There are an estimated 2.34 billion social network users across the world and it isn’t just members of the public who are regularly logging on to Facebook or checking what’s trending on Twitter. Businesses increasingly see hotel social media as a vital part of their portfolio – and that goes for hotels just as much as any other company. However, they don’t really have much of a choice in this, as consumers are expecting to see their favorite brands online when they log on.
According to a GoDaddy survey, seven out of 10 consumers prefer a business with a social media presence, while HubSpot found consumers expect companies to be active on at least three to four social channels. At the very least, 95 per cent of millennials, 78 per cent of Generation X-ers and 70 per cent of 45 to 60-year-olds expect brands to have a Facebook page on which they can post information and communicate. This isn’t just because they are addicted to technology; it’s because a positive social media presence confirms the legitimacy of a company and acts as an open method of communication. They know that if you’re regularly posting on Twitter and Instagram, you’re likely to be there should they need to ask you a question – and you won’t run off with their money. But social media shouldn’t just be a place where your hotel pops up every so often to advertise rates.
Here are some tricks you can use to make your presence actually attract guests.
1. Enticing cover photos In the past, travellers would pore over magazines to see beautiful photos of destinations they dreamed of visiting, but many of these titles have now gone and some people no longer buy paper magazines anyway. Your social media posts could replicate the success of these enticing images by luring people in via gorgeous cover photos. Don’t just use your brand logo – make it a stunning picture of a beach or landmark near your hotel, and keep changing it regularly to appeal to different demographics.
2. Exciting competitions All you need is a little word of mouth to boost your hotel’s profile and social media can help messages spread like wildfire. This is especially the case if you’re giving something away, so consider setting aside some of your marketing budget to provide a prize that you can donate on Twitter or a similar channel.It doesn’t have to be a two-week holiday with all the trimmings; a lunchtime meal in your restaurant or even branded goodie bags will do, as people love getting something for nothing. Make it a fun competition rather than just an email entry to get entrants really buzzing about it.
3. Work your hashtags With so many messages going out on social media on a daily basis, it’s easy for individual voices to get lost in the crowds. Avoid this by making the most of hashtags with every post (but don’t irritate people by tagging #every #single #word) so that guests searching for particular terms can find you easily.Don’t forget that you can also jump on other existing hashtags too, including hugely popular ones like Throwback Thursday if you have historical images of your hotel (it’s even better if they’re funny).
4. Offer fascinating content People go on social media to engage with others and to have fun, so you won’t appeal to them if all you post is adverts for your room rates. Instead, think about what you can offer them based on your research into their personas, whether that’s recipes from your restaurant, articles on historical landmarks or blogs about travelling with kids. If they like what they read, they’re more likely to engage and share, which can spread the word about you and boost bookings.
5. Make the most of photo sharing There are plenty of image-based social media sites these days, with Instagram being perhaps the most popular, so make them work for you by showing off lovely photos of your hotel and its surroundings. You can share images yourself using hashtags, but you can also encourage previous guests to do the same. If you have someone available who can do it – or can hire someone – it might be a good idea to take pictures of guests while they are staying with you too, as people love to see themselves captured in photographs. You could even make the original available to them via a downloadable gallery if they sign up to your email newsletter or subscribe to your YouTube channel, perhaps.
Social media is now ubiquitous, so make sure you’re getting the best results from it and your posts are both engaging with would-be guests and driving future bookings.