Social media is an element of almost every luxury hotel’s marketing strategy.
If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, we’re just going to assume that you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years. Or maybe somewhere without wifi.
Now that there’s a high chance your competitors will all be sharing content, ads and viral videos (that last one’s slightly less likely) across a range of social media channels, it’s more important than ever that hotel brands invest more time and effort into their marketing strategy to target potential customers using these platforms. You need targeted tactics, specific goals and a killer brand image if you’re going to stand out and get remembered for your presence on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even channels like Pinterest or Snapchat.
We’ve used our specialist experience working in the luxury travel industry to put together this ultimate guide to luxury hotel social media marketing.
Understanding your target audience is an essential part of any kind of marketing strategy. When it comes to social media, it’s important to get even more specific so that you get to know the customer following on each of the platforms you use and can identify the personas that make up these groups.
There is a ton of existing data out there already about the demographics that make up the users of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so it’s a good idea to start there to get an idea of which kinds of customers are most likely to be interacting with your different profiles. If you have a business account on these kinds of sites then you should be able to access more specific data about the genders, ages, locations and even professions of your audience on each social media platform, which can help to paint an even clearer picture.
For every social media channel you use to market your luxury or boutique hotel, compile the data you have collected to get an idea of the kinds of customers who are finding and interacting with each of your profiles. Not only does this mean that you can tailor the content you share to be more relevant, which will increase engagement, but you can also create more targeted marketing campaigns but appealing specifically to the potential customers you know are viewing your profile.
The key to successful social media marketing strategies is detailed planning.
It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve spent on graphics or photos or paid advertising campaigns; if you haven’t got a structured, targeted marketing strategy for your social media channels then all your hard work won’t amount to much.
We’re not just talking about having a regular post schedule for things like Facebook and Instagram, although this is a very important factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. We’re talking about having specific marketing goals for each channel, a clear idea of what each post is trying to achieve, an overall view of how your social media marketing contributes to your overall marketing strategy, and a plan that stretches forward at least three months into the future.
Last-minute post ideas always flop. Don’t risk it.
When you’re beginning your luxury hotel social media marketing plan for world domination strategy, make sure you sit down and draw up detailed plans. It might be time-consuming at the start, but it takes away a lot of the pressure once you get into it, gives an accurate way of measuring success, and will make it easier to identify which approaches are most effective and which might need to go back to the drawing board.
It’s not enough to just review your hotel’s overall business goals and try to contribute to reaching these with social media posts. Every time you share a post you should have a specific aim in mind and should be able to measure how successfully you have met that goal.
Establishing specific goals for each of your social media platforms is an essential part of drawing up a detailed marketing strategy.
The best way to establish attainable goals and create social media posts that target these is to first go back to the audience data you have on the following of each of your hotel’s social media profiles. Identify the key customer personas that make up your following, decide what it is they are looking for from a luxury hotel or what problem your hotel services will solve for them, and decide on the best way to target these pain points and desires.
For example, your Instagram following may be made up of three general types of customers. One of these might be women in the 45-60 year age bracket who generally stay at luxury hotels for short breaks and value bespoke service, high-end decor and an exclusive atmosphere.
You might decide that you want to increase the number of customers that fit this demographic who come and stay at your hotel over the next three months. To do this, you could plan a series of targeted Instagram posts that highlight the exclusive nature and bespoke features of your hotel to appeal specifically to these audience personas, either by sharing photos or creating videos and Instagram stories.
This is also a good example of a specific goal because it has a time frame attached, making it easier to measure.
Another piece of advice that leads on from getting to know the audience of each social media channel is tailoring the posts you share from each profile depending on who you know is going to see them. The most successful hotel social media accounts are ones that share content their followers are genuinely interested in and can get useful advice, information or recommendations from, and the best way to ensure you’re doing this is to understand what your followers want to see.
Of course, creating entirely new, regular content for multiple different social media accounts is a mammoth task. We’re not saying that you need unique posts for each of your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter profiles, but you shouldn’t just share the exact same thing on every platform every time.
Instead, think about the ways you can tweak the text or images in your content so that they appeal more to the target audience of each channel. This might take a bit of forward planning, but means your engagement rates are likely to be much higher than if you didn’t bother.
