social media icons on a mobile or tablet

Social media has become a universe of its own – a place where people go to speak their minds, connect with friends and family, stay informed, be entertained, find inspiration, and even make purchases.

NB: This is an article from Siteminder

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are intricately intertwined into society, especially western society, to the point where social media is having a huge impact on culture, activism, and even government regimes.

That’s how big and vocal the audience is! For businesses such as hotels it represents an amazing opportunity to reach potential guests and grow as a brand.

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Hotel social media: What you need to know

The first thing you need to know about social media is that a large proportion of users are active regularly. Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users, while Facebook has nearly 3 billion! If Twitter is your thing, it clocks in at 340 million active users.

This means on a daily basis, there will be a huge potential audience on social platforms for your hotel business to reach, influence, and acquire as guests.

Influence is a key word here because when people are in travel mode, many of them use social media to inform their choices on where to go, where to stay, and what to purchase. A survey by Expedia found that 30% of Americans are influenced or inspired by social media when booking a trip.

When it comes to the trip itself, 97% of millennials say they will share posts of their vacation on social media. These posts go on to impact the decisions other millennials make about their own upcoming travel plans, with 2 in 5 admitting travel images on social media influence their choices.

So it makes a lot of sense to have a strong presence on the platforms your potential guests are spending a lot of time during their planning and decision making stages of travel. If you don’t think so – know that almost 50% of hoteliers are already ranking social media as a top two sales and marketing priority.

Even if you aren’t spending money on ads or promotions, you can still build a large following for your business page and engage strongly with the travel community. With direct online bookings growing annually, it’s never too late to get started!

How to create a social media strategy for your hotel

Where to start exactly, though? Developing a strategy for social media takes time, research and planning, and a degree of trial and error. There is no cookie-cutter strategy that will work for every hotel, since every hotel is different. Location, size, services, target market, price and more will all play a role in how you portray and advertise your hotel on social platforms.

Likewise, every social media platform is different too – in terms of their algorithms, the way travellers use them, what users expect from the content, and the features available to businesses.

As with all marketing activities you undertake at your hotel, your first steps need to be distilled into a few key points:

  • What’s your brand identity and personality?
    This should be consistent. While different channels will cater to different tones it needs to be subtle. Don’t be quirky on social media only to be stiff and formal in your emails.
  • Who do you want to target?
    Your hotel’s ideal audience naturally, but you can get more specific and try to target people at different points in their path to purchase or even try to capture the attention of new, more valuable audiences.
  • What’s your objective?
    Are you simply looking to create awareness of your brand and build an audience, or are you actively using social platforms to acquire bookings?
  • How will you track results?
    It’s important to keep a close eye on the impact everything you do on social media has on your business. This way, you can make adjustments and improve your strategy.
  • What’s your budget?
    Will you be achieving your objectives organically or do you have a budget to commit to social media ads?

If you’re clear on all this you can then decide which platforms you want to be active on, if you have the time and resources to dedicate to them, and what kind of content you’ll produce and share.

One of the best things to keep in mind is that your social media account is a chance to impress guests before they even stay at your hotel, so make sure your content is positive and shows the best your destination, property, and staff have to offer.

Tips for luxury and boutique hotels

The handy thing about marketing on social media is that it’s made easy for you to reach your target market, such as luxury travellers.

Read rest of the article at Siteminder