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In Difficult Times, Social Media Management For Hotels Needs To Level Up

In this article, we're going to break down the process of creating an effective social media strategy into easy-to-follow steps that you can apply regardless of the platforms you’re using.

By

December 9, 2020

social media management for hotels

For some types of businesses, being on social media is as essential as having a website

Hotels are definitely part of this group. But like all marketing activities, social media management for hotels requires planning, execution and constant revision.

In this article, we're going to break down the process of creating an effective social media strategy into easy-to-follow steps that you can apply regardless of the platforms you’re using, whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or Pinterest.

There are two distinct phases: planning and execution.

Let’s jump in to learn more about how to build social media management for hotels. 

Planning out social media management for hotels

There are three preliminary steps within a well-planned social media strategy for the hotel industry. 

1. (Re)define audience and experience

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many operators to redefine the type of guests they want to attract. 

In a scenario where international tourism may decrease by up to 80% in 2020, many hotels will have had to rely on domestic travellers to survive.

As a result, a different type of guest may be looking for a different type of experience. 

All these changes will have an impact on your brand voice and the social media content you’re going to publish, so it’s important to define them before moving forward.

2. Define clear long-term objectives

Although the ultimate reason why you are on social media is to increase your revenue, your long-term goals are also to reinforce your brand message and to stay top of mind with those who can’t or won’t travel at the moment.

Plant the seeds now and manage to keep them engaged. Your hotel will then likely be the first one they’ll think about when they start travelling again.

3. Build a crack social media team

Social media management for hotels can be a fast-paced activity: posting and engaging consistently with your followers is key. 

If you stop frequently -- usually because you’ve run out of ideas or you can’t find the right picture -- your business will look inconsistent and disorganized, with the added risk of losing engagement and followers.

Having a well-organized social media team will help make execution seamless. 

If you’re running a small hotel operation, the idea of ‘building a social media team’ may sound pretentious. But this can simply mean being clear about who is doing what, whether it’s a team of one or a team of 10. 

When building your team, there are two main task areas. 

One is management. Social media managers should have a good knowledge of the hotel's brand voice and values. They are usually responsible for the editorial supervision and for taking the last decision about what can be published or not. They also set goals and benchmarks, measure results, and reply to requests or comments.

The other area is the content creation process, which consists of: 

  • Maintaining a documented list of ideas
  • Writing consistent social media updates
  • Scheduling posts
  • Updating an editorial calendar
  • Sourcing the right pictures to complement editorial 

As you work on these three preliminary steps, it’s important that you create a written document with your findings and be ready to revise it at least once every quarter. 

This will serve as a compass as you move forward and execute your social media management for hotels strategy.

Executing a documented social media strategy 

1. Adopt a plan-ahead mindset

In the previous section we mentioned what many consider the single most important piece of a documented social media strategy: the editorial calendar. 

Although you will occasionally post about unexpected relevant travel-related events as they happen, for the most part you should schedule your updates at least two or three weeks in advance.

If you diligently keep an editorial calendar -- which can be documented on a simple spreadsheet -- you will never run out of ideas and can also have an overview of the type of updates you publish. 

This allows the social media manager to keep oversight and ensure a good balance between different topics, moods and types of posts.

A well-documented editorial calendar should also have a column where we can specify what picture goes with each post. 

Ask any experienced social media manager, and they will tell you that consistently finding high-quality relevant pictures is one of the hardest things in social media management for hotels. 

And, like all difficult things, it tends to be skipped and procrastinated until the last minute.

Finally, don’t forget to update the calendar with the posts you effectively published. 

If anything, this is the step all social media managers need to work towards. 

2. Show off what you got

Once you have a calendar template, it’s time to brainstorm ideas to fill it. The goal here is to show off all the things that your hotel can offer to your guests.

Some of them will be obvious: rooms, stunning views, a central location, special offers, facilities such as a dining room, bar, spa, and gym.

All these are low-hanging fruits, which means your competitors are also posting about them on their social media channels. 

If you want to be different, you will have to dig deeper and be more creative. Here is a short list of less obvious topics to add to your publishing calendar.   

Your local community: Your social media channels are an excellent place to talk about local events and to show commitment to your local community. This will be even more relevant if you’re mainly targeting guests from the same region rather than from abroad.

