Hoteliers: this is how you use Instagram effectively

NB: This is a viewpoint from Maddy Fuller, account manager at Blue Magnet Interactive.

Instagram has obviously taken the social sharing world by storm and, post-acquisition by Facebook, doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Many hoteliers have tried it out, but if you haven’t it really is time for you to determine how your properly can get with the picture, literally, and start taking advantage of the benefits that this social media marketing channel has to offer.

Pictures are worth a thousand words

Before I get into what you should be doing, I think it’s important to know why you should be doing it.

With all of the social media platforms placing such an emphasis on photo sharing, it is no wonder Instagram grew in popularity so quickly — it was the fastest social media network to hit 100 million monthly active users.

With 8,500 likes and 1,000 new comments a second, it is obvious that this social sharing network can be very influential. When Facebook purchased the photo sharing app for $1 billion in 2012, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:

“Providing the best photo-sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook, and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”

Let’s face it, we live in a visual world where judging a book by its cover is the norm. With Instagram, you have the ability to control how your “book” is judged.

Therefore, Instagram should be incorporated as a part of a hotel’s marketing strategy, working in unison with all channels and presenting a brand image that is appealing to your market. Yet, just like any hotel marketing campaign, Instagram requires a thoughtful strategy to ensure that it is used effectively.

Follow these tips to ensure that your hotel effectively utilizes Instagram to capture and engage with your target audience.

1. Snap your way to social media success

Where to begin? Start looking at relevant content that is already on “the gram,” which can help you generate your own unique ideas. Take a look at what your competitors are doing.

What photos are they posting and what kind of engagement are they getting? Additionally, search your hotel name using a hashtag to see if anyone has already tagged your hotel in a photo on Instagram.

For example, although the Emily Morgan Hotel (a DoubleTree by Hilton property) does not have its own Instagram account, several guests have documented their stay at the hotel and ensured that it was searchable by using the hashtag #emilymorganhotel in the caption.

It is important to keep in mind that the photos that your hotel shares should be completely unique and true to your property’s personality. If your hotel is in the middle of downtown Chicago your content is going to be completely different than a hotel that is in the midst of a mountain range.

As with all social media outlets, Instagram allows the hotel an opportunity to put a face to the hotel. Based on the content that you are sharing you can enhance your hip and trendy image or confirm your hotel as a peaceful, quiet retreat.

  • Extend your photo gallery – Consider Instagram another outlet for a hotel photo gallery. Highlight your amenities, but make sure to keep content entertaining and constantly changing to show the dynamic life at the hotel!

 

  • Stay trendy – Instagramming your hotel’s restaurant is another great way to stimulate connections. Not only will you be able to show off another aspect of your hotel, but taking pictures of food is all the rage! Stay on top of the trend by showing off the exceptional food art that your chef’s create.

  • Go behind the scenes – Giving your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your hotel will not only provide for interesting content, but will also humanize your hotel. It shows the hardworking people and dedicated staff that help make a guest’s stay as seamless as possible.

 

  • Highlight your local area – Engagement through area attractions is another excellent way to increase interest in your hotel and its surroundings. Pictures from around the town, exciting area attractions, and local hidden gems will highlight what your town has to offer and will provide an interesting visual area guide for followers. By showcasing things to do in your city, people may be more inclined to plan their next trip to visit you.
  • Use the users – Stay current with user-generated content. Your guests can be an excellent photo resource for you to tap into, as we saw above for the Emily Morgan. For instance, the image below was taken by a guest staying at Matakauri Lodge in New Zealand. Although this Instagram may not immediately lead to someone staying at the hotel, this picture is so inviting that it will stay in peoples’ minds and provide a likely lead for the future.
  • Interact with customers – Use Instagram to engage with customers by hosting an Instagram contest or asking users to vote on their favorite Instagram photo. W New York – Times Square recently took Instagramming to a new level by organizing an exhibit in their lobby with only Instagram pictures! Check out its great collection of photos.

As with any marketing strategy, staying active on Instagram is key! Instagram should be included as a regular update for social media and requires a proactive strategy as well as daily management.

Also, the hashtag is your friend! It will make your content searchable, creating a viral effect that will extend your reach among Instagram users.

The Instagram effect

Social media is a great way to reach your clients on a personal level, so it is important for hotels to stay current with the new social media trends.

Although you may not see an immediate increase in revenue, Instagram provides an outlet to enhance the brands personality and a way to better relate to and connect with guests.

Instagram should be factored into a hotels overall marketing campaign and with regular attention, interesting content, and a creative mindset, the marketing benefit will be seen in the long run.

NB: This is a viewpoint from Maddy Fuller, account manager at Blue Magnet Interactive.

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Viewpoints

About the Writer :: Viewpoints

A founding principle of tnooz was a diversity of viewpoints from across the spectrum. Viewpoints are articles by guest contributors from around the travel and hospitality industries. The views expressed are those of the author. and do not necessarily reflect those of the author's employer, or tnooz and its partners.

 

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  1. mayday.stanley@gmail.com

    Good tips, very useful and profound. There’s something else to be added to the list though, and i mean follower management. Good way to promote a hotel is to find as many people interested in travels as possible. It could be a famous blogger (the best option), or just a skilled voyager (not bad either) or just people who are somehow indicated as travelers. The most simple but the most time-consuming way is to add all the people based on their geolocation and travel-related hashtags/posts. Interested people will follow back, the rest can be rid of by an app like fast-unfollow.com, 5000 unfollowings per day is enough to keep a sustainable growth. I first tried this strategy in an oriental fabric store in a hotel hallway, and it worked perfectly. It’s an amazing feel when a customer from another part of the world comes specifically to your place.

     
  2. Hotel Managers Group

    Thanks for the tips

     
  3. Michael Kaye

    Thanks, Tony

     
  4. Michael Kaye

    How do you get a link from Instagram photos to your hotel’s website or app? Thanks

     
 
 

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