It is impossible to attend a conference these days without an in-depth session (or two) on best practices for social media marketing in travel.
So we thought it was time to go back to basics, with ten simple and relatively easy to implement tips on how to apply such techniques to the hotel industry - ideas that each hotelier can do every day and, hopefully, bring about some immediate return.
We put these together from our daily hands-on experience performing internet marketing for our own hotels.
1. Get a blog
Simple. Hoteliers can use a blog platform to post information on activities, attractions, dining, shopping, nightlife in the local area.
It allows a hotel to provide guests with suggestion on what else there is to do. Moreover it is a constant source of content that you can use to spread on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
2. Be proactive
Manage your online reputation, by inviting guests to post reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp and other review websites. Make sure you also respond to all reviews and that you manage your profile on these sites (description, pictures, contact info).
3. Ask guests to get involved
Invite guests to join your Facebook page (upload their emails), and ask them to post pictures of the hotel and their trip. Panoramia is also a great site to have guests post pictures, as it is also linked to Google Earth and Google Maps.
4. Be neighbourly
Link local companies and attractions in your Twitter and FaceBook posts by using "@" and their profile name. It will jump start your interaction online and grow your sphere of influence.
Prizes to get the job done. An incentive gets people moving. Give a free weekend in return for the best guest picture of the month …
6. Check out check-ins
Local check-in site like FourSquare or Gowalla can help you gain exposure and promote your food and beverage outlets.
Give a welcome cocktail when checking in online if staying at the hotel. Or a free upgrade based on availability (one per day, of course ;) ), or a complimentary late check-out.
7. Take One!
Find interesting and funny videos of your destination and add them to your YouTube Channel to create a sort of video tour guide. Compliment the "producer" and let them know you put it on your official channel.
Repurpose relevant content across your social networks. Your positive reviews should be posted on Twitter and Facebook, as well as your blog articles. Gather all your guest pics from Picasa, Flickr and Panoramia into one album on Facebook.
Get a young, internet savvy person on your team to work on social media. They are fast in picking this stuff and copying best practices from others. He or she will be more personal in speaking to your guests. This is very important.
10. Show your fun side
Be funny and original. A sense of humor works better then a formal and conventional approach. What is the last thing you really clicked on or read on Facebook? I am sure it was funny or original… it’s what works.
These simple steps will help you grow your fan base and create interaction with your guests. Engagement is not easy online, but these tips and best practices should help your hotel’s social media marketing strategy.
NB: More tips about social media marketing here.