Over the last decade, Instagram has changed the face of online marketing. Appealing to travelers, adventurers, and explorers, Instagram has become a go-to online source for travelers looking for their next destination. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through implementing Instagram into your social media marketing strategy and show you why Instagram marketing for hotels is so beneficial.
Build your audience with Instagram marketing for hotels:
With over a billion active users, Instagram has become a viable force in the online marketing world. With visually stimulating quick content bites, Instagram takes advantage of our short attention spans by promoting appealing content that aligns with our personal passions, hobbies, and product preferences.
How is marketing on Instagram effective for businesses?
The platform’s engaging and mobile-centric formatting allows users to discover new travel destinations, music, products, and more. In fact, 72% of Instagram users have purchased a beauty or fashion product after seeing it on the app. Now that Instagram allows in-app purchasing, it's a more powerful marketing tool for businesses than ever before.
Gen Zers and millennials make up a large portion of the Instagram audience, as social media plays a starring role in the way the demographics shop. In fact, 71% of millennials have Instagram accounts, and approximately three-quarters of those users were influenced to make a purchase due to marketing they saw on the app. Instagram makes social media advertising simple, effective, and affordable, and should be included in the marketing plan for any modern business.
Why is Instagram marketing for hotels important?
With millennials making up a larger part of the traveling workforce and spending more time focusing on exploration and personal growth, hotels should take every opportunity to target this audience with captivating content. Online shoppers are becoming more comfortable making purchases via social media as the option expands on platforms like Facebook as well.
Moreover, it’s become a source of inspiration for many young people. Whether users are looking to live a healthier life, expand their horizons, or travel to new and exciting locations, 40% of consumers under 33 prioritize “Instagramability” when choosing a travel destination. To some degree, the last decade has seen the face of online travel shift as many social media users attempt to one-up each other with the “best vacation ever!”
Instagram marketing helps hotels by allowing them to:
- Target specific audiences with a wide array of demographic settings.
- Run ad campaigns and customize the duration, goals, and budget of multiple campaigns at once.
- Showcase property amenities, unique features, and standout team personality.
- Run promos and advertise events to build an online audience and increase hotel profits.
- Engage with users to better understand their reason for travel, personal preferences, and experience at a hotel.
Search for your competition on Instagram and see what their pages look like. You should be advertising your property on every platform that your comp set hotels are. Otherwise, you’re missing out on revenue opportunities.
What is Instagram’s Explore page, and how can it benefit a hotel?
One of the goals of any business marketing on Instagram: Get on the Explore page. To put it simply, the Explore page is a page of content that Instagram “thinks you will like.” As a platform, one of Instagram’s primary goals is to connect users with a never-ending stream of appealing content. By showing users this non-stop stream, Instagram is aiming to get more people to use the app as well as get users to stay on the app for longer periods of time.
Instagram uses an algorithm that gathers content about a user: What feeds they engage with, where they make comments, what content they view in its entirety, what they skip through, etc. The Explore page for every user will be different, as the algorithm provides content based on their unique Instagram footprint.
When hotels get listed on a user’s explore page, it means that their targeted marketing efforts are paying off. This can be accomplished by researching your target audience to see what posts they like and who they follow already. Independent properties and boutique hotels can greatly benefit by appearing on the Explore page and can accomplish this through creating catered, personalized content and using all of the profitable marketing features Instagram has to offer.
What Instagram features should hotels utilize?
Instagram offers numerous features for businesses to explore. Hotels should experiment with different features to find creative ways to use Instagram in their marketing plan. Hotels can take advantage of free and paid services to reach their ideal audience and increase conversions.
1. Stories. Arguably the most beneficial marketing tool on Instagram, 500 million users engage with Stories each day. On average, one-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are created by businesses. Large corporations and small startups alike post regular content to their Stories to get online viewers to engage with their business.
Hotels who have mastered social media often use Stories to make announcements, promote events, and even provide event recaps for those unable to attend. It’s a great way to give your viewers a peek of the “behind the scenes” action that goes into event planning, as well as draw attention to events they may want to attend in the future.
It’s important to keep your Stories dynamic. When updating, include a balanced mix of photos and videos that are light on text. Hoteliers can also use Instagram Stories to promote content from their other online channels. Share Youtube videos, Facebook posts, and new blog content to promote cross-platform engagement.
2. Posts. Be consistent and professional when posting content on Instagram or any other social media platform. Use a dependable tone when posting or responding to user comments and reviews. Always keep your language professional and only post photos and videos of professional caliber. Keep in mind that you’re representing your property, its employees, the owners or ownership company, and your hotel brand.
