TMD Partner Edition: 10 Tips for Optimizing Social Media at Hotels

Millennium Biltmore | Photo courtesy of Michael Locke, Flickr

Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor have become essential components of most hotel marketing plans. Improve your social media presence by implementing these tactics.

1. Develop a consistent publishing cadence

To foster an engaged community, it’s essential to share content on a regular basis. Create and adhere to a communications schedule for your social channels. Ideally, your posting cadence should include a few tweets each day, and at least one but no more than two Facebook posts daily. Focus tweets between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., the peak activity hours on Twitter. Don’t neglect the weekend – according to a study from Buddy Media, weekend posts get 69% higher interaction than weekday posts on Facebook.

2. Showcase your hotel on Instagram

Instagram offers an opportunity to showcase your hotel through authentic images in real-time, capturing more intimate moments than stock photography. Be sure to share images not only of your hotel, but of other local gems. To maximize the reach of your Instagram content, tag photos with popular hashtags like #nofilter and #discoverLA.

3. Monitor activity on property

Enhance the guest experience by monitoring social media activity of guests while on property. In particular, keep an eye on Foursquare and Facebook check-ins, tweets and Instagram photos.

Your guests’ social feedback can help you improve their stay in real time. For example, if a guest tweets that they enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies at your front desk, you can arrange for them to receive a cookie to take home at check-out. And if a guest expresses dissatisfaction with their stay, you can apologize and correct the errors on the spot.

4. Develop a strategy for repurposing content

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel to create compelling social media content. Whenever possible, streamline your efforts by repurposing content from other marketing activities. For example, press coverage about your property can be shared via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Snippets from your web and newsletter content can also provide social media fodder.

Create a process to share your social media content across multiple platforms. After sharing a photo via Instagram, tweet the link and share the photo on Facebook. When posting a video to YouTube, share the link via Facebook and Twitter. And when posting content to Facebook, consider shortening the copy for use as a tweet.

5. Create a Pinterest account for your property

Pinterest is an essential platform to reach women, who are more likely than men to book travel. Create boards not only to showcase your property, but to showcase local gems and content that fits your target guest’s lifestyle. Potential board topics include things to do nearby, style, travel inspiration, weddings and images of your hotel.

To build a community, focus on two-way engagement. Repin, like and comment on relevant pins from potential guests.

6. Develop an influencer program

Instead of exclusively hosting traditional media on your property, consider hosting social media influencers as well. A highly-engaged social media influencer can generate interest in your property by sharing content about their stay via their blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. When hosting an influential social media user on your property, be clear about your expectations.

To identify and engage with influencers, consider offering a targeted Klout perk. Alternatively, you can search for influencers in certain categories on WeFollow. You can develop a relationship with these potential ambassadors over time by engaging with them on social media – responding to tweets or retweeting, and liking or commenting on Pinterest pins and Facebook posts.

7. Incentivize on-property social sharing

Encourage your guests to share their experiences via social media. Offer discounts or freebies to guests who check in via social media or share content with your handle or hashtag. For example, you can offer a free drink at the hotel bar to guests who show the bartender proof that they’ve checked in.

8. Develop a crisis communications plan

Your social media channels are your first line of defense in a crisis situation. When issues arise, consumers often share the news socially before news breaks via traditional media. All social channels should be monitored consistently – including evenings and weekends – to ensure that any issues are identified and addressed immediately.

Social media should be a key component of your property’s crisis communications plan. Make sure you have a process in place to work with your legal and marketing teams to create and disseminate crisis response messaging via social media.

9. Reward your community

Encourage and thank your social community by offering exclusive rewards. Consider offering Facebook deals or Foursquare check-in deals, or offer a specific promo code via social media. You can also drive email acquisition by creating a sweepstakes to win a stay at your property. If using Facebook, be sure to hold the sweepstakes on a dedicated Facebook tab to adhere to Facebook’s stringent terms and conditions. Using a third-party service like Woobox or Wildfire to host your sweepstakes will help to ensure your promotion meets Facebook’s guidelines.

10. Integrate a social component to your website and e-communications

Your web visitors and newsletter subscribers are ideal candidates to serve as social media brand advocates. Include social media icons in your e-communications and on your website to drive guests and prospects to your social media channels. Encourage subscribers and web visitors to follow your social media properties by offering an incentive, like a sweepstakes or discount, to social followers.

For More Information

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board connects with locals, domestic travelers and international visitors through nearly 20 social media channels. The official Los Angeles Facebook page reaches a community of more than one million people with a shared passion for LA. You can also find LA Tourism on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Join the conversation by tagging #discoverLA.

For more information or to discuss social media partnership opportunities with LA Tourism, contact our Director of Digital Marketing, Bill Karz ([email protected]).