Even for the most technology-savvy person, managing the social media presence for a business can be challenging. The common initial thought is, “Oh, it’s just Facebook!” or “Oh, it’s just Twitter!” However, managing an active hotel social media business account for your property is far different from logging on to keep in touch with friends. Potential guests may have their first experience with your hotel online, so it’s important that you make a great impression.
As discussed in a recent innRoad blog post, now that you have decided to become a social media participant and develop online relationships with your guests, you have also unlocked the potential to generate greater awareness and, hopefully, future revenue for your hotel. However, just as you and your team focus on regular maintenance and housekeeping at your property, you must put time and energy into your social media efforts for it to pay dividends.
Whichever social media channels you decide best fit your hotel, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., you should always treat them as an extension of your hotel’s brand and part of your marketing strategy. The same as if you were purchasing an ad or having new signage installed to promote your property, the content you post must always be accurate and represent your hotel/brand well. The best way to manage when and what you post online is to develop a social media content calendar.
You can start with a simple excel or word document, or use an online calendar, to plan out which days you will post and what you wish to communicate. Try planning out your posts a month in advance. Doing this will take some time initially, but will make posting throughout the month fast and easy. You may post twice per week or every day, how often you decide to post is your decision, but what scheduling regular posts will do is help your followers know when they can expect new updates from you. Additionally, it will let your followers know that someone is actively managing the page, so if they wish to engage with your hotel by asking a question, they know that someone will see their inquiry and most likely respond. It’s a great way to begin delivering hospitality before they walk through your front door.
Once you have established your posting schedule, you now need plenty of content to share. To keep your followers engaged, you should consistently produce fresh and relevant content. Below are some content tips to help you fill out your calendar and build your social media presence. Social media is a great way to market your hotel, so have some fun with it and use a little creativity to help yourself standout.
- Always use great photography: As the old adage goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is definitely true on social media. You can write a great post, but if it’s accompanied by a fuzzy photo or no photo, it’s less likely to get noticed. Whenever possible, always include a great photo that relates to your post. It will “wow” your regular followers and help get the attention of casual observers who may then become followers and future guests.
- Don’t be too shy to brag about your hotel: Whenever you have new developments at your hotel that will help improve your guest’s experience – post them! Whether you have installed new high pressure showerheads in all guest rooms or planted new flowers around your property, these are enhancements that will help set your hotel apart from your competition, both locally and online. As noted above, including a great photo will help tell your story even better.
- Become a local weather expert: If your hotel is located in an area where the weather strongly influences occupancy rates, such as near the mountains or beachside, providing regular weather updates will help your guests prepare for their visit.
- Local attractions, history and fun facts: Telling your followers about local attractions, interesting history and fun tidbits of information about your community will also help create more interest for your hotel. Creating interest for your town can help drive local tourism. The more visitors coming into town means more opportunities to capture bookings from new guests.
- Set up “Reviews” on Facebook: Invite your guests or former guests to post their reviews, including pictures on Facebook. This is a great way to engage current and previous guests and intrigue potential guests. Ideally you would be able to offer up a free night for everyone who participates in a certain time period.
A well developed hotel social media plan is an important part of your overall marketing strategy, and with careful planning it can provide great benefits and help increase guests and your guest’s experience.