8 Hotel Social Media Marketing Strategies and Tips
When a traveler goes online to book a hotel, do they go to your website? Or do they visit sites like Booking.com or Airbnb?
How do you position your hotel and website as desirable destinations?
Well, the only way a guest visits your site directly is when they recognize your brand. And unless you’re the Marriott, the Hilton, or the Ritz, you’ve got work to do.
The best way to make yourself known is to create an online presence. It’s about putting the right content in the right place through hotel social media strategies and content marketing.
Still, it’s not enough to have beautiful Instagram or Facebook profiles. You need to make your hotel a desirable destination across all channels.
That’s why this article will show you:
- Which social media networks are the best for hotel social media strategies.
- How to make the best content for hotel social media marketing strategies.
- How to use social media management as a hotel to your advantage.
To start, it’s best to point out that every hotel is different and there is no one-size-fits-all hotel social media strategy.
You may run a boutique hotel or a Bed and Breakfast in a trendy vacation spot. On the other hand, you may only cater to business clientele. Perhaps, you want to cater to a mix of guests year round.
It’s important to remember that most travelers don’t start making travel preparations by booking a hotel. First, they imagine themselves in various destinations.
Do I want to go to Brazil or Bora Bora for my honeymoon? Do I want to take the kids to the beach or to the mountains?
Destination shopping starts with dreaming. Plus, there are three other travel industry micro-moments you need to understand as a hotel. There are the planning and booking stages, when travelers make their dreams reality.
Finally, there’s the days of anticipation leading up to the trip. Now, while those moments don’t sound like they have anything to do with hotel social media strategy – they do. The majority of travelers expect hospitality providers to engage with them before and during their trip to enhance their experience.
So, for any hotel that considers itself a vacation destination, it’s important to create content that reaches guests at every “micro-moment” of the journey.
At the same time, you may want to reach those who know where they’re going and may not be thrilled about it. The “I have to go to London for business” crowd. And here is where things get tricky. To cater to both crowds using the right tone, you need to dominate several channels at once.
Here are some things to ask yourself when creating your hotel social media strategy:
- How many social media networks do I have the time and money to run?
- Which social media networks do my customers use the most?
- How often can I post on social media?
- How can I integrate my social media strategy across channels?
- How do I want to tackle social media advertising and what’s my budget?
- How important is social media management for hotels and resorts?
Pro Tip: For smaller hotels that do not have a budget for several social media channels, it’s best to start by reaching out to the clientele you have. For example, if you’re that trendy boutique, you won’t want to miss out on Instagram.
Which Social Media Platforms are the Best for Your Hotel or Resort?
Here are the top five social media networks for hotels and resorts:
Now, while TripAdvisor is a review site and not a social media network, you will need to manage it on a regular basis. Responding to reviews is one of the best ways to show that your hotel listens to customers and pays attention to their needs.
1. Facebook Social Media Marketing for Hotels and Resorts
Facebook is the perfect general-use social network for hotels and resorts. That’s because the platform allows businesses to add all sorts of extra tabs, cross referencing all other social networks and websites. Plus, it’s a great place to add all your contact and amenity details.
One other thing to keep in mind, is that Facebook will often assign pages to businesses. It’s best to claim your page so that you have control over the content and conversation.
Here’s an example of a hotel that uses Facebook social media marketing well:
As you can see in the cover image, 41 Hotel was voted the number one hotel in London by Travel + Leisure in 2017. Your cover image is a great place to point out why you’re the best. A lot of hotels also use the space to add videos.
Consider the fact that video will account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic worldwide by 2021. Plus, video brings travel locations alive. There are plenty of free tools to help you make videos, and you can share your videos on Instagram and YouTube as well.
Among the standout tabs on 41 Hotel’s profile you can see:
- TripAdvisor Reviews
- Instagram Feed
- Book A Table
We’ll come back to the TripAdvisor Reviews tab in a moment. So, let’s start with the Instagram Feed tab. The tab merges your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Users can go directly to your Instagram feed by clicking the “View on Instagram” button within the page.
One of the best hotel social media ideas is to think of Facebook as a hub for your social profiles and website content – a place on social media where everything comes together. You should try to integrate as many as your social profiles with Facebook as possible.
Plus, all your content should cycle through Facebook – especially if you have a blog. The idea is to give users access to as much information about your hotel as possible in one location.
Next, is the Offer tab. Clicking on the Offer tab allows users to view offers without having to see them in their feed or yours. They will see that you’ve posted an offer, but the content is categorized as such. That way you’re not feeding your followers spammy content, and can use your posts to promote more engaging content.
