The role of social media in the travel industry is greater than ever before. With over 400 million active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels. It allows the posting and sharing of images and videos on mobile devices. This makes it a great way to show off your hotel through attractive imagery and encourage guests to share their images of your hotel as well.
Here are some top tips for marketing your hotel using Instagram:
Keep your account active
An inactive account doesn’t attract followers. Make sure to post content regularly. Keeping your account current keeps followers interested, and up-to-date content is more likely to be shared among friends. This will allow you to reach a wider audience and gain more followers.
Post pictures of your hotel
Post a wide variety of high quality, professional media content that shows your hotel’s story. Don’t limit yourself to simple room pictures. Appeal to the senses with creative pictures of breathtaking views and delicious cuisine. Use the built-in filters that Instagram offers to improve images.
Yahoo Labs found that pictures with faces are 38% more likely to receive likes and 32% more likely to receive comments. Have people, both staff and guests, featured in your images. This gives a lively impression of the hotel experience. Pictures of happy guests act as a testimonial to the success of your hotel, so don’t forget to include them.
Another great idea is to post behind-the-scenes images and videos. Include fun, shareworthy content. These posts are more likely to become popular and could even become viral, giving your hotel a massive popularity boost. In addition, viewers won’t want to miss out on the exciting atmosphere in your hotel and will be encouraged to book.
Use engaging captions. Make sure to include information about how to book, so it’s easy for impressed viewers to become customers. You can even add special offer codes to your captions and images.
For example, Urban Cowboy B&B posts many high-quality pictures to their Instagram. In the following picture, you can see how they have effectively shown the unique atmosphere of their hotel and featured real people having a good time.
Cowboy nights in Nashville (@urbancowboybnb)
Share guest photos and testimonials
If a guest posts a photo of their stay at your hotel, make sure to share it. These photos and their captions act as valuable, genuine testimonials and provide you with extra content. Testimonials are a powerful marketing tool that give potential guests a sense of trust and foster familiarity with your hotel brand. This will encourage bookings.
You should also tag customers in images that you share and thank them for their upload using the ‘comment’ feature. Developing this personal connection will increase customer loyalty.
Use hashtags to promote picture and video sharing
Hashtags are used in popular social media channels to allow users to view content by keyword. You will probably have come across them when using Twitter to market your hotel. Create and use unique hashtags that encourage the sharing of pictures and videos from your hotel. For example, Rosewood Hotels uses the hashtag #RWJourneys and encourages guests to share their pictures using the hashtag as well.
RWJourneys hashtag search results (Instagram)
You should also include trending and relevant hashtags to attract users searching for particular phrases or keywords. Remember to keep them as relevant as possible, so you don’t attract viewers who aren’t interested in what you have to offer.
Post about local events and holidays
Local events are often a source of excitement, so make sure to post about them. People looking for a new travel experience may be encouraged to visit. Including relevant hashtags also allows you reach people already planning to attend the event. These users may be looking for somewhere local to stay and could easily become your customers.
Around holiday times, holiday-specific hashtags become wildly popular. Post seasonal photos with these hashtags to reach more people and build a shared sense of excitement about the holiday season.
Create contests and competitions for followers
Contests and competitions are a fun way to draw in new customers, engage current customers, and encourage content sharing. Create a unique contest hashtag and offer prizes or discounts for followers who post photos accompanied by the tag. The James Hotels ran such a contest, where users were encouraged to share photos of their favorite views with the tag #JamesPOV. They offered a three-night stay at The James West Hollywood to the lucky winner.
The #JamesPOV contest (@jameshotels)
Share travel tips and restaurant reviews
Regularly provide useful content that your viewers will appreciate. This can include travel tips and restaurant reviews for people coming to your area. When people see that you want to help them and share valuable advice, they will think favorably of you. Positive opinions of your hotel brand lead to new customers.
In addition to following these tips make sure you post at the right time. Instagram is used 24 hours a day, every day. However, according to HubSpot, weekdays are the best time to engage followers, but not between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Aim to post once a day. Don’t post more than three times a day, to avoid filling up your followers’ feeds.
Best times to post (HubSpot)
Make sure to keep an eye on the number of likes and comments your photos receive. This will help you gauge the success of your Instagram marketing efforts. You can also use Instagram Insights, Instagram’s new analytics feature for business profiles.
When used effectively by following the advice above, Instagram should help you reach a wide audience and increase direct bookings.