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Inspire guests through social media

As travellers have more accommodation options to choose from, properties are having to find new ways to stay engaged with their potential guests and stand out from their competition. One way to do this is through the reach of social media channels.

Using social media as part of your marketing strategy allows you to get in front of your target audience before they even begin researching their next destination. Often, before they start their first search, guests are becoming inspired while scrolling through their social media newsfeeds, seeing their friends and family posting photos, stories or comments about their most recent trip.

Improving the guest journey to your door

The travellers journey begins with the initial spark that inspires them to start thinking about their next holiday. They go through the process of researching, seeking advice, booking, and ultimately enjoying their planned adventure. For many, this entire process is shared through social media. Understanding the process allows you to pinpoint exactly what stage of this cycle your audience is in and tailoring your post so that it best engages with the potential guest.

Your social channels are not only important for search engine optimisation but are also a perfect opportunity to collect reviews from past guests, helping to generate new bookings. Social media has become a key form of word-of-mouth advertising and provides a great opportunity to engage with potential guests.

When we think about how important word-of-mouth is, we can understand how best to use content generated by guests (e.g. a guest sharing a photo, tagging their location or using a hashtag for your property). Reposting that content on your social media page not only allows you to engage with current guests, but it also helps in building a positive perception of your property and creating more value. Future guests feel like they can trust content generated by fellow travellers knowing it is coming from someone like them.

Start small with social media

If done right, social media can be a great way to increase traffic to your website and connect with current and future guests. However, managing a social media account can take a bit of time, so we suggest you start by selecting one channel and building up your following on that platform. Remember that this is where your target market is, so by consistently posting and engaging on these platforms you are increasing your exposure, staying top of mind, and increasing the potential of getting a booking.

Set a small goal of one or two posts a week and track which post receives the most likes, shares and comments - use these insights to create similar posts. With analytics provided by the platforms you can track engagement and get insights into the best times to post throughout the day. Get your staff involved by posting updates on what’s happening at the property this week, today, or right this moment.

Which social media channel is right for you?

If you decide that social media is right for you, then the next question is what channel to use. It is not necessary to be on all social channels, but it is important to be on the one that your target audience is most often using. Here are some tips for using the three most common social networking sites: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Facebook

Users:

  • 59% of internet users have an active Facebook account making it easily the most popular social networking site in the world. Therefore, content through Facebook has the potential to reach a wide variety of demographics. As you probably know, people most often use this platform to connect with friends and for entertainment purposes.

Posts:

  • Tie posts back to content on your website whenever possible. Facebook is, in the end, a place to market your property and encourage potential guests to book. Highlight promotions with a call to action (e.g. 'Book a room on our website today', 'Visit our website to learn more about weekend spa packages', etc.) and add a link to the website.

  • Posts that contain photos or videos typically get the most engagement.

  • Ask questions to get people to engage with the page.

  • Posts should be entertaining or worth your followers sharing with their friends.

Tips:

  • Keep your profile fairly simple with the brand logo but update your cover banner often and make it relevant to seasons or events happening during that time of year.

  • Like all reviews, it is important to reply to user’s comments. This is a great opportunity to engage with your guest before, during and after their stay.

  • Get involved with the community by following and liking other local business pages. Engaging with the content of other business will increase the visibility of your brand and potentially increase your audience.

  • Create a specific hashtag that only your property will be using and let guests know to tag their photos with it. This will allow you to easily find content relevant to your property and increase engagement with users.

Instagram

Users:

  • 23% of internet users have an Instagram account. This platform is most often used by younger adults between the ages of 18-29. Instagram is all about using a photo to tell a story that users can relate to, and so can be a great tool for those in the accommodation industry.

Posts:

  • Make sure that the photos you post capture a story giving the user a reason to check out your property’s website and consider staying at your property.

  • Be consistent with the photo filters you're using on the photos. The most successful Instagram accounts use only 1-2 different photo filters.

  • Share behind the scenes photos of your property working hard to prepare a wonderful guest experience. This adds a personal touch and builds a relationship with your followers.

  • Highlight promotions or special facilities at your property with eye-catching photos that show exactly what the guest can expect.

Tips:

  • Include a link to your website in your bio and reference the link in your post (because you won’t be able to place links in your captions.)

  • Use hashtags on photos to get more exposure. Instagram uses hashtags to organise the photos for content similar to each other. When deciding on what hashtags to pick, think about what your target audience will be searching for and where you want to be found. Putting a good mix of local and travel hashtags on photos is a great place to start, you don’t want to get lost in a fairly popular hashtag with over a million photos tagged.

  • You can tag a maximum of 30 hashtags for one photo and you can hide them as a comment so it doesn’t overpower your overall photo caption.

  • Create a specific hashtag that only your property will be using and let guest know to tag their photos with it. This will allow you to easily find content relevant to your property and increase engagement with users.

  • Engage with other local businesses by following their accounts and liking their post as well.

Twitter

Users:

  • 24% of internet users have a Twitter account. The typical Twitter user has some level of college education, fall into the middle to upper class, and typically live in or near the city.

Posts:

  • Posts need to be short and engaging, as you have a 280 or 140 character limit (depending on where in the world you are).

  • You’ll notice that posts typically lose traction after the first 18-20 minutes from when it was posted. To stay relevant post multiple times a day on a regular basis.

  • Ask questions in the post to increase engagement and encourage responses.

  • It is helpful to post about topics that are trending at the time to gain more traction and attention.

Tips:

  • Keep your profile fairly simple with the brand logo but update your cover banner often and make it relevant to seasons or events happening during that time of year.

  • Include a short bio about the property as well as a link directly to your website.

  • Create a specific hashtag that only your property will be using and let guest know to tag their photos with it. This will allow you to easily find content relevant to your property and increase engagement with users.Engage with other local businesses by following their accounts and liking their post as well or “retweeting” their content when it is relevant to you.

Social media is a powerful way develop a relationship with your guests before they even arrive at your property. If done well, it allows you to craft a story that guests want to be a part of, while providing a great platform to share guest reviews. And better yet, because these platforms are designed with ease of use in mind, it won’t take you long to get started on social media.

Already have a social media presence? Share your tips and tricks with others in the accommodation industry in the comments section below.

1 Comment

  1. Amber Castle
    April 13, 2018

    Great tips and so useful.

    Reply

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