NB: This is an article from NetAffinity
Your hotel Instagram is, in many ways, the ideal social platform for travel marketing. It combines two powerful aspects of social media – sharing and images – making it a hugely popular network for travelers and people who would like to be travelers alike.
Instagram’s status as an amazing visual platform gives you plenty of opportunities to show off your hotel and wow potential guests.
Instagram followers are also proven to be more easily engaged than followers on other platforms. There’s a reason why analytics company Forrester crowned it “the king of social media”: their research shows that Instagram delivers 58 times more engagementper follower than Facebook, and 120 times more than Twitter. That’s pretty dramatic.
In today’s post we’ll show you how to market on your hotel Instagram to attract more bookings, create a sense of community among your followers – which will help create feelings of loyalty and repeat guests – and increase your brand’s reach.
Fit Instagram Users into Your Marketing Funnel
Having thousands of followers might feel pretty good, but in many ways it’s a vanity metric. A large number of followers doesn’t guarantee more bookings. You need to bring your Instagram account into your marketing funnel so that it’s part of a functioning whole. Your Instagram should be working with your other campaigns and platforms to constantly send bookings your way.
Don’t direct followers to just any landing page or offer. Instead, tailor your landing page and offer content towards Instagram followers. Ensure that it echoes the same brand message as your Instagram page – you might have gone for more saturated images or panoramic views on your Instagram to take the visual nature of the platform into account, for instance. That’s fine! However, your landing page’s content must match that in tone for your efforts to create real results.
Here’s an example of this from a shoe store, FrankandOak:
As you can see, they didn’t just throw up an image of shoes that they don’t sell or an image of all their shoes at once and invite people to buy. Instead, they focused on showcasing a specific product, and inviting users to click on a targeted landing page.
If you want to increase bookings for specific room types, you could do the same. Post your best picture of the room and create a targeted landing page for it. This also applies to special offers: instead of a picture that could apply to any special offer, try a rose on a pillow for a Valentine’s Day Special, or a meadow for your summer packages. These should also be tied to landing pages.
Reach a Bigger Audience with Sponsored Posts
There are two ways to do this: through influencers or through Instagram’s ad platform.
Sponsored posts from high-powered Instagram influencers are a great way to expose your hotel to a larger audience.
Start by finding large Instagram accounts that cater towards your demographic. If your hotel promotes itself as a spa retreat, you’ll probably want to reach out to popular health/spa profiles. For a less specific approach, try large Instagram travel profiles. There are even hotel Instagrams for people that love hotels out there that are worth looking into.
Webstagram is ideal for this initial step. It allows you to search for related hashtag keywords and display the top Instagram accounts for those keywords.
Once you’ve found a few Insta users you want to target, email them and ask their rates for promoting your hotel or your hotel’s posts. Also, when you’re choosing your influencer, be sure to take a close a look at the quality of their followers, not just quantity.
Ads on Instagram
You can create three different types of ads on Instagram: photo, video and carousel ads. Unsurprisingly, these are all visual formats! Take advantage with a gorgeous picture (or three) of your hotel, or a short video (no more than 30 seconds) of your hotel and its surroundings.
Instagram’s ads cater to different goals in the same way ads in Facebook or through AdWords do. You can optimize your ad to get people to click through to an offer page on your hotel site, to watch a video, or to get as much reach and exposure for your hotel as possible with their ‘mass awareness’ campaigns.
To get a thorough how-to on Instagram’s ads, here’s a guide. Fun fact: they’re all run through Facebook’s Power Editor, so if you’ve got a good handle on that you’re well on your way to Instagram fame!
Boost Engagement with Photo Contests
Here’s an easy way to get user generated content, while boosting credibility and guest engagement.
Use Instagram photo contests.
In an Instagram case study by Dylan’s Candy Bar, their first photo contest yielded a 240% lift in follower growth. They also got an invaluable set of 75 user generated images from it.
Photo contests supply you with plenty of material for future use. They also pack more important benefits: they spark a conversation between you and your followers, and act as powerful forms of social proof. Think about it – what would you, as someone looking for a hotel, find more persuasive on a website?
- A description on the site about how guests enjoy their stays, and a list of facilities offered
- A series of sparkling selfies from guests that show them having fun, swimming in the hotel pool or dining in the restauraunt
When hosting a photo contest, have a specific theme in mind to encourage followers to take part. Is Easter coming up? Hide a few eggs around the property and ask guests to take a picture with them when they find them! Your hotel Instagram will be full of spring pastels in no time.
To get the most out of your contests, combine your theme with a popular trend or hashtag for additional exposure.
Want more info on creating contests that guests love? Check out our quick guide.
Take Advantage Of Cross Promotions
You probably already have relationships with local businesses that serve your guests, right?
So why not “share the love” with them on Instagram?
If you have partnerships with local restaurants or clubs, you could promote them on your hotel Instagram page and they can return the favour.
Cross-promoting with local businesses means higher exposure and more leads for everyone involved. Give it a shot.
Track Your Hotel Instagram’s Traffic
How do you know if your hotel Instagram account is driving potential guests to your website?
One of the less glamorized – but most important – parts of growing a business is tracking. Where are guests coming from, and how did they get there?
You can’t get from A to B, if you don’t have a clue where “A” is. That’s usually where Google Analytics comes in.
Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t accurately track traffic when users visit your website from your Instagram account. So how do you observe traffic and click rates?
One way is to build a unique link with Google’s URL Builder – the kind that looks like yourwebsite.com/?utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=profile. That’s not very pretty, though.
To hide that, you can use customized link shorteners in the URL of your Instagram bio.
You’ll be able to monitor how many followers click over to your site on the link shortener site, and can adjust your Instagram profile accordingly. One potential downfall here is that many spam accounts use link shorteners too, to hide the real URL destinations. So what next?
An alternative path is to create an Insta-specific landing page to your hotel website that no other campaign links to. You can be pretty sure that all the traffic to that page is coming from Instagram.
If those sound like too much trouble, you always have the option of not tracking your hotel Instagram specifically, while keeping an eye on your overall traffic and other KPIs – but we wouldn’t recommend it!
Instagram is an awesome tool for boosting credibility, strengthening your brand, flaunting your hotel, and increasing bookings. However, to drive significant numbers of direct bookings on your hotel Instagram, you need to ground yourself in top Instagram trends and have a solid understanding of your guests’ needs.