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Social media trends redefining hotel engagement

social mediaIn the fast-paced world of hospitality, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for success. As we move farther into 2024, the landscape of social media for hotels continues to evolve, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Let’s explore some of the emerging trends hotel professionals need to embrace to enhance their online presence, engage with guests, and ultimately drive bookings.

The rise of virtual experiences

The demand for virtual experiences has skyrocketed, reshaping the way hotels connect with their audiences. Forward-thinking brands are leveraging augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to offer immersive glimpses into their rooms, amenities, and even local attractions. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has fully leaned into VR by creating a landing page that allows guests to watch 360-degree videos of various destinations.

VR technologies can also be used to build bridges between corporate and hotel teams. For example, many of Hilton’s corporate team members never worked in a hotel. As a result, they often brainstormed new programs or processes that inadvertently made hotel operations more challenging.

To combat this dilemma, Hilton’s Learning team partnered with SweetRush to bring the hotel experience to corporate team members through the power of virtual reality. This brought training time down to 20 minutes from four hours and resulted in 87% of team members changing their behaviors. This case study highlights how VR was used to build empathy and enhance hospitality.

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Interactive content takes center stage

Interactive content continues to be a game-changer for hotel social media strategies. Polls, quizzes, and interactive stories are becoming increasingly popular, providing a two-way communication channel between hotels and their guests.

Meliá Hotels International set its sights on becoming the hotel chain with the greatest influence on social media, aiming to position itself among the top hotel groups in the world and reinforce its leadership in the leisure sector.

Centering on mobile-friendly visual and interactive content, the company aimed to enhance engagement and bolster brand recognition and credibility by imbuing its corporate communication with a more personal touch.

This initiative involved incorporating images of the company’s products and services, as captured by clients, into various channels such as email marketing, digital advertising, and widgets on its website. Users were empowered to seamlessly make reservations with a single click directly from the authentic content created by fellow users. The campaign resulted in a 15% increase in social media followers in six months, as well as a 16% increase in website traffic from social media in Europe.

Sustainability stories gain traction

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a significant factor influencing consumer choices. Hotels are using social media to share their eco-friendly initiatives, from reducing plastic waste to implementing energy-saving technologies.

The Sustainable Travel Report 2023 by Booking.com presents findings derived from a survey of over 33,000 travelers spanning 35 countries and territories. It sheds light on a dilemma faced by individuals, wherein they perceive a potential trade-off between economizing and prioritizing environmentally conscious travel.

The report reveals 76% of global travelers express a desire to adopt more sustainable travel practices in the next 12 months. This marks a substantial 16% surge compared to Booking.com’s 2021 data and a 5% increase from the findings in 2022.

There are several ways to approach sustainability. For example, EcoLux, a leading green hotel brand, demonstrates the efficient use of lighting through intelligent management systems. By employing motion sensors and occupancy detectors, EcoLux ensures lights are only activated when required, resulting in substantial energy savings. This reduces energy consumption by 40% and improves guest comfort with automatic lighting control.

User-generated content continues to soar

User-generated content (UGC) remains a powerful tool for building trust and authenticity. In 2024, hotels are encouraging guests to share their experiences through photos, reviews, and videos on social media. According to a recent survey by BrightLocal, 84% of consumers trust online reviews and UGC as much as personal recommendations.

A unique example of a UGC campaign was Marriott’s “Carpet Dad.” Bill Young, a quirky father whose Instagram account about hotel carpets became an overnight sensation after his daughter Jill tweeted about his Instagram account, @myhotelcarpet. The account grew from a few hundred followers to hundreds of thousands of followers overnight.

Given the number of times Bill tagged Marriott properties, the M Live team noted Bill’s presence and reached out to see if he could help them do something unique: design a carpet that would make its way to an Aloft Hotel. He agreed!

Conclusion

It’s evident social media for hotels is evolving rapidly. Virtual experiences, interactive content, sustainability stories, and user-generated content are reshaping the way hotels connect with their audiences. By embracing these trends, hotel professionals can not only stay relevant but also create meaningful connections that drive bookings and elevate guest experiences. As we compare these trends to 2023, the key takeaway is clear: adaptability is the key to thriving in the ever-changing landscape of hotel social media.

 

Tags: , user generated content, virtual experiences

Digital marketing and social media, Cayuga Hospitality Consultants

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A highly experienced network of independent hospitality consultants providing a diversity of consulting services and expert guidance to the Hotel/Resort, Food & Beverage, Commercial Foodservice, Club and Spa, Casino and Tourism industries.

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