Remember when social media was still an unpaid media?
To be successful at marketing your venue or destination, you must make social media advertising for hotels a priority. Start viewing channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as any other ad-supported medium. If your venue is willing to allocate a portion of the marketing budget, you can reach targetable and distinct mass audiences that you never had access to before.
Explore ways to win big with social media advertising for hotels
1. Invest in promoted content
You now have to pay to play. Even when you’re posting for an audience that has voluntarily "liked" you. You might have 15,000 fans on your Facebook page, but only a small percentage might actually see a photo you posted if you don’t pay to promote it. Be sure you include content that stimulates every phase of the planning experience.
Travellers and planners in the dreaming phase will be inspired by vivid photos of destinations and experiences, while those in the planning and booking phase will be motivated by a concrete offer or specific package that showcases value or creates urgency.
For the experiential phase, promote content highlighting your destination, as well as reposting social media content from current guests themselves.
2. Know the unique reach of each type of social media platform
Be sure to choose the platforms that reach your guests and can achieve your campaign goals. For instance, business travellers tend to favour Twitter over YouTube; Pinterest is the best platform for reaching wedding planners; and Instagram and Snapchat are two of the top channels for millennial engagement.
3. Make your social media ads part of a larger multi-channel campaign
For maximum effectiveness, you can integrate ads on social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to coincide with your hotel’s other marketing channels, like email marketing, Google Display Network, or search engine marketing. Even better, utilise ADARA, Sojern, or other travel ad networks to help your social media ads reap even greater returns. Using first-party data from top travel planning and airline websites, these travel ad networks target users while they’re planning trips. This extra layer of data added to your social media ad campaigns helps to target your audience when they are closest to the booking stage.
4. Target smarter to stretch your budget
Custom audiences allow social media advertising to truly outshine its media predecessors. Using targeting tools on each social media platform can yield big results for even the most limited hotel budgets. For instance, YouTube’s unique in-market capabilities utilise search behaviour to target users who are planning a trip to your destination and suggest videos that will positively influence their choices during the booking process. On Twitter, follower targeting makes it possible for marketers to reach followers of a relevant Twitter handle. What if your ad popped up on the Twitter feeds of all the followers of a celebrity who recently tweeted from your hotel?
You can also target the context of individual tweets by selecting keywords, such as “beach” or “skiing” if those apply to your hotel. Facebook allows you to target your email list, but also a “look alike” audience whose profiles match those on your email list.
Social media will continue to drive modern communication. Never before has it been possible to reach so many travellers with so little effort or capital outlay. Experiment with your top two social media channels, use their different targeting tools, and try out different budget amounts. Keep a close eye on your analytics to find which formulas work best for your property.
Most importantly, stay up-to-date with your chosen social media platforms, as new features are being released all the time. Oh, and don't forget to follow Cvent on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn!
Written by Junvi Ola.