Hotel Social Media Marketing Trends
Is your hotel looking to increase customer engagement, enhance customer satisfaction and improve retention rates?
If you answered yes, then you must be using social media.
This is the year to harness the power of social media for your hotel. It’s time to really leverage a few channels and make them work for you.
To help you do that, we’re going to look at hotel social media marketing trends.
Live Streaming Video
With the rise of Periscope, Facebook Live and Meerkat, social media users have taken video to a whole new level.
You might say live video streaming has taken over. You can expect the live streaming trend to continue and even gain momentum as more businesses figure out the best ways to use it for their brands.
When it comes to your hotel, the opportunities are incredible. You can use live streaming to showcase:
- The view of your hotel at sunset
- A group of young adults enjoying your pool
- Events going on at your hotel or nearby
- Guided tour of your hotel and your rooms. For example, you can start a guided tour and invite viewers to ask questions.
- Updates with exclusive offers for anyone watching
- Your chef cooking an amazing meal
- A bartender mixing your specialty drink
- Daily joke from a staff member
- Spa activities such as a massage or facial
- Tour of your restaurant
- Holidays – for example, you could broadcast your annual tree decorating at Christmas time.
Live streaming allows you to take users behind-the-scenes. You can show them your hotel in real time. The marketing possibilities are virtually endless.
You can host a live streaming session once a week and advertise it. Use hashtags to showcase your hotel especially if you are broadcasting on a consistent basis. Here are a few ideas:
Your hotel can utilize Facebook Messenger. In fact, it’s perfect for the hospitality industry.
With more than one billion active users worldwide, your hotel can utilize this emerging trend, especially when it comes to customer service.
Consider the Hyatt who first started using Messenger as a customer service tool. They use the platform to deliver expert service, address questions and better connect with their guests.
Just recently, Facebook debuted a set of tools for business page owners to help them manage Messenger better.
Consider these new features that can affect your hotel’s presence:
- You can choose an average length of time it takes you to respond to messages, for example, “within a day” or “within minutes.”
- There’s a new Away setting you can set if you are unable to respond to messages. You can either choose this or set an automatic response to your customers. You do want to set a standard messenger greeting.
- You can install a Facebook Messenger box on your website and use it as a live chat box.
- Messenger allows brands to use Twitter-like usernames so it’s easier for your customers to find you.
Another option for your hotel is Messenger Codes. People use these and scan them with their Messenger app to begin a private message with you.
Yet another option includes the ability to promote private messaging links. Your hotel can obtain a shareable link that lets your customers initiate a private message when they click it.
Lastly, if you decide to let people send you private messages on your hotel’s Facebook page, they can also search for your hotel in the Messenger app. They can search for you using your hotel name or your page’s username, such as @hotelxyz.
Facebook Messenger is one trend worth watching. It’s quite new in its usage for businesses, so time will tell how far it will go in improving customer service capabilities.
Social Media Advertising
Targeted precision is what you can expect from social media ads on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
When it comes to Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that your everyday posts aren’t getting the reach or the engagement they used to.
There are most likely two reasons for this. First, you need to fine-tune your posts and make sure they are meeting the needs of your hotel customers. Are you providing tips, stories, memes, videos and images?
If not, re-think your posting strategy because today’s social media posts need to be aimed at making the customer feel good about your hotel.
Second, you need to consider an ad budget for social media. The platforms want you to do this. In fact, they’re forcing your hand a bit by decreasing your organic reach.
The good news is that today’s sponsored ads and posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are less obtrusive then they used to be. They look more like normal status updates so people are more likely to click on them.
Recently, Instagram began allowing businesses to purchase ads on their platform. You may have noticed sponsored Instagram posts in your own timeline.
How can you launch your ads on Instagram? You’ll have to go through Facebook.
Social media advertising has never been easier, especially when you can advertise on Instagram through Facebook. You have access to Facebook’s Power Editor and its powerful ad platform. You’ll find endless options for targeting, budget and creative.
Because you can create ads for both platforms in one place, you’ll find it easy to accomplish.
The best part of social media advertising is your ability to target users by age, gender, interests, location, company, whether they’ve visited your website or viewed a particular page. The possibilities for targeting are enormous, and this means you can spend your advertising budget wisely.
Expect the trend towards social media advertising to continue. Estimates are that by 2017, social media advertising will top $32 billion. This is an amazing statistic especially when you think that just a few years ago, social media advertising didn’t even exist.
Social Media Customer Service
Today’s generation wants what they want when they want it, and that’s certainly true of customer service.
