Five essential social media strategies to help increase guest bookings

social media strategiesIn today’s modern, internationally-connected world, it’s no longer enough to simply offer your guests an exclusive, multi-star resort experience at your hotel. Instead, it’s vital to connect with them on a more personal level through a variety of channels, particularly through social media. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should set your hotel’s amenities aside and only focus on your online presence, it does mean that if you’re not taking advantage of social media, you could be missing out on a vast and surprisingly affordable marketing resource.

These days, virtually every industry is online and using social media, from the casual users to more revenue-focused ones, and finding social media for accountants, actors, and even politicians isn’t outside the scope of possibility. It would be foolish, therefore, to outright discount the use of social media, as literally everyone is on it — and they love sharing their experiences (both the good and the bad!) with their peers, too. In order to help you secure your own corner of this highly lucrative marketing tool, here are five essential social media strategies that you need to start using today.

1. Take advantage of video media

If you were to describe your particular hotel in just one word, which one would you use to summarize it? On the other hand, what if you were allowed to use many more words to describe it…up to even a thousand of them, perhaps? As the old adage goes, you shouldn’t be wasting your energy on mere words to explain your property, when a picture could better define it in a much more efficient manner. Rather than attempting to fit a detailed description of your hotel in a single caption, instead, bypass the efforts to verbally describe it and let the images do the talking, particularly videos. 

If you’re not uploading videos onto your social media feed, then you’re missing out on a fantastic opportunity to showcase the beauty and the wonder of your property to potential guests. However, a strategically filmed video — even if it’s just a quick, thirty-second snippet — can efficiently highlight many of the perks of staying at your hotel. Try to include as much of the property as possible in the video, especially if it’s especially handsome or boasts breathtaking views, and always be sure to focus on the positives. You’ll get the reaction you desire and deserve in no time.

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2. Plan around the seasons

As every hotel manager and owner knows, the travel industry has its peak seasons and its more slower ones. Because of this, it would be prudent to use this knowledge to your advantage and cater to the guests who travel during both. For instance, if you are entering a busier period, focus on highlighting how your property celebrates this time of the year, such as with special perks for Valentine’s Day. Conversely, offering exclusive packages to your social media followers during the slower times of travel can draw them to your property when they may have otherwise not been interested in a stay.

3. Forge a human connection

One of the most important aspects of using social media is how it humanizes a hotel. Many people see major hotel properties as monoliths, with the big names oftentimes quickly springing to mind. Therefore, if you want your property to stand out, then you need to make sure that your guests see you as a friendly face in a sea of generic hotels. A great way to do this is to reply to the comments on your social media feed and third-party review sites (such as TripAdvisor), and even thank guests for their glowing feedback or apologize for a less-than-stellar experience. In turn, you’ll soon prove that your property puts the human element back into the hospitality industry.

4. Consider using influencers

While the idea of working with a social media influencer can leave a sour taste in the mouths of many hotel owners, if you leverage it correctly, you can find yourself meeting a surprisingly high return on your investment. This is especially true if you connect with a social media influencer with a significant following, as offering them a night or two during a slower period is relatively economical. However, the traffic it can drive to your hotel can more than pay for itself. You can even offer an exclusive rate code for those who decide to book a stay at your property through the influencer, further sweetening the deal.

5. Create platform-specific promotions

Finally, it’s essential to recognize that each social media platform attracts a different demographic, so you’ll want to be mindful of how you cater to them. For instance, Facebook tends to attract a more mature crowd, whereas Instagram and YouTube skew somewhat younger. Conversely, LinkedIn tends to be more business-oriented, so your content may want to focus on how your property has ample space for conferences and professional meetings rather than its 300-thread count sheets. Engaging with guests in a manner that is consistent with their interests can help you draw guests of all ages and lifestyles to your property. 

Are you taking advantage of social media?

Whether you’re a seasoned social media pro who already is taking advantage of multi-platform networking, or you’re just now starting to dip your toes into this opportunity for affordable and wide-reaching marketing, the value of using social media marketing simply can’t be overstated. By taking the time to properly do your research on how to appeal to various demographics, and steadily introducing these five social media strategies, you can start to see your hotel’s direct bookings subsequently increase. And before long, the only thing you’ll be wondering is why you didn’t try it sooner.

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