An incredible 7 in 10 Americans regularly use social media to connect with those around them. Globally, billions of people, more than half the global population, report that they use social media. When it comes to building your brand and finding new customers as a hotel, using these channels effectively has become a competitive advantage for success becomes crucial. Hotels that leverage these channels well can see significant benefits in their revenue and brand reach.
Social media platforms and trends continue to change and provide new opportunities, which means that brands need to actively work on remaining current in these strategies and techniques.
Facebook/Meta, LinkedIn, and Instagram have added new assets types, such as stories and articles or use of polls and slide decks that allow for different combinations of media type, length, and interaction. LinkedIn can be a relevant and effective platform for marketing your hotel to business travelers or for meetings and events.
In this article, we give tips about some of the key initiatives that you could undertake to maximize the gain on social media channels. The content in this article is gathered from several years of practical experience and experiments working on social media optimization strategies for our clients.
Before we delve deeper into the top 10 ideas for social media, let’s take a look at why you should even consider investing in social media.
Why social media works for hotels?
To fully understand the purpose of investing the time and energy into a social media campaign, you want to see the value your hotel can gain. Specifically, we can point to three main areas where social media will benefit you.
- Social media allows you to establish a direct relationship with your customer like no other media. It enables you to actively engage with your customers and lay the foundation for strong relationships.
- Social media offers an opportunity for you to establish yourself as an expert in your market.
- Social media allows hotels to provide social proof in a peer-to-peer method, and people trust peer input more than they do from the hotel properties or brand.
Now that you see some of the value of social media, let’s explore exactly how you can use social media optimization for your hotel.
What is the social media marketing value chain?
We have broken down the three stages of social media promotion–Create, Promote & Manage, and Monitor–into steps so that you can see exactly how you can build your strategy through this system. See how you can put these tips to use in your organization.
Populate all available fields in the platform settings, and invest in quality custom images and short videos. Make sure each of your business profiles captures your brand and the experiences you want to broadcast to your target audience. As a hotel, you can use social media to communicate far more than a list of your hotel’s amenities. You can communicate the experiences you offer, such as luxury and relaxation or excitement and exploration. Your accounts can help you entice customers to come visit.
Top 10 ways to promote your hotel on social media
1. Build and complete branded social pages on key platforms
By this point, you probably have taken this step, but the platforms are always adding new features that can enhance engagement. National brands will need social accounts at the national and property levels. Management companies probably just need to maintain them at the property level.
Identify your top 3 or 4 social platforms to use and build or optimize your hotel brand page. Milestone finds these to be the most productive for hotels: Facebook/Meta, Instagram, TripAdvisor, and Google Posts. See Milestone’s detailed article on Why Facebook Is Important, but a quick summary is that it is the largest and most used, particularly by the middle-aged demographic which select and pay for many vacations. The average network size on Facebook/Meta is 338, followed by Instgram at 127. Instagram will allow you appeal to the younger generation to build stronger connections across demographic groups. TripAdvisor is not a connected peer-to-peer network, but it is the most prominent reviews platform for hotels and vacations. Google recently allowed hotels to post promotional information in Google Posts, GMB is the platform, and the content of these posts can also show up directly in search results.
Make sure each of your profiles captures your brand and the experiences you want to broadcast to your target audience. As a hotel, you can use social media to communicate far more than a list of your hotel’s amenities. You can communicate the experiences you offer, such as luxury and relaxation or excitement and exploration. Your accounts can help you entice customers to come visit.
As a hotel, consider doing the following as you build your pages:
- Acquire and promote positive ratings of the property and experience.
- Integrate the reservation or Book Now feature to help people book right from your page on Facebook
- Have an events page or hashtag to highlight important occasions
- Create custom tabs or hashtags to highlight hotel-specific items, such as meetings and conferences, things to do, etc.
- Pay attention to the audience on each page and how you want to best engage them.
Loews Hotels has done a good job of building a Twitter account that actively engages users while also offering convenient, platform-friendly engagement strategies. Namely, you can use a hashtag to inquire about reservations directly through the platform. This adds convenience for the user and allows the brand to operate smoothly according to the platform’s culture.
