Social Media Marketing for the hotel industry has been a huge trend in 2014. Increasingly, travelers and business people are using social media to make their travel plans. To be in with a chance of keeping up with your competitors you need a strong social media presence to be found by your potential customers.
Search engines favor social media sites within search results more than ever. SEO studies show that people who are searching for hotels are also using social media to check out activities, attractions and restaurants in the same area. Why not take advantage of this and make your social media marketing campaign all about your local area?
Which networks work best?
- Pinterest is seriously under-used by the hotel industry in their social media marketing efforts. It’s crazy as there are so many great uses for it. Imagine a board for your events, one for your beautiful rooms, a board for your outside spaces, a board for local attractions, I could go on. Take great photos and get them on Pinterest, it’s simple and extremely effective.
- Instagram is like a visual Twitter, every time you have an event or special occasion, shout about it on Instagram. It takes seconds from a smart phone to take a quick photo or video and upload it. If you build up an Instagram following, you build up your reputation!
- YouTube is another under-used network. Videos don’t need to be a huge production, you can upload videos just a few seconds long and share them across all your networks for an instant impact. If you are not confident about your film making skills, use a professional or use your beautiful photos to make a slide show with captions and music in the background.
- Twitter of course is the fastest way to share your content etc. Building up your following can take some time, but with a little dedication and just a few minutes a day you can build an amazing network of support.
- Facebook is a given. People often use Facebook like a search engine so if you can’t be found on there, they may give up and look elsewhere. It’s great for instant engagement with your customers and allows them to have access to you for their questions instantly.
You should also (always) have a decent presence on LinkedIn and Google+. Business professionals spend a lot of time on these networks so make yourself known if you cater to business people or conferences. Even if you aren’t a business orientated hotel, you still need a presence as a business so people can check you out.
Who you should be targeting?
The hotel industry is traditionally a B2C industry, but not including B2B customers could be a mistake and here is why:
- Conferences are happening every day of the year and hotels with conference rooms equals big business. I am attending a conference in November where the conference room is being provided for free as there are 30+ of us staying in the hotel. So that’s 15 or more rooms being occupied, for two nights, in a month where otherwise they would be empty, for the cost of a little electricity and a few cups of coffee… good business sense, ey?
- Networking events are becoming increasingly popular so if you have an underutilized room why not offer it to the business community, in your out of season months, for a reduced price or a special room or meal deal package?
- Commuters often need a place to stay while traveling. If you are close to an airport, train station, bus station or city center, make sure the business world knows you are there!
What should you be sharing?
Forgive me if I am repeating myself, but this advice goes for all social media marketing, DON’T MAKE IT ALL ABOUT YOU! The more you help others, the better network you will build. Share content from your competitors (as long as it doesn’t directly affect your business), give local businesses a plug, recommend things to do and places to go to your customers. It is guaranteed that at least some of these nice folks will reciprocate and share your stuff, which increases your audience.
- Nearby attractions
- Local business
And now the science bit…
How to keep all your balls in the air
We have the technology….learn how to use it. Have a dedicated member of staff to do your social media marketing for you, someone who is tech friendly preferably. Even if they aren’t particularly tech savvy there are social media and marketing apps out there which are extremely user friendly. Here are some of our favorites:
For social media
Qwaya is a tool to create and manage your Facebook ad campaign. It saves you time and effort in managing your campaign for an on-going, consistent, brand aware Facebook ad campaign. Qwaya is aimed at small to mid-sized businesses and their pricing starts at $39 a month.
Falcon Social is a social media management app for teams. It’s features allow you to manage your social networks in one easy-to-use app. It is integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Youtube. Falcon Social is aimed at businesses of all sizes and they have a free trial available.
FrontDesk is a cloud-based client management software. It is mobile business management that adapts to your business. It allows you to manage client management and payment processing from any mobile device or computer. Aimed and small to mid-sized business there is a free trial to try-before-you-buy.
Checkfront is an online booking and payment processing system for rooms, tours, activities and rentals. You can manage your bookings, rates, offers and packages all in one place. Checkfront fits all business models and it has a free trial available with discounts on their paid packages for yearly subscriptions.
For monitoring results
Pardot is marketing automation software for email and social media marketing with great built-in analytics tools. It lets you synchronize with Google analytics to measure your visitor stats, amongst other things, to allow you to tailor your marketing and target the right kind of customer.
AdClarity is a SaaS solution which allows you to see which campaigns, content and traffic sources are working for you. It also monitors your competitor’s social media marketing campaigns so you can emulate their successes and avoid their mistakes. Aimed at all sized businesses they have a free trial.