Instagram has surpassed Twitter with its number of average monthly users, and with visual content now king, if you only dabble in the occasional post here and there, it’s time for you to reconsider your Instagram strategy.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so Instagram presents the perfect opportunity to market your hotel in a subtle but seriously effective way. Instagram and the hospitality industry are a perfect pair.
While I may be in the social media-crazed millennial bracket of 20-36-year-olds, before heading to a new jaunt I always check out a hotel, bar or restaurant’s Instagram feed to get a feel for the place. If I don’t like what I see – or if a brand doesn’t have a presence on the platform – I find somewhere else.
Hoteliers need to hone this ability to sway purchasing power and utilise Instagram in their arsenal of marketing weaponry.
Tell a story
While Facebook is great for engagement and Twitter is a useful customer service tool, Instagram allows hoteliers to show off the aesthetic appeal of their property. Instagram allows you to control how the world views your property by enhancing its key features.
Fill your feed with images that tell a story, giving a glimpse into life at the hotel to provide potential guests with an idea of what their experience would be like.
Language should be friendly, engaging and personable to show brand personality. There’s nothing like pushy sales rhetoric to put off potential guests and push them towards the ‘unfollow’ button.
Be sure to include a mix of imagery encompassing the whole hotel experience including food, services and facilities as well as showcasing what’s on your doorstep so people can discover the local area too. This will help position your hotel as a destination of choice.
Scenic travel photos and food imagery tend to perform best so share these pictures to resonate with your audience.
Encourage guests to Instagram
In a world where we’re constantly saturated with marketing messages, the power of peer-to-peer marketing cannot be underestimated.
While potential guests will look at your feed for professional imagery, posts from previous guests are more authoritative as they’re likely to give a truer – and unfiltered – picture of life at your hotel.
The key here is inspiring and encouraging your guests to socially share images of their experience.
59 per cent of Instagram users are aged 18-29, while 33 per cent of those between 30 and 49 are on it. The older generation is now embracing the social platform too, with 18 per cent of 50-64-year-olds using Instagram.
Offer guests an incentive to showcase their experience by hosting competitions. For example, if your property boasts spectacular countryside views, you could call for guests to Instagram their bedroom view for a chance to win their next stay on the house.
Remember engagement is key
Instagram’s new algorithm means a user’s most-viewed and engaged-with pages appear higher up in their feed, so to stand out from the crowd, brands need to engage using strategic posts that call for feedback.
It may sound simple but when a user Instagrams your hotel, respond with a friendly comment to yield conversation, and link in with local businesses by reaching out and commenting on their imagery too.
Contribute to building your Instagram following by using captivating captions and reach the travel community by using some of the most popular travel hashtags such as #Wanderlust.
Think about creating your own hashtag too to enable guests to interact with your property directly. This also makes it much easier to find what users have posted while at the hotel.
Instagram for hotels is a lucrative marketing opportunity and is the perfect pairing for the hospitality industry. It makes business sense to utilise the tool and Freshfield can provide the tactics to help create an engaged following.
Give it the resources it deserves
While it may be free to set up an Instagram page, by creating a profile you’re committing to a presence on the platform.
It’s important not to do it half-heartedly. Maintaining a strong presence requires dedication of time and resources every day – this simply is the only way your hotel will reap the many business benefits Instagram offers.
At Freshfield we manage a number of Instagram pages on behalf of our clients. This includes shaping Instagram strategies and completing weekly content and engagement plans to drive campaigns forward.