For example, 41 Hotel hung stockings on their guests’ doors for Christmas. Not only is it a nice gesture, but it’s great content for a well-planned hotel social media strategy. Add a hashtag – #christmasstocking – and add some copy. The result – 84 reactions and several comments.
We’ll jump to the #Hotel41 tab next. Clicking on the tab allows users to see a feed of all content from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hotel’s branded hashtag. The tab is another great way to integrate content across platforms.
You’ll notice that a lot of the content is user-generated. The travel and hospitality industries are perfect for user-generated content. Think about it. When do people take pictures the most? When they’re on vacation.
But why would you want to retweet or share so-and-so’s vacation pictures? Research shows that Millennials (aka most consumers) trust user-generated content above all other forms of marketing.
Plus, 53% say user-generated content influences their purchasing decisions over traditional media or banner ads. So, put user-generated content to good use by retweeting, sharing, and liking your guests’ content.
Consider creating a branded hashtag to make it easier to track the success of your hotel social media marketing campaigns (more on that later) and to engage with user-generated content.
Finally, the “Book A Table” tab, “Book Now” button, and “Send Message” button all allow guests to make bookings and interact with the hotel directly from Facebook. It’s important for hotels to make it easy for guests to book. Adding Calls to Action (CTA) and click-to-book buttons on landing pages is one of the easiest solutions.
Now, let’s go back to the TripAdvisor Review tab. If you could only choose one tab, consider integrating Facebook with TripAdvisor. It’s important to respond to TripAdvisor reviews and to make it easy for people to leave reviews. Many hotels have added the tab to their profiles.
By adding the TripAdvisor tab, you’ll allow your users to write TripAdvisor reviews through Facebook. Both 41 Hotel and One & Only Palmilla have created TripAdvisor tabs to their pages. Clicking on the tab allows users to see images, reviews, and ratings without leaving Facebook.
Pro Tip: Do remember that Facebook also has its own review function. Be sure to activate this function so that users can leave Facebook reviews as well. Collecting Facebook reviews is what enables the star rating on your profile.
2. Twitter Social Media Marketing for Hotels and Resorts
Social media marketing for hotels can begin and end with Twitter. For example, the Sol Wave House Mallorca Hotel calls itself the first “Tweet Experience Hotel” in the world.
In 2012, the Spanish hotel created a Twitter-based community called #SocialWave only available through the hotel’s wifi. Hotel guests sign in with their Twitter accounts, gaining access to the community of guests staying at the hotel and a concierge service.
— Sol House Calvia Beach (@SolHouseCalvia) October 29, 2017
With one tweet, guests can summon cocktails from the bar, order food to their rooms, or engage with other guests through chat, contests, and photo sharing.
— Sol House Calvia Beach (@SolHouseCalvia) January 2, 2018
While an extreme example of hotel social media strategy, Sol Wave House does illustrate how far hotels can integrate their services and identities with social media.
On a less extreme level, most hotels will want to use Twitter to conduct customer service and to send guests time-sensitive updates about events happening at the hotel or in the area. One example of a hotel that does Twitter marketing well is The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.
The hotel has the second largest Twitter following after the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel at 460K followers. Plus, The Cosmopolitan serves up engaging content ranging from polls and user-generated content, to insightful articles and local events.
After a night at @MarqueeLV, where do you end up?
— The Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan_LV) January 9, 2018
Twitter is best used to update guests about things that are happening right now. It’s the social media platform that you use to engage guest during their stay. At the same time, your guests need to be on Twitter in the first place.
That’s why you need to build up a following before fully investing in a Twitter hotel social media strategy. Once you’ve built a following, then you can use Twitter to feed guests updates. Plus, Twitter is a great place for hotels to conduct customer service. According to a study by Twitter on UK users, 33% use Twitter for travel-related customer service issues.
Responding to customer service queries on Twitter can result in an increase in guest spending, recommendations, and repeat guests. Twitter found that 96% of users who have a friendly experience buy from the brand again, while 83% recommend the brand to others.
One example of a hotel with a working, dedicated Twitter handle for customer service is Hyatt Hotels – @HyattConcierge. Do keep in mind that Hyatt is a large hotel chain with a team that can answer Twitter queries 24/7.
— Hyatt Concierge (@HyattConcierge) December 22, 2017
And that’s the one thing to watch out for – answer speed. As much as 71% of Twitter users expect a brand to respond within an hour of Tweeting.
While the majority of brands don’t have a problem, you may want to hold off creating a dedicated customer service Twitter handle if you can’t keep up with queries.
