If you are a small, independent luxury hotel, how do you compete with intimidating brands like Hilton, Marriott, or Accor? Fortunately for present hoteliers, the social media platform has level-led the playing field.
If you are operating a hotel, you cannot afford not to have an online presence. It is the best way to create a brand at a fraction of traditional marketing channels’ cost. If strategized correctly, social media platforms can bring huge mileage for your hotel.
But how can hotels leverage on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the rest? Below I want to share a few tips.
- Build your reputation on social media.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people have turned from complacent to paranoid about their surroundings. Use social media to communicate with your followers what steps your hotel has taken to disinfect the hotel. Guests should feel that they and the hotel staff are protected and safe while staying and dining inside your hotel.
When guests feel that they can trust your brand, it will gain recognition and build a reputation. I t will help your hotel become top of mind for travellers.
- Capitalize on the visual platform, use visual content
Because Facebook and Instagram are known for visual posts, pictures and videos give you an edge on viewer engagement.
Pictures of your hotel should look sharp and edgy. It should be a notch higher than regular photos taken on a smartphone.
A video on how to cook a local dish by your chef; or how the housekeeping staff cleans and disinfects every corner of your room and public area – these videos can catch potential guests’ attention and boost online reach.
- Treat your social media audience like friends.
Just like we would share a hack or bring a friend to shop on a sale, hotels should treat their followers on social media like friends. Tell them an anecdote that happened in your hotel, share pictures of an outstanding employee, or do a shoutout for an upcoming event like your Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day Promo. We want to keep our audience informed and updated and get them to engage with us.
- Crowd-generated content is king.
Crowdsourced or user-generated content is a precious tool in increasing brand awareness. Consider creating a special promo for your weekend package and asking users to post photos of their weekend stay on their social media, tagging the hotel, or using a hashtag assigned for this promo. The winner of the chosen picture will get a prize.
This easy-to-organize promo is not only fun for the guests, but it also increases user engagement on the chosen platform, thus, increasing the trust factor for your brand.
- Create witty hashtags
Use hashtags to find and connect with your target audience, invite conversation, and build your brand on social media sites. Brainstorm for a hashtag unique to your brand, encouraging users to talk about you and your business.
A hashtag that is specific to an event your hotel is promoting encourages users to live-tweet and share their experience on Twitter. It means an increase in audience-awareness and, eventually, an increase in sales.
A hashtag is also an excellent way to monitor your online reputation to assess your campaigns’ effectiveness.
- Highlight guest comments and testimonials
It is human nature that when a good thing happens, we shrug it off as a usual thing, but when the opposite happens, humans are more more likely to give a negative review.
We urge hotels to highlight a glowing review on the website or social media as online bookers regard the reviews as a significant factor whether to book with your hotel or not.
Maintaining a strong presence online and showcasing your reviews will help you stay competitive at all times.
- Practice co-branding with other hospitality platforms
Hotels are proactive with booking engines on special deals, seasonal promos, and annual sales! Not only does it cost them close to nothing, but it is also a very effective way to capture a bigger audience. These booking engines already have a considerable following, and it will only do well for the hotel to collaborate with their brand.
- Include a CTA button
A Call-To-Action (CTA) button is a quick way to see whether your social media content is working and how far is the reach.
If your hotel has produced a beautiful wedding video to entice would-be couples to consider holding the ceremony or reception or honeymoon at your hotel, do not just end it as a moving video. There should be a CTA button at the end of the presentation, such as Learn More or Inquire Now. Hotels should make it easy for interested parties to book, and the CTA button is one of the most straightforward solutions.
Whether you like it or not, social media marketing is here to stay. For independent luxury hotels looking about where or how to start, I hope the above tips can help you gain ground with your hotel.
Each of the strategies detailed above will help you build long-term relationships with your audience and seal brand recognition. The side effects of these two would be an increase in sales.
Willy Hobal / www.willyhobal.com