Another way to maximise the engagement that your hotel social media marketing content gets is to ensure that you’re offering unique and genuinely valuable insight. There’s no faster way to lose followers and cultivate a forgettable brand image than sharing the same ol’ posts like everyone else.
Bland social media content is as good as no social media content. Honestly.
As a luxury hotel brand, you’re already in a niche area of the travel industry that gives you a more specific focus for the marketing content you share. You need to zoom in even further and carve out a specific space where you are sharing insight, advice and ideas that are incredibly valuable to your specific target audience.
For example, if you’re a luxury hotel that caters to a lot of business travellers, steer clear of making generic content talking about the top attractions around your location. Instead, write blog posts or make videos sharing advice for the best way to get the most out of a business trip, recommending the best suitcases for 2 days of travel, or even gather recommendations from customers on the best way to turn travelling for work into a mini-holiday.
Instagram is the clear winner for a social media platform that champions images and videos, but you should be focusing on sharing eye-catching visuals across all platforms. In luxury hotel marketing a key tactic for attracting more customers and generating more business is tapping into people’s emotional responses and getting them to imagine what it’s like to stay with your brand, and the best way to do this is with stunning visuals.
Not all platforms will showcase images as well as others, but it’s still worth dedicating some time and resources to taking beautiful photos and videos of your lobby, bedrooms, bar, restaurant and exterior to give potential customers an excellent idea of what the experience of staying at your hotel is really like. You can really go to town with these if your brand has an Instagram account, but Facebook ads and even YouTube videos can both also be effective.
Influencer marketing is a big new trend in travel and hospitality at the moment, and luxury hotels can seriously benefit from hopping on the bandwagon and partnering with online personalities who have a following that is likely to be interested in your brand.
Luxury hotels can collaborate with influencers in a range of ways. They can offer free trips in exchange for good publicity, they can partner for a series of social media campaigns promoting their brand, or they can build a partnership with an influencer who has their own product or business that compliments what the hotel offers.
All of these are great strategies for increasing the reach of your hotel’s social media content, increasing bookings and boosting your brand image through affiliation with popular influencers or celebrities.
Paid social media marketing works by investing part of your marketing budget into ads that will be shown to users who are not currently following your accounts. It’s a great way to grow your following and increase sales in a relatively short time, and is ideal for brands who are looking to establish more of a presence on social media.
Facebook and Instagram are two of the key social media platforms where paid advertising is most effective. The tools set up by these platforms to create ads are relatively easy to use and you can tailor who sees your paid content very specifically to maximise the impact that these adverts have.
Using paid social media marketing is also incredibly useful as the platforms can provide you with a ton of data about how well your content is performing. This means that you can refine future campaigns depending on what tactics were most effective and which ones missed the mark, leading to greater levels of engagement and success in the future.
Whilst the explicit aim of your hotel’s social media posts shouldn’t be to sell your services, every post should include some kind of call to action. Ultimately you’re using your hotel’s social media accounts to try and direct potential customers to your website so they will make a booking, and they’re not going to do this if they’re not given any instructions.
Effective calls to action are short, clear and motivate the reader to do something without them even properly realising that you’re nudging them down the buyer funnel. They can be as simple as encouraging a user to follow a link or swipe up on a story or can be more specific in encouraging readers to engage with a certain post or visit a specific page of your website.
Whatever your goal is for a piece of social media content, ensure that you’re including a call to action. Otherwise, you might as well not bother posting at all!
Finally, the last piece of advice in our ultimate guide to luxury hotel social media marketing is to ensure that you stay consistent across the different channels you use. We’ve already talked about the importance of tailoring what you share to meet the needs of your followers, but the image that you’re establishing of your hotel should stay the same across every profile.
This can be done by ensuring that the images you share and font, colour scheme and logos you use in graphics are all the same and match that of your official hotel branding. Use the same tone of voice and language in the captions and text posts you create, and share announcements or key pieces of news at the same time so that all profiles are always up-to-date.
Consistency is key to a strong brand image and memorable social media presence; both of which are vital aspects of an effective social media marketing strategy.
As a luxury hotel brand, your social media marketing strategy needs to maintain the same air of exclusivity and luxury that your business is already known for. This can be hard to do without a clear plan from the outset and knowledge of how your competitors are using the same channels to find more customers, so ensure that you’re putting the time into researching the landscape, establishing what you’re trying to achieve with your social media marketing, and analysing who your content is going to be reaching.