2. Engage on visual social platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest
Visual social media platforms, like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok have seen a tremendous rate of growth in recent years, particularly among the younger generations of social media users. These video and picture platforms make it easy to quickly exchange information and engaging posts. People can also have fun with them by creating filters. As many as 40 percent of people under the age of 33 say that ‘Instagram-ability’ is a priority when choosing destinations. Engaging actively on these platforms can help you demonstrate how well your hotel, the destination area it represents, and the experience you create align with these goals.
Hotels should consider:
- Creating short videos about events and unique parts of your property
- Using hashtags to help customers learn about your hotel’s experiences
- Focusing on highly-shareable images, customize to your target audience
- Make sure you always tag your location so you can capture the audience’s interest in your destination
You can see a great example of inspiring customers and capturing the desire to travel in Hilton’s Instagram account.
3. Encourage user-generated content
User-generated content offers a valuable tool for hotels in the era when customers rely heavily on personal and network connections with brands. Other happy customers who have stayed at your hotel or taken advantage of your services can provide a tremendous pull for new customers to learn more about your brand. User-generated content can be posted across social platforms and can take a variety of forms. Some hotels will also find success when they offer deals and promotions for people who post the best user-generated content.
As a hotel you might invite:
- Have a contest that offers discounts or free nights for the best posts
- People to post videos that show your wedding or event services
- Pictures of customers engaging with different areas of your hotel business
- Customers posting reviews of their stay
Encourage satisfied customers to leave you reviews
Reviews can provide you with two advantages. One, you get direct feedback from your customers so you can hear about what they say at your hotel and what areas you might want to improve. Secondly, you can build your brand reputation and rankings. Positive reviews help you attract more customers, as many travelers like to hear from fellow customers when choosing a hotel for their needs.
- Encourage customers to leave you reviews across social media. They can leave reviews on Facebook, tweet at you on Twitter, and otherwise engage with your brand and express their opinion.
- Engage with customers leaving these reviews. Let them know you appreciate the feedback and build your reputation as a responsive hotel.
- Encourage reviews on search engines, such as through Google My Business, as well as niche verticals, such as TripAdvisor
4. Create short-form videos
Multiple platforms offer opportunities for engaging through short-form videos, including Instagram reels and YouTube shorts. These quick videos provide an excellent way to engage directly with potential customers, communicating fast messages and creating a more personal way of engaging. People feel more as though they have the chance to engage with a brand rather than just being on the receiving end of endless advertising.
To make the most of this strategy as a hotel consider:
- Creating influencer videos
- Giving customers previews of what they can expect at your hotel
- Providing teasers of events or attractions featured from your hotel.
- Explaining different aspects of your hotel that make it an appealing place for your target audience.
Marriott Bonvoy does an excellent job of incorporating short videos into its social media strategy. These videos are posted across multiple platforms, including Facebook.
5. Humanize your brand
Let your customers know the people behind your hotel brand. Let them engage with you as people instead of just a hotel. Customers also like to know where businesses stand on the issues that matter the most to them. They want to patronize businesses that they believe align well with them on important issues.
You can use social media options, like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories to show behind-the-scenes looks at your hotel. For example, you can introduce customers to those on your team, what people at your business do to create outstanding experiences for customers, or give sneak peeks to what people can experience at your hotel. While you engage with customers through social media like this, you also have to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in your audience. For example, younger audiences tend to appreciate TikTok and are more likely to be on Instagram than older customers. If you target younger demographics, you need to do the same.
To help your hotel humanize:
- Know what matters to your customers–such as green ethics–and help demonstrate your green values as a hotel to customers
- Incorporate custom images to improve that personal connection
- Network with local organizations that help to build your base and highlight your values.
MANAGE AND PROMOTE
6. Know how to engage customers across platforms
Your target customers likely regularly engage across multiple platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You want to create a unified strategy that helps you reach customers in the spaces where they like to engage so that you can encourage them to come to stay at your hotel.
To maintain consistency across platforms, you will likely need to produce similar content, but optimized for the different types of audiences. On Twitter, for example, you can produce short, retweetable posts while a post about a similar topic on Facebook might provide more information. Posts on both types of platforms should be complemented by pictures.
Remember to promote unique content on one platform by posting to the other platforms as you will have unique audiences on each one. Facebook and Instagram have enabled cross-platform posting options at the time of posting.
