How to Boost Your Hotels Revenue Using Social Media
Chances are the first impression of your hotel has already been made on a potential guest before you ever had the chance to tell them how great you are. If you don’t tap in to the power of social media and engaging with your guests, you’ll be left with more empty rooms rather than lasting impressions.
According to an eMarketer study, one-fifth of leisure travelers worldwide turn to social media platforms for inspiration on various categories during their travel planning.
So how do hoteliers inspire travelers to book with your hotel via social media? Let’s take a plunge in to the top social channels.
With 95 percent of the hotels on social media also being on Facebook, it’s clear that this platform reigns supreme.
Let’s take advantage of some of the key features:
Engage with your Fans
As organic reach begins to decline after the recent algorithm update, giveaways are going to be essential to get fans commenting and sharing to even get an opportunity to experience your hotel on Facebook. In an effort to do just that, Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa in Orlando ramped up the excitement by giving fans the chance to win a two-night stay at the hotel.
Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa created a campaign that was employed across all social media channels with more-than-favorable results. “The campaign had the desired business result with increased awareness, increased Facebook fans, and a higher level of engagement,” said Gina Withey, the Vice President of Marketing for staySky Resort Management. This also gave the hotel an opportunity to capture useful data. An email address is more valuable than a Facebook Like.
The whole point of social media is to have a two-way conversation where visitors feel they have direct access to someone on the inside. In a sense, you’re their virtual concierge. When they feel like they’re being acknowledged and engaged with, your fans will be much more likely to return themselves, and recommend you to their friends and family.
Upload a Cover Photo
Use the large cover photo to your advantage and wow your social media visitors. An audible gasp is the reaction you’re aiming for here.
Use an impressive image of a breathtaking view from one of your hotel’s suites or an eagle-eye point of view showing your hotel nestled in to the surrounding landscape, for example. No matter the vantage point, make sure the image is high-resolution and tantalizing to get people to continue clicking and scrolling for more. Take a look at some of my favorites:
Harbour Rocks Hotel
Give Frequent Updates
While you don’t want to inundate your fan’s feeds, you also want to make sure you’re posting enough to be worth following. The key is striking the balance of producing enough quality content to make guests glad they became fans. Try experimenting with targeted posts utilizing gender, relationships, age, location, etc. Also use visuals at every opportunity to increase the likelihood of sharing and try to post something at least 5-7 times per week.
Take 30 minutes each week to analyze the Facebook Insights to see which posts performed better and why. This will also help discover when is the best time to post for your brand. With the organic reach dropping about 2% for big brands, hitting your target at the peak time is essential to get you message to the right audience.
Hybrid Sponsored Posts
With more than 18 million business pages competing for space in the News Feed, hotels are going to need to boost content through advertising. Try promoting targeted posts once they reach a certain engagement point. If you see that a post has received higher Likes or Comments than usual, throw some money behind that content to boost the reach.
Keep Guests Entertained
While the main objective is to be conversational on Twitter, with the new Twitter redesign visuals are becoming more necessary in this social space. Check out Pier One Sydney Harbour’s Mother’s Day tweet:
Happy Mother's Day from Pier One! pic.twitter.com/8OmAhE3s6U
— Pier One Sydney (@PierOneSydney) May 11, 2014
Use retweets and mentions to show that you care about what your followers are putting out there even if it’s not directly related to your hotel.
Also, take advantage of the Twitter redesign by pinning a tweet that drives emotion or a reaction. For example, an upcoming event, an announcement, or an image that conveys happiness. Happiness naturally makes us want to share. Treat your Twitter timeline as your hotel lobby – stick with photos and videos as studies have shown that tweets with photos get 18 percent more clicks.
Take a look at Four Seasons use of Pinned Tweets:
Just make sure that if you’re going to participate in #ThrowbackThursday you don’t throw it too far back, like before your hotel room remodels, or something.
Offer Twitter Discounts
Twitter’s biggest fans and the most coveted travel demographic are one and the same, the millennials. They scour Twitter for recommendations and deals corresponding to nearly every category of entertainment from what books to read next all the way to what airline to fly.
Get location savvy and search for tweets pertaining to your hotel’s surrounding location and tweet back with offers for discounts or a gift to stay at your property when they visit. Don’t forget to include the link back to your website or booking engine.
Big, Beautiful Header
These are similar to Facebook’s cover photos. With this new space, hotels can capitalize on the curiosity of potential guests and immerse them in a visual experience. Here are a couple of my favorites:
DoubleTree by Hilton
With the way Google has integrated Google+ in to their search function, it’s crucial for your hotel’s SEO to maintain an up-to-date page and engage with other Google+ users by encouraging them to add your hotel to their circles.
Setting up a Google+ Business Page, like Hawthorn Suites Lake Buena Vista, where they post things to see and do in the area along with upcoming festivals and events is going to exhibit your level of hospitality before your guests even make a booking. In addition with connecting to people you already know, adding a +1 button to your website and sharing options will inform people that you can be found on Google+.
If you’re still in the dark on how to fill in all the other details check out The Essential Guide to Google+ for Hotels to get the complete low-down.
Start off by following users who produce content you enjoy and re-pinning their content to boards on your page, for example, “Be A Jetsetter” and “Cocktail Hour”. Get a posting schedule together and save you’re best images for Pinterest. The smallest details in the rooms that make a huge impact in your guest’s overall experience.
Don’t forget SEO here either; make sure you include keywords and tags in your board names and descriptions as well as in the comment boxes of your pins. Inn at Laguna Beach does a great job at tying all these factors in to their Pinterest strategy. I don’t think their “Around the Inn” board could get any dreamier.
Take Interesting Photos
Immaculate gardens, a crystal clear pool, colorful cocktails and gourmet food are what followers of the La Playa Carmel’s Instagram feed get to fantasize over, which is what everyone wants to see when checking out a potential vacation spot or venue.
Get to the engagement by liking your follower’s photos and doing relevant searches in the “explore” section of Instagram. This will expand your reach and getting people on your page.
So how do I measure ROI?
There will always be a discrepancy on how to determine the exact percentage of revenue dollars you received from online engagement. However, conversations, network building and idea sharing that is conducted on social media channels plays an exponentially larger role in revenue management than some may notice.
Beyond direct revenue, the value in branding that comes from your hotel’s social media presence connects with future guests and develops a better reputation and loyalty amongst your followers for long-term success. No matter how you tackle all the social media platforms make sure you have the time to devote to really cultivating each social media account and view it as a channel for increasing the efficiency of word-of-mouth.
Food for thought: hotels that take care of their guests and give them an experience worth talking about are going to be the ones who see business soar via Social Media. Leave a bad taste in people’s mouths and keep in mind bad news can travel faster now more than ever.
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Anna is a self-taught dreamer of innovation, a flower child of her generation, and self-proclaimed world beer enthusiast. In the real world, when the cape comes off, Anna is a freelance writer/wannabe blogger, digital media marketer, and mom of Norman, the basset hound. She also loves peanut butter. Follow her on Twitter @annaleacrowe.
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