There are many different marketing channels that hotel owners can use to raise the profile of their business and pull in extra bookings, but social media is surely one of the most useful – and most popular.
According to Statista, it’s estimated that there will be 2.5 billion social network users worldwide by 2018, representing almost 90 per cent of people online. This means there is a vast audience to be tapped up that might be open to making hotel reservations at almost any time of year. Furthermore, the Social Times found that 28 per cent of time spent online last year was spent on social media, so hotels that turn a blind eye to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are likely to miss out on vital business to properties that have got a presence. And since customers who interact with companies over social media spend up to 40 per cent more money with those brands than other customers, according to Bain & Company, there’s really no excuse not to have a hotel social media strategy. So, how can hotel marketers get in on the act and get social? It’s all about making a splash concerning your hotel’s potential for great experiences. Here are some ideas. Consider each site differently Social networks such as Pinterest and Facebook are very different and are used by discrete sets of people, meaning that they should be treated as separate entities. Each has plus points and drawbacks and some are better for younger people than older ones and vice versa, so it’s up to you to work out how they would work for your hotel.
Strategies can then be developed for the relevant ones and worked on to boost bookings. Remember that not all networks will be applicable, so don’t be tempted to have a thin presence on every single one; concentrate on those that work and populate them well.Create engaging content Putting out posts on social media is about more than simply pasting in sales messages. People go on these sites to have fun and engage, so make sure you fulfil this obligation by publishing interesting content. Videos are great at present because Google rewards them in search listings and they can really help travellers to daydream as they look at their news feeds, so have a think about what you could put on film around your property.
Photos are also an absolute must, whether they’re of local architecture, food from your restaurant or your smiling staff in the hotel lobby. You can really make the most of them on Snapchat and Instagram for the millennial generation. Finally, don’t underestimate the impact of content in the form of articles. We’ve moved on from the days of keyword-loaded news, so post interesting things like why people should visit your resort, how to pack for a beach break and other magazine-style articles for travellers to read and share.You can even use these articles to drive traffic from social media to parts of your website that might not be as heavily visited as you’d like – and then achieve conversions by putting ‘book now’ buttons in a prominent place. Direct bookings through social media? Although it is relatively early days, some of the bigger hotel chains have been testing out allowing people to actually make hotel reservations directly through social media sites, rather than redirecting them to another portal.
So far, achieving this through Twitter and Instagram has proven a little tricky, but conversions have been recorded through Facebook which proves it can be done. Although this phenomenon as a common procedure may still be some way off, it’s worth keeping an eye on things to see what develops over the coming months and years and whether you hotel can make adaptations to accommodate it. Paying for advertising Although you can send out your brand message directly through social media without having to spend any money on it at all, many companies still like to achieve greater exposure by paying for targeted campaigns.This has proven very successful for some brands and can speak well to certain audiences who see them crop up in their news feeds, so it might be worth considering if your hotel can spare some of its marketing budget for ads.You could always test them out for a certain period of time and then check the impact with Google Analytics to assess if they’re working before committing to more.
Studies have shown that just a few hours a week spent building a social media profile and putting out marketing messages can have a tangible impact on conversions, which means easy revenue for hotel owners and fewer rooms left empty. By following these tips and showcasing your property in a lively, personable way, you could capture the imagination of social media users and hopefully achieve more direct bookings.