This trend in social media marketing means that customer service is expected on your social media platform.
Communicating with your customers in real time and on their schedule is what they expect. If you don’t provide it, they’ll find your hotel lacking.
You also want to watch for customer comments on your social media platform and take care of any negative ones the minute they arise.
You can bet your current and future customers are reading about your hotel on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and more. They’ll quickly notice problems which is why you want to handle them quickly and deftly.
Google may still be the top search dog on the market, but social media is rising to meet the need.
The next trend in social media marketing is users utilizing social media for search. Your customers are quite likely to search for your hotel on social media to see what you are like.
They are looking for an inside view, photos and reviews. They want to know what others think. If they like what they see, they might click to visit your website to book a room.
Social media channels provide a wealth of information for your customers. Be sure to keep your information updated.
Consider these statistics:
- Facebook sees 2 billion searches per day of its 2.5 trillion posts
- Twitter sees 2.1 billion search queries per day
This is another trend that you can expect to continue. What’s it mean for your hotel? It means that you’ve got to have updated, current social media pages that show an active presence for potential customers.
Employees Increase Reach
When it comes to your hotel employees, they are pivotal in this next trend. Many companies are turning to their own employees to increase their social media reach.
While you may have your own social media team, you might be struggling to effectively reach your audience and engage new followers.
In the past, companies were hesitant to involve their employees. They didn’t want them using work hours on social media, and they couldn’t be sure they’d like what they posted.
Times have changed, and businesses are turning to their employees to get the word out about their hotel.
To leverage this trend, encourage your employees to share your social media updates on their own personal accounts. Use your employees and let them advocate for your hotel.
How can you do this? Each day when you post on your social media account, send an email to your staff. Invite them to share their post on their own personal pages. If you’re using a social media management tool, you’ll find access to tools to help you facilitate employee sharing.
You’ll find the expansion of your reach dramatic. When your employees share your content, their friends don’t see it as coming from a business. They see it as a personal share that’s worthy of their interest.
Make it easy for your customers to interact with you on Facebook with a Facebook Beacon. This is a new and emerging trend and one that hasn’t yet reached its full potential. You can get in on the ground floor.
The beacon connects to your hotel’s Wi-Fi and uses Bluetooth to connect to your guests. When your guests open their Facebook app at your hotel, they are asked to check-in. They can see posts from other guests and also learn more about your hotel.
You can offer welcome messages, tips, incentives and offers to engage with your hotel guests.
If beacons aren’t available in your city yet, look for them in coming months. They are a great way to increase engagement of on-property guests.
Now that we’ve looked at some hotel social media marketing trends, let’s look at a few platforms and how you can leverage them for your hotel.
Leverage the Platforms
- Facebook: This social media platform works well for engagement and conversations. It’s easily the most popular social networking tool in the world with the most users. Work to build your community by offering engaging and valuable content, contests, games, quizzes, videos, images and frequent posts. Consider adding a reservation app for Facebook to make it easy for your followers. Always respond to negative comments in a timely fashion and with the entire Facebook audience in mind. Everyone is watching to see how you handle criticism.
- Twitter: You can utilize Twitter for short, very focused messages. It’s used a lot by business travelers so offer travel tips. You can offer concierge type services on Twitter as well as last minute deals. Again, make sure to respond to criticism with empathy. Twitter is for communication, not the hard sell.
- Yelp and Trip Advisor: Claim your pages and fill out your information completely. Respond to reviews, both positive and negative, as these are the number one reason people visit these sites. Take good care when responding, remembering that the customer is always right. Don’t forget to visit these sites daily so you can monitor the activity.
- YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram: Highly visual platforms, you want to leverage video and images. Note that your YouTube video content appears in Google searches.
- Google+: Post on this social media platform because it’s good for your hotel. Claim your Google+ Business Page and update it with info and photos. Google will reward you in search results if you are using this social media platform.
Keeping up with social media trends for your hotel can seem like a painstaking job. The social media ecosphere is changing rapidly.
One thing you can be certain of is that it’s here to stay.
Perhaps the biggest trend of all when it comes to hotel social media marketing is that your hotel must participate.
If you’re not, you’re losing out. Great platforms for your hotel include Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Foursquare and YouTube. Who knows what new platform will arise in the next year. Our advice? Check it out and see if it will work for you.
The bottom line when it comes to hotel social media marketing is that it’s integral to your business model. In today’s digital world, it’s expected.
Social media is the way you relate to customers, meet their needs, interact with them, provide customer service, offer your services and communicate on a daily basis.