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INSTAGRAM is one of the most effective social media marketing platforms available to hotel owners in today’s social and digital environment. In fact, Instagram now has more than one billion users.
It offers a simple, clean feed, it’s completely mobile, and it makes everything look great.
And the good news for hoteliers is that it’s particularly popular with travellers and holidaymakers. Marriott Hotels’ Instagram account has 287,000 followers while Hilton Hotels & Resorts has 226,000 followers, and IHG’s InterContinental brand has 146,000 followers.
Some noteworthy observations of Instagram include:
- Advertising for brands is available
Recently there’s been a rollout of advertising for brands on Instagram. Many pages already have the action buttons to ‘Call’, ‘Email’ and ‘Get Directions’. Now select businesses will be able to include ‘Book’, ‘Get Tickets’, ‘Reserve’, or ‘Start Order’. As for direct messaging, businesses can now see important new customer messages in their main inbox, instead of in the pending folder. They can also mark messages with a star and filter conversations to make it easier to follow up with enquiries.
- A Facebook-style news-feed algorithm.
Gone are the days when Instagram was a free-for-all: based purely on chronological order. Instagram itself says you can now ’see the moments you care about first’, through the help of a highly complex algorithm determining which content Instagram believes a user would like to see.
If hotels provide the high quality, aspirational content that Instagram users are looking for, the Instagram algorithm could actually be highly advantageous.
- Instagram is growing in popularity with older users
Don’t assume that Instagram users are outside your target demographic. Although skewed towards the young, it is growing in popularity among older age groups.
In simple terms, here are some ideas to help your hotel create Instagram-worthy posts.
1. HIGHLIGHT YOUR HOTEL’S FACILITIES
Instagram allows you to create a lifestyle around your hotel. Make each post complement your overall brand story. Share content that will boost your property’s urban image or confirm your hotel as a peaceful retreat. Highlight your facilities, but keep content attractive and entertaining to show the dynamic life at the hotel and capture its atmosphere.
2. GIVE YOUR STAFF SELFIE MISSIONS
Go behind the scenes to give followers a glimpse of the hard working staff that help make a guest’s stay as stress-free and fun as possible. Share images of new menu items being prepped in the kitchen, staff interacting with guests, and guests enjoying themselves (ask permission first). Staging selfie spots is quite popular and gives guests an easy option to photograph and share their own images.
3. GO BEYOND YOUR HOTEL
Promote your destination by sharing content of your local neighbourhood, scenery and attractions, to give followers a sense of place beyond the hotel. Engage with the posts of other travel operators in the area. When uploading imagery, be sure to use the photo map feature and specify your location so that photos are searchable.
4. USE HASHTAGS
Hashtags will make your content searchable. They are important on Instagram because you can’t add links to posts. Instagram users often hashtag brands in the hope of getting a response. Search for people hashtagging your hotel, like and comment to create a conversation. Create hashtags for your hotel and campaigns and include them in posts. Start with three or four per post and ramp up.
HERE’S SOME PERFECT EXAMPLES OF HOW TO GET IT RIGHT ON INSTAGRAM
This is based on:
- Likelihood you’ll be interested in the content
- Your relationship with the person posting
- Timeliness of the post
Instagram is about sharing your individual personality and values. Staying true and genuine to your property is vital for gaining and maintaining followers. If content isn’t relevant, users soon drop off. Think of your Instagram as an extension of your hotel photo gallery, but don’t discount guest input. If you search using a hashtag or your hotel’s name you might find travellers have already posted photos of their time at your hotel. This will make it easier for you to find people to engage with.
Obviously you want to showcase your main attractions as much as possible and with Instagram you can make them look even more amazing. The range of filters and layouts allow you to craft the perfect image in every case. Be sure to portray your highlights in an interesting and entertaining way. This might include your hotel restaurant or pool – and if there’s one thing that’s popular on Instagram, it’s beautiful pictures of travel!
Guests who take photos at your property often share their experiences, allowing people to view your hotel through the eyes of their peers, which is a wonderful organic channel for traffic. Posting such stories, like proposals or anniversaries, will again reinforce a positive perception of your hotel.