3. Instagram Social Media Marketing for Hotels and Resorts
Visual content is important for travel and hotel social media marketing strategies. That’s why Instagram is one of the most important social networks for hotels.
You want travelers to get excited when visualizing staying in your hotel and spending time at their destination. Instagram is the perfect platform for posting beautiful images of your hotel and desirable destinations in your area.
Here’s an example of a hotel Instagram marketing done right:
Here’s an example of content that citizenM posted to Instagram to show desirable locales around London:
The citizenM Instagram post does two things right. First, it shows a restaurant in London that has a button for champagne. It’s important to keep the tone of the social platform. Instagram leans toward the artistic and glamorous. Champagne buttons are pretty glamorous.
Second, the post mentions that there are more London hotspots available in the hotel’s city guides. CitizenM has a dedicated blog that gives readers recommendations, information, and other interesting content.
Having a blog is one of the best things you can do to make your hotel’s website more visible. You’ll show up for more queries in Google, your website will have a stronger domain authority, and you’ll have endless content to push out through your social media channels.
Again, you’ll want to make sure you do include some user-generated content as a part of your hotel social media strategy. That’s also why you’ll want to make sure you’re using popular and dedicated hashtags across all platforms.
Here is an example of a citizenM post. Here the hotel has integrated user-generated content into their Instagram marketing efforts:
Another thing you’ll want to do for your hotel Instagram marketing strategy is create space within your hotel that is designed for Instagram selfies. Now, you don’t have to “create” the space. You can use space that already exists by promoting it as Instagrammable.
For example, citizenM has a marble, spiral staircase in one of their locations. They posted an image to Instagram stating that you can find an “Instagrammable spiral staircase” right in their hotel:
Here’s another example of a hotel that uses the space it already has:
In this post, you can see a lot of the best hotel social media marketing tactics in action. For example, the content is a user-generated Instagram post shared by the hotel. Second, the post integrates Instagram and Facebook.
Third, if you didn’t notice, the Stanley Hotel is the very same hotel from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The iconic hallway from the film is perfect Instagram material. Promoting the image invites users to use the space as such.
Pro Tip: Consider creating corresponding hashtags for your Instagrammable space. Remember, you’re creating opportunities for your guests and influencers to feature you on Instagram for free. A hashtag will let you keep track of the success of the campaign.
4. Pinterest Social Media Marketing for Hotels and Resorts
Having both a Pinterest and an Instagram account is ideal for hotel social media strategies because the two platforms serve two different purposes. The difference between Pinterest and Instagram is aspiration.
Many Pinterest users spend time pinning images of places and hotels they would like to visit sometime in the future. Instagram is for showing off that you made it there. Plus, Pinterest is different when it comes to demographics.
The majority of Pinterest users are women in their 40’s who make $50K per year or more. These are women who have money and plan their family vacations using the social media platform. Plus, it’s interesting to note that Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram.
Instagram is not going to give you the same type of targeted demographic. Instagram is more about engaging the influencer. Pinterest is about engaging the mom with the checkbook.
One hotel that does Pinterest hotel marketing well is the Four Seasons. The hotel chain has seen an incredible gain in traffic since they joined Pinterest as a part of their hotel social media marketing strategy.
Traffic gains include a 1,000% increase in daily average visitors from Pinterest and a 1,700% increase in daily average clicks to its website from Pinterest year-over-year. One reason why Four Seasons is so successful, is that the hotel tracks saves, likes, and visits to figure out what’s popular on Pinterest.
On their main account, Four Seasons has 63 boards ranging in topics from travel destinations and food to bridal inspiration and their “famously comfortable” beds.
Another important aspect of the Four Seasons Pinterest strategy is that the hotel creates individual accounts for each location. For example, the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills uses its boards to highlight the luxury of Hollywood and California Flower Power.
If you’re a large chain hotel like the Four Seasons, creating accounts with individualized board for each location is the way to go. Plus, remember that Pinterest isn’t just about sharing great images. Pinterest is a social media platform for bookmarking ideas. Whether it’s flower arrangement instructions, a recipe, or furniture DIY, make sure you include valuable content that’s easy for pinners to revisit and use later.
5. TripAdvisor Social Media Marketing for Hotels and Resorts
You need lots of quality, online reviews if you want your hotel to perform well. That’s because most customers rely on online reviews and sites like TripAdvisor to decide which hotels to book.
The first thing you need to do on TripAdvisor is claim your listing. Once you do that, you can respond to reviews, update details about your hotel, and get analytics for your hotel on TripAdvisor.
