96% of travellers peruse reviews before booking a hotel, and how to reply to those reviews matters. Be sure you’re reading and responding to reviews regularly on all platforms, OTAs included, with appreciation or apologies as appropriate. Responding to reviews gives you greater control over how they affect your brand. Plus, it shows that your hotel is committed to guest satisfaction.
Encourage People to Participate
Give people a reason to engage with your profiles by holding contests, giving away prizes or soliciting pictures and feedback. Offering a free one-night stay, for instance, can drive a lot of traffic to your profiles, make people want to learn about the hotel and encourage them to follow you to learn about future contests. People will give you their attention if you reward them for it.
Find a Cadence That Works
More isn’t always better when it comes to social media marketing. No one wants their entire feed to explode with corporate posts, but neither do you want to vanish in the mess of other posts. Stick to 3-5 daily Tweets, 1-2 Facebook posts and one Instagram post. Make sure you’re posting consistently by having a single person in charge, and follow a long-term calendar that maps out holidays and special events happening at or around the hotel. Engaging profiles require systematic updates.
Participate on All Platforms
Every social media platform is a marketing tool. Hotels need to be active on the obvious channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but you shouldn’t neglect things like YouTube or Pinterest. Most importantly, treat OTAs, especially TripAdvisor, just like you treat a more conventional social media platform: put your best face forward, encourage guests to leave reviews and respond to those reviews appropriately.
Tie Campaigns to Milestones and Metrics
Social media marketing should have a distinct purpose: to drive bookings around a certain event or improve your hotel’s rating on an OTA. Social media campaigns can feel like a waste of time and money when it’s unclear what success looks like or how to measure it empirically. Make sure that every campaign has an explicit goal tied to clear performance metrics.
Great social media marketing can fill a lot of hotel rooms. Just remember that the in-person experience has to match what guests are presented online. If expectations are not met, guests will leave disappointed—and flock to social media to complain. Thankfully, avoiding this issue is easy. Let the guest experience dictate your social media image, not the other way around.
RoomKeyPMS gives hotels the tools they need to excel online and in person. Put your property in the best position possible. Contact our team today.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / 10 FACE