Visual storytelling is one of the most valuable strategies for today’s hotel marketer because most humans (40-65%) tend to learn things visually. It’s really no surprise that 70% of marketers have increased their use of visuals in social media marketing. Right now, one of the most popular visual social media platforms is Instagram, and Instagram statistics are enough to make you want to start an Instagram account yesterday.
Instagram has over 200 million monthly active users, and of those users, 41% are between the ages of 16-24. It’s just another great way to connect with millennial travelers, as 30% of U.S. teens consider Instagram the most important social network (Twitter at 27% and Facebook at 23%). The range and spread of Instagram’s content is mind-boggling as there are an average of 60 million photos posted per day! One reason for the popularity of this social media platform is likely due to our craving for visuals.
If your hotel wants to utilize this exciting new platform, here are some DOs and DON’Ts to get you started.
Do post photos that represent your hotel’s story. Instagram is a helpful platform to display your hotel’s unique services and amenities to travel shoppers. Post a wide variety of photos and videos that speak to travel shoppers, excite them with all sorts of content ranging from food photos to majestic sceneries. Be unique and experiment with your photo content as it will appear on your online webpage collage and mobile Instagram feed.
Do create contests for followers. Instagram contests are a great way to build followers, and keep previous ones engaged. By having followers post photos and tagging your hotel’s handle and a unique contest hashtag, you can create widespread distribution of your hotel’s content.
Do consider creating your own unique hashtags. Creating your own unique hotel hashtag is a great way to utilize user-generated content (UGC). Using unique hashtags allow your guests to act as brand ambassadors to their followers. Plus, your hotel can use these photos to tell your story online through the use of UGC galleries.
Do feature your guests in photos. Featuring your hotel’s guests in your Instagram photos displays a more realistic and engaging experience to travel shoppers. Featuring guests having fun can help showcase your hotel’s amenities. Including guests in your Instagram photos can also be used to showcase the exciting events that your hotel hosts. It also builds an online relationship with them by including their pictures on your hotel’s Instagram page.
Do post about holidays and relevant events. During the holiday season, lots of Instagram users will be posting holiday season photos and using hashtags such as #christmas, #happyhanukah, or #merrykwanzaa. That’s a great time for your hotel to post relevant holiday content and be noticed by millions of people. By using applicable hashtags, your hotel can be a part of the festive spirit of the holidays. If your hotel dresses up for the holidays, post photos on Instagram and wish your followers a happy holiday!
Don’t make an account and then post infrequently/not at all. Nothing looks worse than making an Instagram page and then forgetting to post often or not at all. Posting pictures regularly helps attract more followers and garners prospective guests for your hotel. Building a large base of followers is an effective and fun way to tell your story to thousands of travel shoppers worldwide! If you have trouble finding time to post, consider recruiting certain hotel staff to participate in your Instagram posts as they may likely have some Instagram experience!
Don’t forget to share user-generated content (UGC). Sharing or “regram-ing” guest photos is an excellent way to add more content to your hotel’s Instagram story. Tag the guests handles in your photos so they know you regram-ed it, and thank them for taking such great photos. These are often some of your best customers and showing them your appreciation on Instagram is a great way to foster meaningful online customer relationships.
Don’t just post photos of your hotel. Yes, your rooms are nice and your pool is great, but there is more to your story than these amenities. Your staff members are unique to your story and featuring them is an excellent idea to show the value of your hotel’s team. Posting local scenery and historical photos are also a great addition to your online story. There are many photos asides from the hotel’s amenities that appeal to travel shoppers, and adding them in makes your hotel stand out online.
Don’t forget to post about local events. Local events are a great way for your hotel to get involved in the spotlight and excitement. Hashtagging the event and posting relevant photos is an excellent method of informing followers of what’s happening locally but also is an opportunity to attract more followers by joining in on the visual conversation.
Don’t forget to use filters. Instagram filters are featured on the app, and allow the user to alter the picture into a professional-looking snapshot. Filters are a great way to enhance photos’ quality. You could think of it as storytelling enrichment! It’s another great way to add more to your brand’s value because it improves your hotel’s online image.
There’s no doubt that Instagram is a great way to market your hotel and its unique story, and right now is the best time to start because Instagram is currently the fastest growing social network. Follow these DOs and DON’Ts to get started on Instagram today!