It’s of the highest importance that you update even small details about your hotel. You have to make sure that what people see online is what they’re going to get in reality. See, your guests are already building up expectations about your hotel in their heads. When reality doesn’t align, that can result in bad reviews for you.
Anytime there are new amenities, renovation, or a fresh coat of paint, you need to make sure your TripAdvisor account reflects the change. To be honest, a good rule of thumb for hotel social media strategies is to make sure all your social media accounts reflect any changes.
People want to get what they see. Keeping your information and images fresh and accurate ensures that happens and builds trust and loyalty with your guests.
Here’s an example of a hotel that has a handle on TripAdvisor social media marketing:
The 414 Hotel is the #1 Traveler Ranked hotel in New York City on TripAdvisor. Users looking for hotels with TripAdvisor can filter by Traveler Ranked, Best Value, Lowest Price, and Distance. It’s best if your hotel pops up in the top results for Traveler Ranked, but you need a lot of positive reviews for that to happen
That’s one of the reasons why you want to encourage lots of reviews as a part of your hotel social media strategy. One way to do so is to sync TripAdvisor with your Facebook profile as mentioned before, another is via email. But one thing you will want to stay away from is adding the TripAdvisor widget to your website.
If people are visiting your website, they’re either looking for information or they’re ready to book. Either way you do not want to hinder their activities or redirect them offsite. While it sounds like a good idea, adding the TripAdvisor widget to your website could be damaging.
Finally, the most important part of managing a TripAdvisor account is responding to reviews. Now, it’s obvious that bad reviews need mitigation. Here is an example of how the General Manager at the Belvedere Hotel in New York City handled a bad review on TripAdvisor:
You can see that he promises that action will be taken and that he will be “reviewing comments with the staff” to ensure no one has an experience like the guest described in his review. Treating bad reviews as “feedback” is a good move for hotel social media strategy. Guests want to see that you’re listening and that you care about them and their experience.
The less obvious strategy is to also respond to and reward positive reviews. Saying “thank you” for a positive review again makes your guest feel heard, and let’s them and others know that you’re paying attention.
Pro Tip: While Snapchat caters to a demographic too young to book a hotel, you may want to consider it. Using Snapchat Geofilters for your hotel is a great way to engage with younger guests staying with their families.
Feeling confident about your hotel social media strategy? Want to take the next steps and find out how to use social media for market research? Check out our guide: 7 Tips on How to Use Social Media for Market Research
One thing that needs to go at the top of your hotel social media marketing strategy “To-do List” is claiming your Google My Business Profile(s).
Remember, if you’re running a franchise, you will need to claim a profile for each location. And if you’re part of a large chain, you need to make sure information across business profiles, social profiles, and websites is consistent.
Why is claiming your My Business Profile important?
Claiming your profile allows you to show up in your own Knowledge Panel in Google search results. That’s prime Google real estate. Knowledge Panels contain nuggets of information about your business, including links to all your social media profiles.
Here’s an example:
Want to find out more about how local SEO practices, such as Google My Business Profiles, can help small hotels and businesses? Read our guide: Local SEO for Small Businesses
4 Tips for Understanding Social Media Management for Hotels and Resorts
Social media management for hotels and resorts is a great way to manage your online reputation, conduct customer service, find influencers, and track the success of social media campaigns.
To manage your online reputation and conduct customer service, you’ll use your brand name. But to find influencers and to track the success of a hotel social media strategy, you may want to consider using dedicated hashtags.
What are dedicated hashtags?
Dedicated hashtags are anything that represents or symbolizes your campaign and isn’t already a popular hashtag. You don’t want to use hashtags that people can apply to anything. Otherwise, it will be difficult to sift out mentions pertaining only to your campaign.
One way you can create a dedicated hashtag is to use the name of your hotel as citizenM does for their campaigns. In the post below, you can see that they’ve created a couple of dedicated hashtags including #citizenMsays and #citizenM.
You can also create a dedicated hashtag that reflects the nature of the campaign. A good example is Travel Brilliantly for Marriott hotels.
The Marriott launched the marketing campaign in 2013 and still uses it to unify it’s brand across marketing materials and social media channels with the hashtag #TravelBrilliantly. While the hotel social media strategy is quite old, the hashtag still gets traction across different channels.
Here you can see how the Marriott incorporated the slogan into their Facebook cover image to form a cohesive brand message across platforms:
To track campaigns, you would simply plug the hashtag into a social media monitoring tool:
The result? You’ll see all public mentions using your hashtag. What might be rather surprising is that these hashtags don’t seem to get much traction. For example, citizenM’s namesake hashtag appeared in 18 mentions over the last month.
