Getting Your Hotel on the Social Map.

The powerful thing about hashtags is that absolutely anyone can use them.

The hospitality industry is a very old one. There have been hotels, inns, bed & breakfast establishments, and other hospitality locations for as long as weary travelers have needed a place to rest their heads. Because it is such an old industry, hospitality has historically been slow to catch up to modern marketing practices, in particular social media.
Although it is commonly accepted these days that social media and the Internet are a crucial component of any marketing campaign, it can be a daunting task to truly get a handle on the latest digital marketing techniques and practices.

The rise of user-driven services like Airbnb should be ample proof to any hospitality business that the landscape truly has changed. With their disruptive, ground-level approach to vacation rentals, Airbnb has successfully gained millions of loyal clients in practically no time at all.

How did they do it, though? The answer is simple. They’re savvy to today’s digital marketing landscape, and they expertly harnessed the power of social media to rise to the top. There’s no reason that a traditional hotel can’t take a page from their book and reap the rewards.

Here are some accepted, proven tactics for getting your hotel on the social map. Nothing is ever 100% certain, but these strategies have worked time and again to let businesses in all industries put themselves in the public eye. The common concept in all of these is to build up a loyal audience of fans who will talk about you, and simultaneously equip them to reach a large number of their friends and followers. After all, your hotel is a great place to stay. Why shouldn’t people want to spread the news?

#Hotel #Hashtag
If you’re already an avid Instagram or Twitter user, you’re probably already well aware of the power of hashtags. If not, think of them as a sort of bookmark. Tag a post with a hashtag, and the post instantly becomes part of a list of posts using the same one.

The powerful thing about hashtags is that absolutely anyone can use them. Think up a hashtag that encapsulates what makes your hotel great. For example, a swanky boutique hotel in Bayswater, London might want to use something like #bayswaterluxury.

Post a few images of your beautiful rooms and grounds with the hashtag, and encourage others to share their own. You can even hold a contest and give out a prize to the best image that uses your hashtag. Keep exercising best social marketing practices, and soon you’ll see more and more images popping up with your hashtag, all showing your hotel or ideas related to it, and all promoting your brand. The images can often be displayed on your own website or promotional materials, further encouraging participation from the people who matter most: your customers.

Special Occasions, Special Content

Is your hotel the site of a particularly interesting convention or conference? Does it lay at the heart of an annual conference or festival? Did you just redecorate your lobby?

Encourage your online community to share and discuss these things by celebrating them yourself. Share lots of images and posts about whatever is going on, and be sure to include a unique hashtag that still ties back to your brand. Any sort of event is a perfect opportunity to give your social presence a boost.
As always, congratulate, promote, and share the best images that come from your community. People thrive on success and recognition, and providing it will inspire them to keep producing amazing, genuine content about your establishment.

Pay Attention to Community Content

Growing your audience is a truly satisfying thing. It’s nothing short of a delight to see more and more images, posts, and videos appear, all starring your beloved business.

What do you do with that wonderful stream of content once it’s finally established?

Look at it, of course. Pay attention to it!
Your online community is an incredibly useful microcosm of your customer base as a whole. If you notice a particular spot, or dish, or event, or whatever else cropping up over and over, it’s a fair bet that you’ve found what your customers see in you. You can use this data to capitalize on your strengths, shore up your weakness, and attract new clientele by leaning on the aspects of your business that most speak to your customers.

Goals and Tracking

Social media success can be a very nebulous thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Social reach can be measured in a number of ways. Early on, it may be best to simply shoot for a target number of posts each week or month.

Once you or your marketing team are in the swing of it, it may be time to start tracking things like interactions, post reach, shares, and followers. Get a handle on your monthly average for all of these numbers. That way when you run a new campaign, you have a benchmark against which to measure it.

Over time, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t in your unique corner of the social media space. It’s a combination of the nature of your business, the identity of your clientele, and the style and frequency of your own postings. There is success to be found in the social space for any sort of business, especially one so picturesque and passion-inspiring as hotels and hospitality. Seek out expert advice and just keep at it, and you’ll find the path that works for you.

Shaz Memon, creative director at Digimax. Shaz has been tutoring professionals in the creative industry since he was 18, and has gone on to win multiple awards for his work. Regarded as one of the most creative designers in the industry today, Shaz works with leading names such as BBC, FHM, Barclays.

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