Although Instagram hasn’t been around as long as Facebook or Twitter, it is among the fastest growing social networks and should not be ignored! Instagram has grown in popularity because it is a fast, convenient, fun, and beautiful way to share with a community of followers. The users of Instagram download the app to their smartphone and in just a click of a button are able to share their lives through videos and images – it’s really that fun and easy! Instagram is a must for hotels in 2014. Hoteliers aren’t just using the channel because its fun, it’s working for them – Instagram has tremendous audience reach and generates a lot of positive social interaction.
Although it will take more than creating an account and posting some photos, hoteliers can gain many followers, promote events, build awareness, and book some rooms through an Instagram campaign. An Instagram campaign gets a hotel in front of a consumer like never before – on the go! Better yet, the app that can get a hotel in front of a huge target market – the millennials, the next dominant generation since the baby boomers! It appears that this generation is unlike any other and has high expectations. This highly targeted generation appreciates genuine content, fun culture, information relevant to them, and an emotional connection with a brand. Hoteliers will need to step up their game and make it about their guests – not about the hotel. This means that a hotel’s Instagram campaign needs to be fun, interactive, and creative to gain loyal followers.
“ 71% of internet users are more likely to purchase from a brand that they are following on a social networking sites”
3 Techniques that will make your Hotel Stand out on Instagram
1. Meet with Local Influencers – They will show off the hotel for you!
Do you have a unique amenity or offer that needs some recognition? Most hotels fail to show off their best assets! This is where hoteliers must begin thinking about the experience their guests enjoy at the hotel – maybe it’s a unique cocktail or a delicious dessert. When you have a feature, amenity, or offer, inviting instagrammers to visit the property and experience it for themselves can generate tons of positive social proof. Coordinating a small event or “InstaMeet” will result in local influencers promoting the hotel for you! The key is to find local bloggers or journalist who are relevant to your feature, amenity, or offer. Once you find a few relevant instagrammers, email them and invite them to an event.
For example, if you want to raise awareness of unique cocktails at the hotel, you can invite local influencers to a happy hour at the hotel. For this event, you can invite bloggers who give tips about local happy hours, bars, cocktails, and/or hotels because these are all relevant to you.
Also, do not forget to create a hashtag that is unique to the amenity/event – for example, #fancycocktails. This way the instagrammers will include your hashtag and your instagram name when posting images of your hotel – thus, directing their followers to your Instagram.
2. Instagram Contest – Promote the Hotel at a Low Cost!
Today, Instagram contests are exciting many instagrammers. Contests on Instagram gets your followers involved and encourages engagement. Excite your followers with a fun contest -include an amenity, location, holiday, season, and/or attraction – and an attractive reward – a free stay, event tickets, or hotel voucher.
Hoteliers need to check out The Four Seasons Instagram contest for inspiration. This brand has ran several instagram contests resulting in tons of likes and popularity. They have asked followers of various cities to help them discover a city. Instagram followers are asked to post their best image of the city and the winner receives a weekend stay at the hotel. The hashtags that were used were specific to each city – the Hong Kong contest used the #OURHK hashtag which resulted in 103 photos. The biggest benefit of the contest is the engagement and awareness- and it only cost the hotel a free weekend stay.
3. Use a Popular Event to Reach a Large Crowd
If you don’t think you are reaching a large group of people, find a popular event to attract a new crowd! Hotels can host a party for big events like New Years Eve, 4th of July, concerts, parades, conventions, Superbowl, etc. If Hoteliers are strategic and creative, they can gain a huge crowd following events targeted. Possible ideas include hosting a Grammy party with cocktails and appetizers or hosting a Superbowl party with a unique theme – the possibilities are endless!
Attracting new followers isn’t easy – a lot of thought should go into the campaign’s content. So, take some time to get to know your guests. Paying attention to what guests say about your hotel online will let you know what they love, expect, and need. Maybe they love the view from your hotel, the location, or the bar. Find your competitive advantage and utilize that to raise awareness and popularity via Instagram.