What’s one effective way to stay in touch with your past guests, build brand awareness, and showcase what makes your property unique? Your social media strategy can work toward all of these goals, and you don’t even need a massive budget to do it. But social media is more complex that it might seem at first glance. Hotels that succeed on social media have a detailed strategy, post on a specific schedule, and adhere to brand guidelines and content pillars. Wondering where to start? In this article, we’ll share 20 social media strategies that hoteliers like you can incorporate into your broader marketing plans to increase brand awareness and build loyalty.
Top Social Media Platforms for Hotels
Which channels should your social media strategy include? When you’re starting out, it’s best to pick one or two platforms and focus on executing your strategies well, rather than trying to be visible everywhere but lacking the resources to respond to comments and engage with your community. Many hotels find success with Instagram due to its preference for visual content, but the platforms that make the most sense for your property will be the ones that align with your target guests. Which platforms should you consider?
Instagram: With over 2 billion monthly active users globally, and 143 million in the United states, Instagram is one of the world’s largest social media platforms. Instagram’s content skews visual – photos and videos are the bread and butter of this platform.
Facebook: One of the first social media platforms, Facebook’s popularity has plateaued in recent years, but the platform still has nearly 3 billion monthly active users. In addition to posting text, photos, and videos on Facebook, you can also share links to your website or blog on Facebook, helping to expand the reach of your direct marketing channels.
Twitter: Between 330 and 350 million people use Twitter each month, many of them outside the US, making Twitter a popular platform but not as widely used as Instagram or Facebook. Twitter posts were limited to 140 characters at first, then 280 characters, and in early 2023 Twitter started allowing users to post longer Tweets.
TikTok: The fastest growing social media platform, TikTok went from obscurity to omnipresent between 2017 and 2020. Today the platform has over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally. TikTok’s main content medium is video: users post short videos, often set to music or with a voiceover.
YouTube: YouTube is another video-based social media platform, and it’s the second-most visited website in the world, with 2.5 monthly active users. Content on YouTube ranges from vlogs to livestreams and music videos to feature films.
LinkedIn: With nearly 1 billion registered users, LinkedIn is a business-focused social media platform. You can find job postings, company profiles, and networking opportunities on this site, and brands can leverage LinkedIn for employee marketing, talent acquisition, and PR, in addition to advertising to an audience of professionals.
Tripadvisor: Known as one of the world’s biggest review platforms, Tripadvisor is not necessarily a social media platform, but it’s an important brand touchpoint for hotels. Past guests share their honest experiences, and potential guests go to Tripadvisor for inspiration and information during the booking process. Tripadvisor.com gets nearly 200 million visits each month.
20 Social Media Strategies for Hotels
Now that you’re familiar with the most popular social media platforms, let’s dive into some exciting strategies that will help you maximize your presence and engagement on your social channels.
- Create a social media content calendar: Plan and schedule your social media posts in advance to maintain consistency and ensure a regular flow of engaging content. Your content calendar can be a physical calendar or a digital calendar like Google Calendar, or you can use a spreadsheet to plan themes and posts for each day. You can get inspiration from Twitter’s Marketing Calendar to get a sneak peek into the topics that will be trending every month.
- Share captivating visual content: Post high-quality photos and videos of your hotel's facilities, rooms, amenities, and local attractions to attract and engage potential guests. You can create content yourself, using your own smartphone camera, or you can work with professional photographers, videographers, or content creators to produce top-tier visuals to share on your page. Montage Laguna Beach shares some eye-catching content like this video.
- Run contests and giveaways: Encourage follower growth and engagement by organizing contests, giveaways, and photo contests where guests can win prizes or exclusive discounts. You can organize giveaways with your own account, by awarding a free stay or a credit to the winner, or you can join forces with complementary brands for a contest that promotes your brands jointly. Co-branded giveaways can get more engagement since they pull from multiple follower bases. Check out this example from Hotels.com on TikTok or this co-branded example from Mauna Lani Hawaii on Instagram.
- Respond promptly: Monitor your social media channels closely and respond promptly to guest inquiries, comments, and reviews to demonstrate excellent customer service. Large hotel brands might have a dedicated team for social media response and reputation management, while smaller hotels might task a marketing or loyalty team member with social media responses. On Twitter, Marriott uses a special account, Marriott Bonvoy Assist, to quickly respond to guest comments, 24/7.
- Use influencer marketing: Collaborate with social media influencers or travel bloggers to promote your hotel and reach a wider audience. Influencers are active on many social platforms, but hotels can get the best traction with content like photos and videos that influencers post on Instagram and Youtube. Soneva Jani, a luxury resort in the Maldives, partnered with Youtubers Kara & Nate to show off an overwater villa, and the video has gotten over 8 million views!
- User-generated content: Encourage guests to share their experiences and photos using a branded hashtag. Repost and give credit to the best user-generated content to foster a sense of community. Check out this example of user-generated content that Pendry Chicago reshared in their own Instagram feed.
- Provide exclusive offers: Offer special promotions and exclusive discounts to your social media followers to encourage direct bookings and create a sense of loyalty. Hyatt, for example, promoted a recent sale on their Instagram page.
- Share local recommendations: Provide recommendations for local attractions, restaurants, and events to help guests make the most of their stay, like Marriott did in this TikTok. Travelers often head to social media to find inspiration and to make plans for upcoming trips – over half of users say they search online when planning travel, and 16% say they turn to celebrity or influencer social media accounts.
- Live video tours: Conduct live video tours of your hotel to give potential guests a virtual experience of your property and answer their questions in real-time. Instagram and YouTube allow you to share “live” content – your video gets uploaded in real-time, and users can ask questions and post comments for a lively conversation.