The Algonquin Hotel’s #algonquincat hashtag only appeared in 8 mentions last month. Granted, the hashtag only applies to posts about the Algonquin Hotel’s famous live-in cat, Hamlet, and the hotel’s social media strategy that casts Hamlet as a mascot.
And while #TravelBrilliantly did well in comparison with 254 mentions, most were made by the Marriott themselves.
That’s why it’s a good idea to use popular hashtags alongside your branded hashtags. Using popular hashtags will give you the reach you need to get your message in front of a bigger, more influential audience.
The hardest part here is identifying which hashtags are popular. Simple hashtags like #hotel and #travel tend to be popular and get a lot of traction. For example, while #TravelBrilliantly had only 254 mentions, #hotel had almost 28,000 mentions over the course of one month.
Other popular hashtags used in mentions with #hotel include #travel, #vacation, and #luxury. All are good choices for a hotel social media strategy for Instagram.
Other popular hashtags for hotel social media strategies include:
- Location-based Hashtags ( #paris, #nyc)
- Other Hotel-based Hashtags (#hotellife, #hotelroom)
- Travel Hashtags (#traveller, #travelblogger)
- General Use Instagram Hashtags (#love, #instagood, #beautiful)
- Object-based Hashtags (#coffee, #champagne)
So, a post with both branded and popular hashtags would have a string of hashtags that looked something like this:
#citizenM #london #hotellife #hotel #travel #linstagood #beautiful #campagne #lovelondon
One way to track down popular hashtags for your hotel social media strategy is to check out what the influencers are using. You can do that by finding influencers already using your dedicated hashtags. Plus, it’s not a bad idea to check out the accounts of the top travel and hotel brands.
For example, the top influencer using the #TravelBrilliantly hashtag is Instagrammer lavivienyc, who also happens to rank as a top influencer for #hotel.
Here’s the post from above on Instagram:
Notice the use of branded hashtags for both the Sheraton and Marriott hotels. Plus, there are several location-based hashtags (e.g., #hawaii) and some general travel hashtags, such as #travelblogger and #travelmore.
Once you’ve mined the post for popular hashtags, you might want to consider posts like the one above as perfect for user-generated content that you can share and promote across your social channels. And once you’ve done that, you may even consider reaching out to an Instagram influencer like lavivienyc to further promote your brand as a part of your hotel social media strategy.
Remember, Instagram users are some of the most engaged social media users – 10x more than Facebook users for example. And many people are now choosing destinations only to recreate images they find on Instagram.
Connecting with an influencer who acts as a brand ambassador for your hotel could result in a ripple effect. Other Instagrammers will book your hotel hoping to capture the same images and luxurious experience as the influencers they follow. And yet others will book thanks to them. That’s why influencer marketing is one of the best hotel social media strategies.
Pro Tip: Let’s say you decide to find an Instagram influencer for your hotel. How do you choose a great brand ambassador? The key is to look beyond the number of followers. Instead, choose influencers who are well suited to your brand and have a highly engaged following.
Tip 4 – Using Facebook and Social Media for Hotel Customer Service
With social media evolving more into B2B and the hotel industry, social media marketing can begin to solve other business problems as well. A great example is using social media chatbots as a live chat solution.
Facebook‘s new messenger chatbot is an example of a B2B chatbot that many brands have started to embrace (and many more should.)
In Facebook‘s F8 2018 keynote, it was revealed that over 8 million messages have been exchanged between users on Facebook’s platform and companies that are using Facebook messenger marketing chatbot since it’s creation, but less than 1% of businesses on Facebook are actually leveraging the technology.
Facebook‘s chatbot replaces the need for a live chat service for hotel companies that have a Facebook business account. The chatbot is an automated AI program that helps provide service 24/7 to visitors, creates new lead opportunities, automates e-commerce processes, mines data, helps answer common inquiries, and creates personalized experiences.
With over 1.3 billion users utilizing Facebook Messenger actively each month, it’s a huge loss to not take advantage of the platform’s chatbot
Making sure your social media monitoring keywords render the perfect results is difficult. Find out how to refine your searches for more relevant results.
Read our guide: Boolean Search Operators for Social Media Monitoring
The thing to remember as a hotelier is that taking a customer from daydreaming to booking is all about well-positioned content and timing. That’s why it’s important to have a well-crafted hotel social media strategy.
Plus, the only way to beat the big boys who dominate Google Ads and the search results is to make yourself known. Create blog content that outranks your competitors. Create a social media marketing strategy for hotels that takes that content to guests when they need it most.
Do these things and you’ll find that you’re well on your way to turning your hotel into a destination all by itself.