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Social Media for Hotels

A Guide for Hotels Using Social Media

There are hotels, and then there are social media hotels—hotels using social media. Research shows that social media hotels experience significantly more website visitors than those not optimized for social, and web visitors lead to more direct commission-free reservations.

This hotel marketing guide about hotels and social media briefly covers each major social network with tips on using them to make your property a social media hotel. You don’t have to have a presence on all of them. Instead, pick a few that interest you and throw your energy into them. The more time and energy you invest into them, the ore your hotels using social media will get out of them.

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How to Become a Social Media Hotel

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Join 95% of All Social Media Hotels on Facebook

Facebook is king of hotels and social media, and is currently the best opportunity to directly improve your hotel’s online bookings with social. The key to Facebook is creating a compelling and interactive Facebook experience for your guests that encourages guest interaction. The most hotels have an interactive presence on Facebook that encourages guest interaction.

Facebook is a tool for hotels using social media, but it wasn’t designed for hotels. Putting your property’s rooms, photos, location and contact information on Facebook in an attractive way is critical to turning social media hotel visitors into social media hotel bookers. An optimized Facebook experience for your guests transforms your property from a hotel into a social media hotel, and helps improve your property's relevance within services like Facebook Nearby, a local directory for smartphones.

Engage with Guests

When guests take the time to become a fan and like your content or leave comments, go ahead and like their comment and respond with your own. Join the conversation and engage with your fans. They want to know what you think! When they feel like their voice is heard, they are much more likely to become a return visitor and to recommend you to their friends and family. Hotels and social media can work together to drive guest engagement.

When guests take the time to become a fan and like your content or leave comments, go ahead and like their comment and respond with your own. Join the conversation and engage with your fans. They want to know what you think! When they feel like their voice is heard, they are much more likely to become a return visitor and to recommend you to their friends and family. Hotels and social media can work together to drive guest engagement.

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Upload a Beautiful Cover Photo

Facebook’s new Timeline allows hotels to upload a cover photo. Use a high resolution, beautiful image of your hotel as a cover photo. This will encourage trust between hotels and social media and your guests and immediately give them a good impression of your property.

Update Frequently

Guests on Facebook don’t have a reason to follow you if you don’t publish updates. You don’t have to update every day, but social media hotels produce enough content to make guests glad they became fans. Once or twice a week is enough, as long as your updates are compelling. Good updates include information that tickles a guest’s curiosity--a practice of the best hotels using social media. They include questions that encourage responses and photos. Lots of photos! Include a photo in your updates at every opportunity, for photos drive traffic and interest.

Keep Guests Entertained

Studies show that the most successful Twitter users make their followers laugh. Humor is more effective at encouraging follower growth and hotel room bookings than self-promotion, content curating or even photos. Release your inner stand-up comedian and find ways to make your hotels and social media guests burst out into a belly laugh.

Keep Guests Engaged

Above all, engagement is key. Follow your guests before or after they follow you. Ask questions and respond to answers. Re-tweet your guests’ tweets if they are interesting. When guests send you private direct messages, respond. When they mention you, be sure to mention them, as long as they are saying something relevant and not spamming. Participating in the Twitter traditions such as ‘follow Friday’ or ‘mention Monday’ is also a good way to show your guests that you’re hip to the whole Twitter thing.

Google+ is Home to 63% of Hotels

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Google+ started with a burst of interest, and then petered off as people tried to figure out how to use it. Now, Google+ is growing steadily each month, with more and more people transferring their social lives from Facebook to Google+. It’s safe to say that Google+ is now an important player in the hotels and social media game, so social media hotels should have a presence. Additionally, Google has integrated Google+ with Google search, making it even more important for hotel SEO as a tool to encourage better search engine authority. The key to success with Google+ is to use it as a social blogging platform, not a micro-blogging platform like Twitter and, to a certain extent, Facebook. Hotels using social media, especially Google+, need to understand the best way to communicate with each channel's specific users.

Your posts will fall on deaf ears unless you are in people’s circles. Add a +1 button to your website. Inform people that you’re on Google+ and encourage them to add your hotel to their circles.