- Share behind-the-scenes content: Give guests a glimpse into your hotel's operations by sharing behind-the-scenes content, such as staff interviews or a day in the life of your hotel. Airbnb frequently shares content that features their hosts, like this TikTok. While Airbnb hosts aren’t technically Airbnb employees, the videos do show some interesting behind-the-scenes footage that a guest wouldn’t normally see.
- Run social media ads: Utilize targeted social media advertising to reach specific demographics or geographical areas and promote your hotel's offerings. All the big social platforms have an advertising product, and they offer very specific targeting options that help you put your brand in front of people most likely to book.
- Collaborate with local businesses: Partner with local businesses, such as spas, restaurants, or tour operators, to offer joint promotions and cross-promote each other on social media, like The Loutrel did in this Instagram post. Hotels can also find success with this strategy by promoting on-site outlets, like restaurants, bars, or retail.
- Conduct Q&A sessions: Host live question and answer sessions on social media platforms to address common queries, provide travel tips, and engage with your audience. W Hotels puts their own spin on the Q&A session idea with their Pillow Talk series, which they share on Facebook. In this video series, W Hotels interviews a celebrity about their travel preferences and favorite W property – while also dishing out some hot takes.
- Highlight guest testimonials: Share positive guest reviews and testimonials on your social media platforms to build trust and credibility among potential guests. Since your hotel already collects reviews on Tripadvisor, Google, and OTAs, you can easily reshare reviews on your social media channels to reiterate what makes your property unique and desirable.
- Celebrate special occasions: Recognize and celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries of guests, by sending personalized messages or offering small surprises during their stay. Reposting user-generated content, like this post from 1 Hotel South Beach, that shows a special moment is another way to infuse positive energy into your profile and show potential guests that your hotel is a great place to celebrate their special occasion.
- Share local events: Keep your guests informed about upcoming local events, festivals, or concerts happening near your hotel to enhance their experience. The Little Nell in Aspen shared this example on Instagram, letting potential and future guests know about their Ride + Dine event series.
- Provide travel tips: Share useful travel tips, packing hacks, or destination guides on your social media platforms to position your hotel as a valuable resource for travelers. Marriott, for instance, got over 100,000 views on a TikTok video that explained how to transfer points from one member to another.
- Show employee spotlights: Highlight your staff members and their stories to create a personal connection with your audience and showcase the human side of your hotel or brand. LinkedIn is a popular platform on which to share employee spotlights; brands like Marriott often feature interviews or “day in the life” style blogs or videos that show prospective employees what it’s like to work for the company. Not only does this type of content help to attract talent, but it also builds your brand’s reputation as a company that treats employees well.
- Conduct polls and surveys: Engage your audience by conducting polls and surveys to gather feedback, opinions, and preferences, helping you tailor your services to meet guest expectations. Twitter and Instagram have built-in poll features, or you can use any platform to post content that asks for engagement in the comments.
- Monitor and respond to reviews: Regularly monitor online review platforms and respond promptly and professionally to both positive and negative reviews to show your commitment to guest satisfaction. Tripadvisor is where many hotels collect and respond to reviews, such as Hotel Hive in Washington, D.C.
Which social media strategy will you try first? With minimal budget and a little creativity, you can take your social media profiles to the next level while growing your follower base, increasing engagement, and building awareness and loyalty for your brand.
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Rising Competition Across Distribution Channels and Metasearch Make Social Attractive
Social media marketing has become a critical aspect for hotel marketers due to various factors shaping the hospitality industry today. Rising customer acquisition costs have forced hoteliers to seek cost-effective methods to reach potential guests and secure bookings. Saturated demand channels like OTAs and metasearch platforms often charge high commissions, leading hotels to focus on building their online presence through social media channels to attract direct bookings.
The new way travelers discover destinations revolves around social media platforms. Millennials and potential guests now turn to these networks to find travel inspiration, destinations, and hotels that align with their preferences. Social media accounts and influencers play a significant role in shaping travelers' choices as they curate engaging content and leverage user-generated content through hashtags.
Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity for hotel marketers to connect with their target audience through messaging that resonates with potential customers. They can streamline their marketing campaigns by tailoring content to appeal to specific demographics and utilizing algorithms to reach a broader audience.
Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for hoteliers to amplify their brand awareness. By partnering with influencers and travel bloggers, hotels can showcase their guest experience, special offers, and unique amenities to attract new customers.
Live videos and video content on platforms like TikTok and reels enhance the hotel's social media presence and allow them to engage with active users. User-generated content, such as guest testimonials and experiences, further boost brand awareness and contribute to higher conversions.
A well-crafted social media marketing strategy can help hotel brands improve their rankings on search engines through SEO optimization. It allows hotel marketers to showcase the best of their properties, creating a competitive advantage in the hotel industry.
By maintaining a strong social media presence and engaging with potential customers through social networks, hotels can attract new guests and retain existing ones. This digital marketing approach serves as a valuable marketing tool to reach a broader audience and drive direct bookings to the hotel website.
To succeed in social media campaigns, hotel marketers need to establish partnerships with influencers and bloggers, ensuring their marketing plan aligns with the preferences of their target audience. By curating compelling content and utilizing hashtags effectively, hotels can increase their online visibility and attract potential customers.
Social media marketing has become a powerful and indispensable tool for the hotel industry. It allows hoteliers to reach potential guests, engage with influencers, and leverage user-generated content to enhance brand awareness and attract new customers. By focusing on their social media presence, hotels can streamline their marketing efforts, build a loyal customer base, and thrive in the competitive landscape of the travel industry.