7 Instagram Tips For Independent Hotels
Your hotel, of course, has a polished presence on Instagram.
Now boasting more than a billion monthly actives, the visuals-first platform is the third-largest social network in the world (surpassed by only Facebook and YouTube) and a key component in a comprehensive hospitality digital marketing strategy.
Still, as with all facets of marketing, there are opportunities for hotel teams to evolve and advance their social outreach.
Here are seven tips that can help independent hotels (and others) take their Instagram game to the next level.
1. Showcase your unique traits.
While some travelers appreciate the predictability of chain establishments, many seek a special place to stay, and a hotel’s social channels are often the first opportunity to showcase what makes it unique.
Images of unique décor and signature architectural elements are a natural fit for an Instagram feed, either as the focal point or as a backdrop. For example, if your hotel has mosaic tile archways throughout the lobby, post the shots and become “the place with the beautiful mosaic archways.” Unsure what the average traveler finds interesting about your property? Check out the photos guests have posted recently. (More on that in tip #3.)
2. Highlight area attractions.
Your locale is unique, be it for the cuisine, the geography, the proximity to frequently visited places, or something else.
By featuring what makes your community special, you’re giving people fresh reasons to visit and stay at your hotel. Some marketing teams form partnerships with other area establishments to drive user-generated content that benefits both businesses.
3. Learn from your guests.
One of the best ways to attract and satisfy new guests is to learn what previous guests loved, and others maybe didn’t like so much.
Make it a habit to locate your hotel on Instagram’s “Places” tab and monitor the “Top Posts” for your location. Understanding what guests find Insta-worthy can help marketing teams customize content and highlight those elements at the heart of past positive guest experiences. Find something negative? Take it in stride and talk with the team about where you might improve.
4. Leverage user-generated content.
There are multiple forms of user-generated content (UGC), including guest photos, contest images and recommendations/reviews. Each format has the potential to be leveraged as an effective marketing medium.
Some words of caution, though. If you’re re-posting guest photos on your hotel’s Instagram page, you should always get their permission first. Not only is this common courtesy, it offers legal cover. Plus, in many cases, when people find out you think enough of their shots to re-post them, they’ll love you for it and brag to whoever will listen, potentially resulting in more followers.
5. Craft branded hashtags.
Using hashtags has been shown to increase engagement, but how confident are you that your team is using them correctly, consistently, and to maximum effect?
There are two types of hashtags; generic and branded. Generic hashtags are unspecific and widely used. There are tens of millions of posts that include #wanderlust, for example.
You’re probably using some of these currently, and that’s fine, but be sure to additionally create property-specific or campaign-specific tags to help your team track feedback and grow the conversation. For example, rather than using a generic tag such as #travel, consider branded hashtag such as #TravelToPropertyName.
Don’t forget to share your custom hashtags with guests, and encourage travelers to weave them into their own posts.
6. Include geotags.
An Instagram geotag is a record of the latitude and longitude of your current location when you post a photo. This information is collected by the GPS in your mobile device and is only accessible to Instagram if you grant permission.
The use of geotags effect the manner and frequency your photos appear in Instagram’s location feed and local search results, meaning more people will find you, often when they need you most. Some stats suggest the use of geotags can increase engagement as much as 79%.
7. Embrace Instagram Stories.
Just a couple years old, Instagram Stories is a feature that allows you to post photos and videos that automatically disappear after 24 hours. Though the idea may have been “borrowed” from Snapchat, it was done so because “Stories” have become a refreshing departure from the static images and scrolling video users are used to seeing in their feed.
From a marketing perspective, “Stories” can be used for;
- Offering limited-time discounts
- Showcasing “behind-the-scenes” content
- Getting follower feedback in the form of follower votes
- Posting impromptu photos or videos of guest experiences (with their permission, of course)
- Highlight daily specials at eateries and outlets
- Promote and showcase special events
Digital marketing is an evolving animal, as is the manner in which marketers use the tools of digital marketing, such as Instagram. With new features being introduced constantly, it’s important to stay on top of the latest updates.
Work closely alongside your trusted digital marketing partners to understand and apply the latest tricks and trends, and to be sure your property is a leader in crafting creative, engaging and – most importantly – productive posts.