To sum up, use Google+ to write longer, opinionated pieces that encourage interaction from your followers. Ask questions, share opinions and, as always, share lots of photos. Be sure to make a Google+ Business Page and use it (instead of a Google+ Profile, which is personal) to engage with your guests and share information.

Join 17% of Hotels on Pinterest

The key to Pinterest is large, high-resolution, beautiful photography of your property. Marketers have long talked about how Pinterest is the social network for women, with 90% of all its users being women, but that percentage is slowly decreasing as men are warming up to the network. Pinterest is great at driving traffic to your website, but that traffic tends to be very low quality. Here are a few tips to increase the quality of traffic social media hotels enjoy from Pinterest.

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Before Your Promote, Engage

Create a Pinterest account and play with it for a month before submitting any of your own content. Follow users who produce content you enjoy. Create boards and re-pin pictures you find interesting. For example, make a ‘Food I Like’ board or a ‘Places I’d Like to Visit’ board, and re-pin photos that fit into those categories. The goal of this phase is to build a following before you start to promote.

After You Engage, Promote. Then Engage.

After a month of regular use, start to share your own property’s photography on Pinterest. The followers you have built over the previous month will start to share your content. Pinterest is a time commitment, but it can potentially pay off for hotels with large bursts of website traffic that lead to direct online reservations. The engagement never stops. Post photos, follow new people, and re-pin their photos continually.

13% of Social Media Hotels Use tumblr

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tumblr is a social blogging platform. It is designed for longer thoughts and richer content. If you don’t have a blog for your hotel yet, then using tumblr to power your blog is a good idea. Like Pinterest, tumblr is only effective if you have many followers already. If you don't have followers yet, you need to build some before tumblr becomes a useful tool. Start out by following other blogs you enjoy on travel, food and hospitality. ‘Re-blog’ their content to your blog.

The point of your tumblr blog is not to be a repository of just your content, but rather a repository of good, quality, highly interesting hospitality content. That is how you will gain followers. Create a ‘hotel photography’ tumblr blog or a ‘hotel restaurant food’ tumblr blog, and re-blog content you find on tumblr. As you follow tumblr blogs and re-blog their content, people will follow you back and re-blog your content.

After you have established yourself, start to promote your hotel. Blog photos, or write up great narratives about your area, or the story of your property. The followers you have gained will likely re-blog your content to their followers, who will re-blog it to their followers, and so on. The power of tumblr is the sheer number of people who are using the social blogging platform, and the ability for content to spread virally in a very short time. Build an audience, then promote.

Check-in to the 58% of Hotels on foursquare

foursquare is a unique social network for mobile phone users that allows guests to ‘check-in’ to your social media hotels on foursquare using their smart phone. This simply means that they are tagging themselves at your property on the social network (not that they are actually checking into a room at your property). It is a fun way guests can share their travels and adventures with friends and family.

foursquare has had a hard time of things over the years as they have struggled to find a place for themselves on the new social web.

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However, in the past few years the popularity of foursquare has continued to grow, with more and more people using foursquare to check in to locations with the hope of finding a promotion. The reason foursquare can be beneficial for your property is that guests may choose to stay at your hotel instead of another one if they see that you are currently running a foursquare promotion.

Here’s what you need to know to use foursquare to fill your rooms:

Add Detailed Property Information

People are more inclined to ‘check-in’ to a listing on foursquare that has lots of information—photos and descriptions. Claim your foursquare listing by going to the website and completing the claim process. Then, edit your listing as you like.

Create Promotions

Create promotions specifically for foursquare users. Examples could be, ‘Check-in 3 days in a row and get 10% off a meal in our restaurant’ and so on. Use your imagination and come up with something clever that will encourage mobile travelers to choose your hotel over others.

Engagement is Not Such a Big Deal on foursquare

Unlike other social networks, you don’t need to worry about chatting directly with guests on foursquare. Just keep your profile up-to-date, keep a steady stream of promotions rolling out and respond directly to negative ‘tips’, if guests leave any.

We at buuteeq are happy to answer any questions you have about becoming a social media hotel. Check out some of our successful social media hotels in our live gallery and feel free to contact us at any time using the information below.

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