Safety measures: Now more than ever, your guests expect cleaning and sanitation in your hotel to be first-class. Hanging a ‘Clean and Safe’ certification at the door surely helps, but posting pictures that show how you’re taking the health and safety of your staff and guests seriously, is even better. When it comes to safety, transparency and a lot of details are always appreciated.

Covid-19 policies: Another important aspect of social media management for hotels during the current health emergency is to inform guests about your safety policy regarding protective masks, dining and room service. Ideally, you will have a resource page on your website that you update regularly and publish regular posts on social media with a link to it.

Life at the hotel: Cleaning and sanitation are a specific example of ‘Behind-the-scenes’ content, which tends to be quite engaging. There’s definitely more to explore in this category. By getting your staff onboard, you could show snapshots of a typical day at the reservation desks or in the kitchen, or how room service is organized.

Showcase all customer-facing departments: Getting the hotel personnel involved in your social media activity will create even more opportunities for interesting content. For example, they could use their expertise to give useful advice to followers stuck at home. We suggest creating posts or videos where:  

  • The hotel’s cook shows how to prepare a signature dish to recreate the magic of your dining experience at home
  • A fitness instructor does a follow-along home workout for those who don’t have access to their local gyms
  • Your beautician gives a recipe for a homemade face mask while salons are in lockdown (or booked out)
  • Your cleaning personnel show how to keep a home clean with minimal effort

Pay attention to pictures and copy: ‘Content is king’ also applies to social media content, which is mainly made up of pictures and text. Here are some basic best practices to follow in order to post high-quality content: 

  • Always use both pictures and copy. If you post a picture without any accompanying words, you may leave your followers wondering what it’s actually about or it may be misunderstood. Conversely, your followers will expect to see images, so posting just text won’t work either
  • Go for quality. Take your time to write the right words and find the right pictures. Although they don’t have to be perfect every time, strive for an benchmark quality level
  • Stay true to your voice. The branding exercise you did in the planning phase will be your reference here. Consistency is crucial, if you want to reinforce your brand
  • Avoid tone-deaf messages. Posting clever or humorous content on social media is OK and even desirable, as long as the message won’t come off as inappropriate or exploitative. This happens regularly to big brands with large social media teams, so there is the possibility it could happen to you. When in doubt, don’t publish anything.

Engage with followers: Social media management for hotels should create conversations, not one-way broadcasts. Engagement is the soul of social media and should be your goal in every piece of content. Be creative, use interesting pictures, questions, suggestions, and calls to action. And try to respond to every post that merits answering. 

Deal with reviews: Every business has a love/hate relationship with online reviews. They love them when they’re positive, hate them when they’re negative, and hate them even more when they seem exaggerated or unfair. 

The main rule: Always do your best to respond to comments made on social media. Research from Harvard Business Review actually shows that hotels get more and better reviews when they do that.

Here’s a quick list of some tried and tested dos and don’ts for dealing with reviews on social media:

  • DO thank guests who leave good comments, even if it’s just with a ‘like’
  • DO invite unsatisfied guests to take the conversation off social media to try and solve the issue offline
  • DON’T ignore bad reviews or be snappy or reproachful in your replies
  • DO wait until you have calmed down before you reply to negative reviews that made you particularly upset

Measure results: One thing that separates brands that are on social media 'because you have to' from those with a clear objective is that the latter periodically look at key performance indicators (KPI), measure results and revise their strategy accordingly.

Simply put, KPIs are the signs telling you what in your social media strategy is working and what is not. These could be:

  • Engagement of your posts. This is probably the most important metric. It includes things such as likes, shares, and comments that your social updates receive
  • How much the number of followers has been growing (or decreasing) over time
  • The traffic that social media brings to your website
  • The number of inquiries and sales that came through social media

Measuring results is an important step, but make sure you keep it simple. Social media metrics are a huge topic and it's all too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of KPIs.

Hiring the right team to build social media management for hotels

If planning and executing a social media strategy for your hotel seems too daunting, why not leave it to the experts? 

With Brevo, you can have a team of social media professionals take care of the whole social media management for hotels process, from developing editorial calendars to providing creative ideas and knowledge of photo banks.

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