Discover how to use popular social media channels to boost direct bookings for your hotel and increase your revenue.
Is your hotel missing out on direct bookings from social media?
In today's tech-savvy world, people are spending more time than ever researching their next travel destination online. In just a few clicks, they can visit your website, read independent reviews and compare your hotel with a dozen other competitors.
Social media plays a big part in the holiday research process too. Potential customers are expecting your hotel to be active on their favourite social media platforms. And what they see when they get to your page can greatly influence their decision to make a booking.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how you can use social media to drive direct bookings to your hotel. We’ll also share some tips on how to make the most of social for raising awareness of your hotel’s brand.
Choose the right social media platforms for your hotel
There are dozens of social media platforms to choose from, but not all are ideal for promoting your hotel. Here’s a breakdown of the top social media platforms that you should be focussing your efforts on.
With 2.41 billion active users worldwide, Facebook is the largest social media network in the world. It’s also the best social platform for fostering authentic and meaningful conversations. This can be used to great effect in the hotel industry by encouraging guests to tag and share your hotel in their holiday pictures and videos.
The downside to using Facebook is the recent Family and Friends Update. This update limits the reach of business pages in user news feeds. However, you can get around this by taking advantage of Facebook’s advertising features.
Twitter is great for shouting about special offers and promotions. You can also use Twitter to engage with potential customers that are already taking part in popular discussions. For example, the hashtag #hotelrecommendations reveals hundreds of people seeking hotel suggestions for their next holiday.
You can also use Twitter to follow your existing guests. This allows you to stay connected with them and encourage repeat visits or personal recommendations. Twitter also makes it easy for you to connect with the wider hotel owner community so you can build a name for yourself.
If your hotel has lots of professional photos and videos, then Instagram is the ideal place to post them. You can also take your content to the next level by pairing images and videos with popular hashtags. This will allow potential customers to discover your hotel within the feeds of these hashtags.
The only downside of Instagram is that you can’t post clickable links in your image and video descriptions. However, you can post a link to your hotel in your Instagram bio. Just be sure to remind people of that link when writing descriptions for each new post.
Pinterest is extremely popular with people searching for topics such as weddings, holidays and travelling. This gives you a great opportunity to promote your hotel and services using eye-catching visuals via Pinterest boards.
The key to getting the most out of Pinterest is to create boards with a specific subject. For example, if your hotel is near a beach, you might want to create a board titled “Beach Holiday Hotels”. The same applies to topics related to weddings and travel inspiration.
If you produce a lot of regular video content then YouTube is the ideal platform to host it. Just remember to invest time into writing detailed video descriptions (including tags) to encourage the search engines to index your videos.
Please be mindful that Facebook will actively limit the reach of any YouTube videos you share. So if you want to share your videos via Facebook, it’s best to upload a copy of the video directly to Facebook.
Use visuals to create travel inspiration
People process visuals up to 60,000 times faster than written text. This is why a photo of a beautiful hotel sitting next to a crystal clear ocean will outperform the best sales pitch every time.
However, people also tend to buy with their emotions and then justify those emotional decisions using their intelligence. So make sure the aforementioned sales pitch sits below that perfect photo to seal the deal when the customer starts looking for more information.
Create and share promotional offers for your hotel
If you offer hotel discounts and special offers then social media is a great way to share them. Twitter works particularly well for this, due to the special relationship they have with Google. This allows any tweet to appear in Google’s search index within minutes of being posted.
You can also use platforms such as Facebook to promote competitions. A simple advert asking people to like and share your page can be promoted directly to people that don’t currently follow you. This can lead to a large increase in followers and exposure for your page.
Use social media for customer communication
Not every customer wants to pick up the phone or fill out a form on your website. So why not make it easy for them to reach out via their favourite social media platform? This respect for your customers’ choices will go a long way towards building a relationship right from the start.
You should also take the time to engage with any comments that customers leave on your social channels. This will encourage others to reach out too. It will also increase the engagement levels of your social media pages, which can lead to even more exposure for your hotel.
Don’t be afraid to use humour in your communications either. People don’t connect with faceless companies, they connect with people. So if you can humanise your hotel brand as other successful brands have, you’ll foster a much better relationship with potential customers.
Respond to your hotel reviews
Where possible, you should always reply to reviews – especially the negative ones. This applies to both the official reviews left on your Facebook reviews tab, as well as any comments left elsewhere on your social channels.
Reviews are your way of gauging how well you are doing as a hotel brand. If you are getting things right, then you deserve a pat on the back. But if the negative reviews are piling up then you need to take action.
How you choose to respond to reviews (good and bad) will influence how potential customers perceive you. So if you get it right, it’s possible to turn a negative review into a solid reason for someone to consider placing a booking.
The key takeaway
Social media is here to stay. So if you’re not already making good use of it, you may run the risk of falling behind. Fortunately, it's not too late to follow the tips outlined above and leverage social media to your advantage.
We all know the world of communication evolves rapidly, so join our session ‘Social Media 2020’ at this year’s Independent Hotel Show to explore what you need to know to make your social media impactful and economical in the coming year. With plenty of best practice examples, join us Tuesday 15th of October, to delve in to chatbots, stories and the latest advice on influencers!