Imagine for a moment that you’re not an hotelier, but rather, a keen traveler.
Your friends usually tease you for shamelessly chasing the sun around the world, but right now you’re stuck in middle of a ferociously cold winter.
You retreat to your Instagram feed, stumbling across an idyllic poolside shot, featuring the tanned glow of your friend’s hand cradling a piña colada. The Hilton hotel lingers invitingly in the background, and the engaging visual is paired with the hashtag #HeavenFromTheHilton.
You instantly want to be where she is, doing what she’s doing, and of course, staying where she’s staying.
This is the power of organic reach.
Since only 33% of online users trust ads, and yet, a hefty 92% trust personal recommendations from friends and family, increasing your organic reach online is a highly effective and cost-efficient way to market your hotel.
Encouraging user-generated content, like in the example above, and amplifying your online engagement can effectively drive loyalty, boost direct bookings, and improve your hotel revenue.
Let these proven strategies invigorate your social media strategy and drive organic reach on your property.
Actively engage with your community
Social media platforms are designed to be interactive, which involves more than just one-way content distribution.
Establishing a strong presence online is about engaging with your community of guests and brand followers, whether that’s by contributing to a trending conversation on LinkedIn, or being part of online groups and communities.
It’s also important to empower vocal brand advocates, so they feel connected to your hotel brand.
Recognize followers that share your content by commenting and liking their posts, or personally thanking them with exclusive offers like a voucher for the next time they stay.
Apps like Buzzsumo can help you track and identify your content’s sharers on social media, allowing you stay up-to-date with your loyal community.
Build the trust of your community by reposting the personal content of your followers.
Showcase a rave review on Facebook or, share an engaging photo of your hotel without forgetting to personally name and tag the guest that posted it!
Respond to guest feedback
Responding to feedback on review-based platforms and social media channels, like TripAdvisor, Facebook, Google, Twitter and more, shows how much you value your guests, and the experience they have on your property.
Regardless of whether the feedback you receive is positive, negative or mixed, send timely responses, within 24 hours of when the review is published if possible.
Encouraging negative reviewers to come back with a discount or free-night stay can demonstrate how committed you are to the guest experience.
For the most impact, offer to “make it right” with the unhappy guest publicly, while encouraging them to reach out directly to the GM, who can then make an appropriate offer. Others will see your hotel going above and beyond to deliver the most stress-free and seamless stay.
Respond in real-time
Many guests look for immediate responses, especially if they’re choosing to give feedback on platforms that favor real-time communication, like Twitter.
If your guest sends in a complaint or delivers negative feedback while they’re still on-property, an immediate response in less than minutes will show how proactive you are in attending to the needs of guests.
By turning negative feedback into an opportunity to demonstrate the great customer service at your hotel, your guest could even respond later with a rave review – in turn strengthening the trust and confidence of prospective guests.
Optimize your posts for maximum engagement
Ensure your social media posts are effectively targeting and engaging your ideal audience segment.
Studies reveal that visual posts on Facebook receive up to 53% more likes than text-based content, and Forrester Research has boldly claimed that a one-minute video is worth more (from a marketing perspective) than 10 million words.
Tap into these trends by incorporating strong visuals into your social media strategy.
How can you give guests a “snackable” taste of your on-property culture and community?
Engaging visual content, like a view of your property’s surrounding landscape or a 360-degree virtual tour around your hotel rooms, for example, is an interactive way you can inspire guests to directly book with your hotel.
Identify what works best for your hotel brand
Resources like Sprout Social can provide valuable tips to help you optimize your social media posts, including research-based recommendations on the ideal content, format, and length of your updates.
You can find out what works best for your hotel brand too by documenting your posts and the results they get. Why not create a social media calendar to track your metrics and gradually improve your posts over time?
Improve visibility with hashtags
Trending hashtags can be an effective way to generate an online buzz of activity surrounding your brand.
Hashtags that achieve the most reach and visibility tend to be part of a broader marketing campaign. They also tap into current trends, social issues, and on-property events.
To celebrate the opening of your new bar, as an example, host an evening happy hour and invite your hotel community to share a drink with #YourPeople.
To gain even more traction through your hashtag, partner with an online influencer that has an engaged and widespread audience. In this instance, that might be a popular mixologist with a large number of cocktail-loving followers across the globe.
Airbnb encourages travelers to #LiveThere
Using extensive consumer research, Airbnb developed a successful hashtag campaign that speaks to the desires of the modern traveler today.
After 86% of its users revealed they wanted to experience the cities they visited like locals, Airbnb coined the hashtag #LiveThere, and harnessed online influencers, like photographer Farhad Samari, to inspire its social media followers to use Airbnb to experience a place like a native.
The brand launched the campaign with updated app features that enabled travelers to find Airbnb homes and neighborhoods that matched their interests.
“There’s so many different avenues that you can go into and find magic,” says Dynasty of her native Brooklyn. Now you can join her and her twin sister, Soull, in the Bed-Stuy studio of L’Enchanteur, their hot fashion line, to create your own little piece of enchantment. Choose a stone, make a model, and then head to a Bushwick metalsmith to realize your vision, exploring hidden studios along the way. ⠀ For more #AirbnbExperiences designed and led by New Yorkers, click the link in our bio.
Leverage trends to drive organic reach
Since strong visual content already generates a high level of social engagement, why not encourage your guests to spread captivating photo stories about their stay?
Whether you implement an on-property photo booth, design a photo competition or hand out selfie sticks at the hotel concierge, your guests need an incentive to spread great visuals of your hotel experience.
Do that, and you’ll be surprised how many keen travelers are surfing their Instagram feeds, desperately trying to escape to your property.