There are lots of brands that don’t use social media properly, and the world of hotels is no different. Of course, there are exceptions. Marriott’s new brand of hotels, Moxy, have clearly ranked social as highly important. Further, Four Seasons employ a social media ‘guru’ in each hotel, and reportedly spend 50% of their marketing budget on social media – all of which is evident in their results. Let’s take a look at how and why so many hotels don’t utilise social media (without naming and shaming!).
How hotels aren’t using social properly
There are numerous reasons why a hotel might be misusing social. The first is, well, they aren’t using it. There is still a huge misconception amongst some hoteliers that social media isn’t worth the effort, as it can be tough to see an immediate ROI (more later on why this is short-sighted).
Some hotels never post. They have an Instagram and Facebook, but they post once a month, or even less – meaning they might as well not bother.
Even those who do post on a regular basis, may be posting poor quality content. Don’t post a blurry image. You should be 100% in love with a post before it goes out. It should fit your strategy, aims, style and brand guidelines. Further, hideous graphics won’t shine the best light on your hotel – make sure everything looks amazing as this is, narcissistically, very important in the world of social.
Social media is complex and time consuming, and those who lack the interest delve in without a strategy. If you hurriedly fire out a tweet in between meetings, thinking it’s the right thing to do, you probably won’t see great results. You need a strategy, a vision, and you need to execute it with precision and patience. This involves more than the odd tweet, but a targeted content schedule, paid social, engagement work, competitions, influencers, and more.
Once you do have a strategy, critique it, and make sure your content is on point. I often see a social media page were you can’t tell if it’s a hotel or restaurant. I know cuisine is highly important for hotels, but make sure you’re also posting about your hotel, location, UGC, and your team.
One of the most common mistakes is a lack of humanisation. If you’re firing out good content, make sure your captions encourage engagement. Spark up conversations on Twitter. I recently had a 10+ message conversation with a hotel brand on Twitter about New York Hotels. While I didn’t end up booking a room in one of their properties, they are now engrained in my mind in a positive light. Next time I do go to book a New York Hotel; they’ll certainly pop up in my mind. Like I have said in previous blogs, social media is a long term game.
Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s discuss an extra tier of good social practice that hotels fail to do so frequently.
Competitions are social gold. Give away an afternoon tea, weekend break or meal for two at your hotel for a lucky Facebook follower who shares/likes and comments on one of your posts. This will help overcome Facebook’s devilish algorithm, but will also help your social growth. While some hotels do this brilliantly, so many don’t at all. Impressions will soar, and you’ll get new (genuine, not bought or robotic) followers in their droves. All for the cost of lunch (literally).
Why aren’t hotels using social properly?
The answers to this question are always the same in pretty much every industry. Firstly, does the person in charge see the importance? I was recently told by a hotel marketing manager “but less and less people are using social media” (feel free to Google ‘social media usage stats’).
As mentioned previously, ROI may not be seen for years, and good social is difficult. If you use social yourself, however, you’ll value its importance and absolute relevance.
Secondly, does the hotel in question have the time, money, knowledge and expertise? The answer, unless they are using social proficiently, is probably no. This is why Founders Media exist.
Why do hotels need to use social?
This question could be answered in a book, never mind the closing of a blog. There’s a reason, after all, that Four Seasons spend half their marketing budget on social, and that all the best hotels are using it.
To brush over the key reasons: competitive rivalry. Imagine your closest competitor down the road have 100k followers and drive 5,000 people to their website through social every month. You post occasionally and see 50 click through to your site. Anyone with an ounce of competitiveness wouldn’t like that.
Sales and revenue! While it can sometimes be hard to track the actual conversion of social media to sales (unless you put the infrastructure for this in place), a lot of website traffic is driven via social media, so missing out on this is turning down a golden opportunity. We recently increased the impressions of a new client by just under 21,000 in 6 days. Missing out on this kind of traffic is a marketers’ way of shooting themselves in the foot.
In addition to traffic, social is a chance to establish your brand, boost your SEO, target a specific demographic or geographic, and make sure your online presence is more impressive than your neighbours’.
Founders Media are a social media management company specialising in hotels. We recently teamed up with hotel consultant Are Morch to produce #HotelPodcast, a fortnightly podcast where we discuss all things hotel social media. Kindly click here to listen.