To thousands of holiday seekers, the planning phase may seem like a time-eating disaster. With so many options where to stay and what to do, the majority find themselves immersed in indecision and torn between equally exciting, glamorous and exotic choices. And this is where your social media strategy gets tested.
To capture the holiday seekers’ imagination early, you need to keep the engagement fire blazing on daily basis – a whopping 66%* of leisure travellers turn to search engines when planning their next trip. So, what it means, really, is that a ton of potential guests are snooping around your social media accounts every day.
How can you turn curious vacationers into soon-to-be guests?
Capitalise on the magic of compelling visuals
The number of international travellers has skyrocketed in the last 10 years. People are more eager to travel to distant, exotic places than ever before and the thirst for unique experiences pushes them outside their comfort zone.
How do they pick their travel destinations? It’s not uncommon to hear about travellers crossing the world to visit a place they’ve seen featured in a magazine, on TV or in a travel blog. The mind is a visual instrument, so if there is one way to grabbing travellers’ attention, it certainly involves gorgeous imagery.
Here are some ideas to try:
1. Play with your cover photos
There’s so much you can do with a cover photo (for all your social media accounts). It’s the first thing people will see and so it has the most ‘weight’ in influencing their perception of your brand. Pick a cover photo that highlights your hotel’s advantages – whether it’s your unique interior/exterior design, the location or the beautiful surroundings. Remember that you can change the cover photo as often as you like – to signal a change in seasons, design, mood or your offers.
2. Have a professional photographer on site
Holiday images is something that people tend to share through their social channels with great excitement. Making professional photographer’s services accessible to all guests for free could turn out to be the smartest social media campaign you’ve ever pulled off. Let your guests “pay” for the professional, high-quality images simply by sharing them on chosen social media channels and tagging your hotel. If you want to keep in touch with your guests to try and convert them into loyal, returning-every-year type of customers, allow them to download the images in exchange for their email addresses and follow-up with personalised content. (Caution: make the photography service available, but don’t go around snapping pictures without the guests’ permission!)
3. Invest in creative competitions
Use enticing images to draw people into taking interest and participating in your competitions. You can host lucky draws, invite followers to take a poll + retweet for a chance to win or share and comment to increase their chances of snapping a special prize. Hyatt Hotels did a brilliant job at spurring interest with creative Facebook surveys:
4. Share millions of gorgeous images
Literally, if you can. Social media is like a dream incubator. People spend hours gawking at food images, photographs of secret travel locations, handcrafting projects, clothes, neighbour’s BBQ party pictures and so on, and so on… Give them a reason to subscribe to your channels by tapping into this visual thinking and day-dreaming habit. Give your soon-to-be guests a virtual experience of what it will be like staying at your hotel by documenting the daily activities and your lavish rooms, visualising the food & drinks menu and tempting them with images of the most beautiful spots around the hotel!
5. Understand the philosophy of hashtags
Don’t miss your chance of increasing awareness of your hotel or resort by using trending hashtags. Twitter and Instagram are the most appropriate channels for hashtag-driven campaigns, so make sure you include relevant, popular #’s when you post images of your hotel or special offers. Hashtags can also be handy if you’re trying to reach a specific, niche audience – for example, vegans or vegetarians, Parisians or New Yorkers, tattoo lovers or street art enthusiasts, etc. Besides that, you can also use hashtags to talk about popular landmarks in your area and dip into the groups of travellers planning their itinerary in advance. Hashtags are a way of joining group conversations, so don’t abuse them or you’ll get kicked out.
6. Wow and inspire your followers with genuinely interesting content
Remember that people hate being sold to all the time. Take into consideration the topics and ideas that travellers love to explore and incorporate them into your social media strategy. This way, you’ll become a source of inspiration and avoid the negative effects of social yelling. Finding a balance between stunning travel photography and your own promotional offers and campaigns is not as tricky as it may sound – seek contributions from your followers and dive into the topics that capture everyone.
Whatever you do, remember – show, don’t tell!
Sources: * The Well Connected Traveller, Travelport
About the author
Juste Semetaite is a content marketer and a serious life passionista with a flair for learning new things. She works @PeoplePerHour, Europe’s largest freelancing community, and practices word-crafting daily. For hotels struggling to find spare hours or energy to execute social media strategies, PeoplePerHour.com can help. You can ping Juste at [email protected] or tweet @JusteSem.