It’s safe to say that marketing has proven to be a challenge for the vast majority of hotels in recent years. As the industry faced disruption after disruption, only those able to stay agile have managed to stay the course.
So what is the future of the hospitality industry? When it comes to marketing, hospitality has always benefited from cutting-edge technologies and trends and has leveraged them well. As younger generations move away from Facebook, Instagram has positioned itself as the social media marketing platform of choice for the hotel industry.
The question is, how to ensure that your hotel is using Instagram at maximum potential? If you’re looking ahead and preparing a marketing strategy that will bring profits, here’s how to use Instagram as the foundation of that strategy.
Step 1: Use a Business Profile
If Bob from reception set up your hotel’s Instagram account while on his lunch break, chances are that it’s not been set up exactly right. Your first step is to ensure that your hotel is listed as a business profile. You can do this in under a minute by heading to the settings section.
This has many advantages, including that Instagram users can see your contact details faster and more easily. However, the biggest advantage is that you get insights into the data that Instagram collects for you. From the demographics of your followers to their online habits, this data can form the basis of your Instagram strategy.
After all, when you know what time of day your followers are using Instagram, you know the best time of day to publish that new menu change or special offer on your best rooms.
Step 2: A More Instagrammable Location
The notion of the ‘Instagrammable’ restaurant or hotel isn’t new, but it’s not going anywhere. There’s simply no avoiding that modern hotel guests want to show off where they’re staying, and that means lots of photos. The pictures they deem worthy of posting online will be one of your best advertisements.
Making your hotel more Instagram-worthy doesn’t have to mean major renovations and costs. Creating focal points in important locations will go a long way to getting your hotel featured on your guest’s Instagram feeds.
Look at guides on using outdoor planters in hotel landscaping, contact local artists and let them let loose on your plain walls, and ensure your chefs understand the importance of visually-pleasing dishes. Start creating those inspiring reasons for your guests to start taking photos and selfies.
Top Tip: Take a long walk around every part of your hotel, taking photos of problem areas. Stained carpets, damaged walls, and dirty window frames may end up on social media, but that’s not something you should be hoping for. Identify trouble spots and take steps to deal with them.
Step 3: Using Influencers
We’ve all heard about nightmare influencers who contact hotels with nothing but a scam and a sense of entitlement. Don’t let those horror stories put you off. When used in the right way, influencers can be a major marketing resource.
Ignore those self-proclaimed influencers promising exposure to their huge number of followers. Instead, look at micro-influencers and nano influencers. These people may have far fewer followers but have an authenticity that you can’t buy.
When those small accounts post about the great time they’re having at your hotel, it won’t come across as an advert. They’ll engage with their audience, and that simply makes you look good. Ignore the big names and go small.
Step 4: Brand Monitoring
Monitoring mentions of your hotel will always be important, but it's often overlooked. When people discuss your hotel online, you want to be aware of it. If you're being praised, that’s great news. On the other hand, if your hotel is being publicly criticized online, you need to know fast.
You can monitor your brand on Instagram using the platform’s filters. However, you should also be monitoring any mentions of your brand across the whole internet. Don’t just monitor Instagram, or you could be missing out on good and bad mentions.
There are plenty of brand monitoring tools available, so take time to research the best ones for you. That way, you’ll never miss another mention and can take a lot more control over your online presence.
Use Instagram for a Hotel with a Future
The main thing to remember when upping your Instagram game is that it doesn't take much work. Once everything is set up, it is just a matter of posting once or twice a day and ensuring you have notifications set for brand mentions. Get these right, and your hotel could start featuring on a lot more personal feeds, being viewed by a whole new potential audience.
If you're not yet using Instagram as the basis of your hotel marketing, chances are that you're losing out to those competitors who are. Take a look at what they’re doing. And if your closest competitors aren’t using it either, you could easily get yourself ahead of the game simply by carving out your space first.