Use posts as an opportunity to showcase unique and inviting setups or seating arrangements at your property. You can share teaser photos or details about updates or renovations to keep your audience engaged. Showing property progressions is also a great way to show potential guests that you’re always working to improve.
3. Hashtags. Hashtags can be a helpful tool for allowing Instagram users to locate, follow, and engage with your hotel’s content. It’s important not to overload your content with hashtags that don’t provide value to your audience members or your hotel goals. Feel free to add a dash of humor here and there — give your content personality — but be selective with your #hashtags.
Research trending hashtags in the hospitality and tourism industries, search travel keywords, recent posts from area properties, trending local topics, and areawide initiatives. Regularly visit the explore page to catch popular hashtags or campaigns.
4. Ads. While hotels will benefit from consistently posting engaging and free content, Instagram also offers ad services to take a lot of the grunt work out of the hands of hotel marketing managers. Instagram’s paid advertising services are easy to use and can work within your property's unique marketing budget.
Does Instagram offer paid ad services for hotels?
In addition to user-friendly free features hotels can utilize on Instagram, the app offers customizable, simple, and quick-to-build campaign ad services.
Hotels that use Instagram’s paid ad services can:
- Promote posts with the click of a button, turning them into ads quickly. This saves a lot of time while also boosting your visibility.
- Build profitable advertising campaigns with just a few clicks. Instagram offers curated and attractive ad formats to choose from, allowing hotels to quickly create campaigns and set their parameters.
- Cross-promote content easily. For hotels with a large social media presence, Instagram boasts a built-in Ads Manager service that allows accounts to promote content and run ad campaigns across various platforms simultaneously.
- Set their own budget and update it anytime. WIth direct and real-time access to their ad campaign budget, hotels can easily increase spending on effective campaigns and eliminate low-performing ads.
- Run ads that are specifically targeted to the ideal audience for separate promotions. Hotels will be able to identify well-performing demographics and focus more marketing efforts on lucrative user groups.
- Make better marketing decisions with analytics at their fingertips. Up-to-date tracking analysis helps sales managers boost campaigns during their peak performance and capitalize on well-performing posts.
Instagram marketing strategy tips for hoteliers:
To wrap up this guide, we’re going to leave you with these effective social media tips for successfully marketing your hotel on Instagram.
1. Be consistent. Frequent posting will ensure that you stay relevant in your audience’s feed and at the forefront of their mind when looking for accommodations.
2. Write captivating captions. Use quick, punchy captions to capture the attention of your audience and tease their interests. Hotels should always be looking for ways to open the next door for customers, keeping them interested in seeing more. Don’t be afraid to use the phrases “click to learn more” or “link in bio” from time to time.
3. Make it easy to share images and connect with your hotel. Choose a username and display name that are easy to communicate to guests and that they are likely to remember. Link your hotel’s Instagram page to other platforms like Facebook, TripAdvisor, or your Cvent Supplier Network™ profile, making moving or sharing content across platforms easier for users.
4. Post at the right times. Data shows that the best time for businesses to post or update their content is between 10 am and 3 pm, with Wednesday being the best day for engagement overall.
5. Try not to repost. The Instagram Explore algorithm downvotes reposted content.
6. Always tag your location. Be sure to add your property name/location when posting updates on Instagram. When creating a post, select “Add Location” below the caption and select your hotel. Data shows that posts that include a tagged location get 79% more user engagement than those without.
7. Create an in-house Instagram/video team. Host a meeting with team members and check in with employees to see if anyone has a passion for photography or social media management. If so, they would likely be an enthusiastic and helpful member of your content team and can assist in creating a social media plan. Some content may be best captured by third shift, or your night audit crew. For example, it may be easiest for those on third shift to capture photos of your breakfast setup before guests come down to eat.
8. Showcase what makes your property stand out. Create a SWOT analysis that compares your property to your comp set. Note unique amenities and services that your property offers and highlight those on your Instagram feed. Look at meeting space and event setup options, food and beverage offerings, and popular amenities like saltwater pools or a 24-hour gym.
9. Highlight employees, celebrations, and mix in some fun. Keep your content entertaining and include fun, light-hearted posts to bring your audience joy or make them smile. Making a potential guest feel good will leave a lasting impression.
10. Use free or affordable software to improve the quality of your content. VSCO, Adobe Lightroom, Snapseed, A Color Story, and InShot are all popular editing tools that successful hotels use in their Instagram marketing.
11. Host competitions and encourage engagement. User-generated content has a 4.5% higher conversion rate, so encourage engagement from your page visitors, in-house guests, and event attendees to regularly post original content and tag your hotel.
Now you know all about Instagram marketing for hotels!
Want to boost your hotel's social media efforts even further. Our complete guide to Facebook marketing for hotels has everything you need to grow your audience even further.