- Engage across platforms to promote hotel events and opportunities
- Promote active engagement from customers on the different platforms by answering questions and inviting conversations
- Hosting contests or special deals for people engaging to start following and engaging on the different platforms
7. Help people connect with you and incentivize connection
Make sure people can easily find your hotel across their favorite social media platforms. This means promoting links to your different profiles on your emails and website. To further encourage people to follow your hotel, consider offering special deals for those who follow your page.
Hotels might want to consider:
- Offering sneak peeks of deals and discounts for followers
- Running ad campaigns targeting those interested in your destination
- Becoming a go-to expert on your hotel niches, such as destination weddings, local attractions, or hosting business events.
You can see a great example of this with RIU Hotels. Their Facebook page has a reputation for regularly posting deals and discounts in addition to the inspiring pictures and videos that encourage people to travel. This has helped them build a strong following.
8. Magnify your press releases with social media
Keep customers interested and engaged by making exciting announcements using social media and major press release channels, such as Business Wire and PR Web. The press releases can help you build attention for your new announcements through professional networks while the social media announcements can help you get the news directly in front of your customers immediately. Together, it will help to amplify your announcement and encourage people to follow you on social media so that they get important announcements first.
- Coordinate your releases and tailor your announcements to the platform you are on
- Focus on the experience, letting customers know what the announcement would mean for them
- Use customer photos and visuals to make the announcement eye-catching
9. Develop themes outside the property and business
Diversify beyond promoting the hotel and business, and develop serialized content that has the potential to generate a wider following.
- Sunsets, sunrises, and rainbows
- Awesome cocktails with the mixology recipes
- Pets on the road
- Flowers, plants, and trees
- Games and commentary on games, like about Wordle
- Puzzles, quizzes, and brain teasers
- Optical illusions
- Commentary and schedule info on popular TV shows
- Interview and feature guests
All of these ideas take more effort than standard posting, but it is easy to see how they could appeal to and attract people who are not in the market for a hotel. For multi-location hotels, these broader themes can be posted on the account for each property. You may want to engage an agency to help you.
10. Get ready for meta experiences with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
For the most progressive hotel marketing teams, you can start experimenting with meta experiences. For example, you can create an app experience for the Oculus VR glasses. This could be about activities in the local area, like going out on a whale watching boat, a paddleboard, or a kayak. These are likely to help entice people to book with you. People might want to virtually experience bungee jumping, parachuting, or a hot air balloon ride but are too afraid to try in reality. Augmented reality can be simpler, like room and property tour videos or voice interaction FAQs or digital concierge. Not to far in the future could be virtual travel experiences as ancillary revenue, which could start with people who are too elderly or infirm to travel to a place on their wishlist and the experience could be a gift to them from friends or family.
Paid social is a great way to amplify posts and reach new audiences. Take your successful organic themes and posts and boost them with paid. To start working on paid campaigns, go to:
Influencers are another form of paid social. Ideally, you would like to attract their attention and promotion organically, like you would with PR, but they will also do sponsored promotion as these major hotel brands have.
Let Milestone know if you would like assistance with organic or paid social.
Monitor social media channels and review sites
We recommend hotels should actively monitor social media channels and review sites. Tracking how people engage with your business on social media can help you better understand what customers are looking for, the types of experiences they report having at your hotel, and what matters to them when choosing a travel destination.
The success of social media efforts can be measured in many different ways:
- The growth of your social pages, including the number of followers and engagement you receive
- Brand mentions across social media platforms and their context
- Direct conversions you bring in, which can be tracked through utm snippets and people using special promotional codes
There are many options available for hoteliers to monitor social media activity.
- Analytics – Hotels can integrate Google Analytics to track how many people engage with a brand while originating from social media.
- You can also check how people engage directly on the social pages themselves. You can watch how many people see your posts, watch your videos, and follow your page and how these numbers change over time.
On top of organic social media, hotels should also allocate attention and budget to paid social media to boost effective posts and messages to a targeted and wider audience.
Social Media is an integral part of the real-time search algorithm. Social media creates real connections between hotels and customers, helping you build attract attention and new customers.
Make sure that social media is an integral part of your overall hotel marketing plan.