In order to boost loyalty, word of mouth, and repeat visits, you have to make an effort to engage with your guests during times when they aren’t physically at your property.
NB: This is an article from TravelNet Solutions
It’s the only way to develop and nurture ongoing relationships that bring people and their friends through your door year-after-year. To effectively keep in touch with your guests, you need to be willing to invest in things like email marketing, direct mail, blogging, phone call follow-ups, and social media marketing.
For the average property manager, all of that can be a lot of work! If you’re strapped on time and resources, the best thing to do is to pick just one channel to invest your time and energy into, see how it performs, and start scaling when you have more help.
If you’re looking for a place to start, kick things off with Facebook. Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to engage on 5 different social media platforms (Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.)—just pick one to begin with. When you try to do too much at once, you risk burning yourself out before you’ve even had a chance to see any results from your efforts.
So why spend time promoting your property and interacting with guests on Facebook over other social platforms? Consider the facts:
- Facebook has 2.41 billion monthly active users.
- 71% of American Adults use Facebook.
- 90 million small businesses use Facebook
- An average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads per month.
Needless to say, it’s a popular place for people to go to engage with friends, coworkers, and brands, and it’s not going away anytime soon. It’s up to you to use it as a tool to grow your business.
Not sure what you should be posting on your Facebook page to engage with followers, expand your reach, and drive more reservations? Here are 6 ideas:
Video is one of the most popular and effective content formats being shared on Facebook right now.
To connect with your guests, share videos that:
- Feature members of your staff
- Highlight the best parts about your property
- Share stories from guests
- Make your property seem irresistible to travelers
- Show interested travelers what the surrounding area is like
Sharing original videos on your Facebook page will help you spark engagement on your page, and show your followers what it is that really makes your property and the experience you offer different from anywhere else.
2. Photos from Guests
Another great way to drive engagement on Facebook and get people talking about your property is by sharing photos of your guests.
Interested travelers know that they can go to your website to see professionally-produced photos of your property, so use Facebook differently when it comes to sharing photos. Spark conversation and excitement among your Facebook followers by sharing real, genuine, and imperfect photos on your page from guests who have or are currently staying with you.
You can get photos from guests in two ways:
- Hire a staff photographer to take photos of guests staying with you, and get permission to use the photos on social media or in other marketing material.
- Ask your guests to email you photos from their trip that you can use. Incentivize by launching a photo contest (ex. “send us your best photo for a chance to win a free night during your next stay!”)
When you share real photos from real people, you’re much more likely to get people engaging on your page and talking about your property.
3. Day Trip Idea Graphics
Facebook should never be used to solely promote your own property. If you’re spending all your time posting links to different pages on your website and promoting different specials you offer, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build relationships with potential guests.
Instead of being 100% self-promotional on your property Facebook page, you should instead strive to provide value to interested travelers who come across your page.
For example, it’s pretty safe to assume that the people who stay at your property will, at one point or another, venture away to experience the surrounding area. Why not help them plan a few fun day trips ahead of time? It’s a great way to leverage yourself and your property as a trusted resource to interested travelers who are working hard to plan the perfect trip.
Because visual content wins on Facebook, consider sharing day trip ideas in the form of a fun or interesting graphic. For example, plan a sightseeing tour for your guests by placing pinpoints on a map. Include descriptions of each pinpoint in the text portion of your page post. Share the map visual and the accompanying descriptions on your page and spark engagement by asking specific questions that your followers can answer (ex. Did anyone make it to these places while they were here? Is anyone planning on stopping at these destinations during their stay?).
This type of fun, creative visual content is much more likely to be seen and commented on by your followers.
On Facebook, contests can help you build awareness and reach travelers who otherwise might have never found your property. Social media users love participating in contests for one reason: free prizes and rewards.
The most popular type of contest on Facebook is the giveaway. It’s popular because it’s simple—all users have to do is complete actions in order to be entered for a chance to win your prize. When you use a tool like Gleam to build and manage your Facebook contest, every action you ask users to perform can count as an extra entry into the giveaway. Actions include things like providing an email address, answering a question, visiting a website, uploading a photo, and referring friends to enter the contest.
There are a handful of different prizes you could offer to get more people talking about your property and engaging with you on Facebook. Here are some examples:
- A free stay at your property
- A complimentary day trip package
- Free services or perks from your property
- Free meals at your property
- A traveling survival kit
- Gift cards to local businesses and attractions near your property
In order for your contest or giveaway to be successful, you have to offer the right prize to your followers. They have to be excited enough to complete the actions and spread the word about it to their friends. To come up with the right reward for your Facebook followers, think about who your guests are, what they care about, and what they do when they stay at your property.
5. Live Video Tours
In 2016, Facebook doubled-down on video by launching Facebook Live—a new way for people and brands to stream video with followers in real-time. Since then, the Live video has absolutely exploded in popularity. Each day, more and more people are tuning in to watch live video from brands and people all around the world.
As a property manager, there’s a really simple way you can capitalize on this trend: offer live video tours once a week to your followers. It’s a great way to give interested travelers a behind-the-scenes look at what makes other people choose to stay at your property.
The key to running a successful Facebook Live is all about entertaining your audience. If your live video is simply you walking around your property and not showing your face or speaking at all, people are not going to tune in. To get people to tune in regularly to your Facebook Live videos, follow these best practices:
- Put yourself and other guests on video – Your followers want to see and hear from actual people.
- Tell stories, be creative, and have fun – Boring will never work! Surprise and delight instead.
- Let your personality shine – Let people really get to know you, or whoever is running the Facebook Lives each week. It’s your opportunity to engage with interested prospects in real-time, so make the right impression and work to develop authentic relationships with your viewers.
- Use professional equipment – Get an external mic, and consider trying the Mevo camera.
Your Facebook Live doesn’t have to be a complex, resource-heavy, professional performance. It just needs to be authentic and memorable to your viewers.
6. Blog Posts
If you’re regularly creating and publishing content for your blog, you should also be taking the time to share that content with your followers on Facebook. A word of caution though: don’t overdo it. You don’t want to come across as too promotional or too robotic when you share your own content on your Facebook page. To prevent this from happening, follow these best practices:
- Always add commentary with the links you share. Try to spark a discussion about the blog post you’re sharing. Ask a question or invite your followers to share their experiences.
- Don’t share more than 1 blog post on your Facebook page per week. Your followers will quickly tire of seeing your blog post links if you post too often.
- Share when your followers are most likely to see and engage with the post. You can leverage Facebook page analytics to determine when the ideal time is to post new blog post links on your page.
Remember: Use your blog content to create opportunities for discussion among your past, current, and future guests.