collection of social media icons

We’ve done a little market research – or, more so, Statista has – into the mysterious realm of 2021 year-long projections and trends for hotels

NB: This is an article from Milestone

For example: 74% of all hotel revenue will stem from online sales throughout 2021. This is projected to raise to 78% by 2025 so, if you’ve not already started, you’ll need to hop on the social media bandwagon and get your online profile creating passive income, stat.

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In fact, since the dawn of at-home life with COVID-19 keeping all the doors shut, social media has been the only real way to connect with audiences and keep the communication flowing. Yet, the platforms are providing space for hotels to take on new roles; from promoting the soft linen sheets and ways you can explore the nearby beach, to providing crisis communication.

Being able to keep in touch with stakeholders such as the guests, the media, the investors, the partnering businesses, and the local authority is the key to being able to maintain a foot in the doors.

As we all know, the pandemic severely impacted businesses around the globe and hoteliers were no exception; in 2019, hotels saw upwards of 1,118 million users yet, in 2020 this number fell in half with the remaining guests being the essential workers recipient to allocated safe accommodation. Despite this, Statista lifts our spirits by telling us 2021 will see a footfall of around 845 million. So, it’s important you know exactly how to target that footfall, create lasting relationships, and begin filling your rooms.

Here’s some hoteliers around the world who have already thrived with social media trends and tips. Explore their channels (most of whom make use of them all from Facebook and Instagram to YouTube and LinkedIn) then find out how you can reap the same online success.

2021 is giving us the opportunity to start over and market hotels in the new universal language of online marketplaces. So, here are five essential social media tips to leverage your chances of success for getting signatures in your guestbook.

1. Get Personal

Vaccines are finally here, yet some people still find themselves under travel restrictions. And, while this will alleviate to grow your custom throughout the year, your future guests are already online and looking where to burst into freedom. It’s important to instill confidence in these potential buyers now and grasp your audiences in a way that speaks to them.

For example: platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn all provide space to share “Stories” of your behind-the-scenes (BTS) operations, guided tours, COVID-19 secure protocols demonstrations, and staff-consumer relationships.

Inconspicuous advertising techniques such as introducing viewers to the tribe like this or engaging with popular trends or challenges will become increasingly popular as 2021 progresses.

Instagram stories allows viewers to get to know the staff, feel more comfortable, and become more likely to book a room in a place where ambiances are familiar and friendly. To achieve this, you will need to speak with your audience, expose an unseen part of your brand, and involve your viewers in your overall narrative with videos or pictures.

After all, you are trying to convince someone to get into your bed for the night. It might be best to truly introduce yourself first. And, by that, we mean all of you: your staff, your customers, your furry friends, and the corporate side of things, too.

Create deeper relationships with your company; you could be walking yourself into a host of new engagements, shares, reviews, rebounding customers, and more.

2. Ask For Their Opinion

As one of the most successful, relatable, and reliable practices of short-form user-generated content (UGC), connecting with your audiences by asking for opinions needs to be on your to-do list.

While it may seem as though your hotel should market by just sharing pictures, showing people the scenery, and giving examples of how many fun adventures your guests can take, it’s more. You need to ask what your audience wants to see by giving them a sense of autonomy and a voice for your brand.

One simple act: upload an Instagram Story of a front-facing manager asking your viewers what dish they feel needs to be on the re-open menu for 2021. Answers will come flooding in and you have the opportunity to tell a narrative from there. Choose a meal that stands out, add it to the menu and see the look on your guests faces when they realize that each guest – whether they’ve booked or not – is just as valued as the next.

We say Instagram Stories, simply because research from Oberlo has found it to be the source for 73% of business success rates in a social media campaign. But, other platforms like TikTok, Facebook Stories, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and so on are all still valuable platforms to ask your guests if they preferred the fishing, the beaches, the lakes, the scenic drives, the restaurant, or the mini-bar.

There are so many ways to invite your audiences into the conversation; here are some examples most commonly used with Instagram Stories.

  • Use an “Ask Me Anything”
  • Ask “Yes/No” polls
  • Include “Test Your Knowledge” games
  • Invite viewers to an interview
  • Take viewers on a live tour
  • Involve “Share Your Opinion” blocks
  • Use a “Rate Meter”
  • Get on board with trends that forward the challenge onto the viewer

3. Have Any Giveaways?

There are two types of market you can and will target by using giveaways and chances to gain freebies: the market whose expenditure has taken a downfall given the economic climate and the market who are finally free and looking where to spend their time.

56% of consumers questioned on the Global Web Index said they wanted businesses to place supporting others in the light of COVID-19 above all else as we begin to emerge from the dark clouds. And, as a hotel: you can offer so much. If it’s not the full room, there’s nothing much like feeling the soft hotel towel adorned with the small chocolate. So, perhaps send some care packages out to a few lucky winners.

It could also be as simple as offering free cancellations or refunds. A Fuel survey found people far more likely to book at a hotel they could trust offered flexibility in the case COVID-19 prevented them from being able to enjoy their stay.

4. Make Things Easy

We are a lazy breed at heart and having things handed on a silver platter will always be a more welcome sight than having to go on a scavenger hunt just to indulge on something we’ve seen online.

This means reducing the journey a potential customer must make to get from your social media post about how great the hotel mini fridge is to booking a room with a view.

The effects of shifting consumption to social media platforms reduces the B2C journey for each customer. An effect commonly utilized by charities such as UNICEF, the aim is to allow potential spenders to spend without needing to click here and there or even losing them altogether.

Instead of seeing an advert, needing to look for your website, searching for the room that meets their demand, going to the checkout, and then adding the card details; think about incorporating the social media marketplaces that take your customers straight from the post to the checkout.

With a hotel business, you’ll want to ensure customers are able to view your adverts and go directly to booking. Potential guests will always feel happier knowing they’re ahead of the crowd when looking for the perfect booking dates. Especially when it comes to the seasonal holidays like Spring Break, Thanksgiving, or New Year celebrations.

5. Make Use of Omnichannel Opportunities

For a quick introduction: finding an omnichannel solution in social media just means refraining from putting all your eggs into one basket and creating a business profile for your hotel on every platform you can think of (and consistently post on all of them).

The reason being that 35% of customers expect to be able to find the same customer service on every platform, 87% of customers believe businesses should have a seamless social media experience on offer, and – most importantly – 91% of businesses saw a growing rate in customer retention when they featured an omnichannel approach to their campaigns. Thank you to V12 for doing the hard work and finding the statistics.

It’s all about being customer-centric; a smart approach would be to choose around five platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube.

Yet, this selection will depend on your target audience. For example, statistics from 2020 showed a predominantly millennial culture on platforms like TikTok. Yet, Facebook is still the most popular daily social media go-to globally, making it a necessity when reaching a broad demographic as a hotelier.

So, which will you choose?

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