Social media and hotels

Are you on social media?


I don’t know about you, but to me it increasingly seems like everything revolves around social media. I know I couldn’t live without Facebook and Twitter. How would I talk to my friends, stay in contact with my family and know what’s going on in the world without Facebook and Twitter? And social media isn’t just an important part of our personal lives, it is also increasingly important when it comes to business and our professional lives.

Virtually every industry and every business has now been impacted by the social media revolution, and the hospitality and tourism industries are no exception. A survey carried out by Four Pillars Hotels in 2014 found that, 32% of travellers’ blog about their travel experiences, 30% of hotel guests have used mobile apps to book a hotel, 52% of Facebook users admitted that their friends’ photos inspired their holiday choice, and 46% of travellers post online reviews on review websites.

Clearly social media is having a huge impact on the way guests and travellers think and talk about their hotel stays. Social media is also changing how hotels interact with their guests and their prospective guests.

Betty Mok in her white paper, 2015 Social Media Action Plan for Hoteliers, writes, “In order to build relationships with and successfully market to past, current and prospective guests, it is absolutely essential for hotels to have an effective social media strategy and a active presence across as many social networks as possible.”

In this blog I outline the steps you need to take to develop a successful social media strategy for your hotel.

Why you need a strategy

Your social media marketing strategy should only have two objectives; Brand awareness and enhancing the guest experience. Everything you do on social media must be focused on promoting and ornamenting your hotel brand, while also improving your guest experience.

It has been proven by many of the industry’s leading experts that hotels that devote time to evolving an effective social media strategy achieve higher levels of guest loyalty, repeat business, and increased brand awareness. Unfortunately, creating a potent strategy involves more than just creating a Facebook page or Twitter profile.

Identifying your audience   

Your first step when creating a social media strategy is to sit down with your marketing and sales team and identify your target customers. Too often hotels make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people on social media.

Your social media strategy cannot be like a fisherman casting his net into the ocean and then pulling back and seeing what he’s caught. Your strategy has got to be laser focused, if not it will fail.

Patrick Mayock in his blog, 10 Social Media Strategies, recommends when creating social personas to ask yourself why travellers are visiting are certain destination, who they are, what they want, what’s their incomes and what their goals and aspirations are. Once you have answered those questions then create targeted marketing across your chosen social media domains

Mayock writes, “Being specific allows marketers to offer tailored communications that are more likely to drive engagement with a specific cohort of guest.”

Quality content  

Your second step to developing a compelling strategy involves creating high quality content that social media users will want to read and share. The trick is to find the right balance between uploading promotional material about your hotel and informative content such as fun activities and interesting places to visit in your surrounding area.

Carolyn Murphy in her article, 5 Data Driven Insights: When and What hotels Should Publish on Social Media, writes, “A successful campaign begins with great content, and the best content offers something new and valuable to your target audience while making an emotional connection.

If there is too much promotional content you risk annoying and turning social media users off reading your content. However getting the mix right between promotional material and informative information will allow potential guest know what your hotel has to offer, while letting you engage in a more personal way with them. Social media specialists recommend the 80-20 formula, 20% promotional content and 80% value content.

Patrick Mayock in his article gives us the example of the Four Seasons hotels, to show what kind of content hotels should be posting on social media. The Four Seasons allows prospective guests to put together a Pinterest board, share it with a Four Seasons property, and have a property representative respond to individual posts with recommendations about food, accommodations and activities in a given destination.

Graphic of people with flowchart of thoughts above their heads

Quality Content Crucial


It is crucial that every image you upload to social media look visually appealing. Nobody is going to like, share, or engage with a social media page or account that doesn’t look good. When it comes to social media looks to do matter and they matter a lot.

Google+ Local   

Google+ Local is fast becoming a major player in the social media world. According to GWI study in 2014, Google+ now has more active users than Twitter. Think of Google+  as a directory that is integrated into Google Maps and Google Search, and allows your hotel appear in Google’s local block.

This means if a traveller types in hotels in West Cork and your hotel is located in West Cork, then your hotel will be near the top of the search page. If you use Google+ smartly you will find your hotel will also have a higher ranking on Google Search.

Google+ is a really good social media domain and can really benefit hotels that use it in the right way. If your hotel isn’t on Google+ then it’s time you get on it.


Facebook is the undisputed Goliath of social media, for better or worse it is an integral part of many people’s lives. According to Statistics Portal Facebook had over 1.4 billion active users worldwide in 2014.

Based on the statistics above it is clear that every hotel needs to have an active presence on Facebook. You risk losing out on guests and losing market share to rival hotels if you don’t utilize Facebook to its full potential.

If you make the most of Facebook you will find that you and your team will have access to a wealth of demographic information on your Facebook friends and followers.You can find out data on your followers identity, their hobbies and activities, interests, and location. All of this data is invaluable when it comes to marketing your hotel to your social media followers. You can use all the data and stats from Facebook to create targeted personalized marketing communications to your target audience, which will increase your conversion rate.

Facebook really proves it worth when you have to market your hotel to the millennial generation. Traditional advertising simply doesn’t work on millennials. To market successfully to the millennials you have to have your hotel on social media and provide them with content they want to read, like and share.

Betty Monk in her white paper, recommends when posting content on Facebook tell a story about your guest experience that is real, honest and personal.

Get the Most Out of Facebook


The other heavyweight social media platform is of course Twitter. Like Facebook, Twitter affords you a great opportunity to connect and engage with potential guests and past guests. Twitter has over 284 million active users and it is estimated that 500 million tweets are tweeted every day. With such a high level of activity and social interaction, it is essential that your hotel have a manful presence on Twitter.

Neha Arya writes in her blog, 10 best Best Twitter Practices for Small Hotels, “Twitter has the potential to be a great marketing tool for hotels. Hotels from across the globe should seriously look at targeting Twitter as one of their main social media marketing mediums.”

However, despite the popularity of Twitter and the very obvious benefits it can bring hotels many hoteliers are wary of fulling embracing Twitter. I believe this has got to change and Twitter should be an essential part of every hotels social media strategy.  To make the most out of Twitter their are some very important steps you have to take.


  • Your first step is to get your hotel’s Twitter profile looking right. It is crucial that your hotel’s profile engage viewers and users right from the start. Your profile page is your first chance to make a first good impression on potential guests, and first impressions are everything when it comes to social media. Bear in mind that you only have 160 characters, so make sure to use keywords.Also make sure that you follow the right people on Twitter. Don’t play the numbers game, when it comes to Twitter followers its all about quality not quantity.
  • Once you have the profile page right then move on to growing your Twitter community. To grow your community you must create posts that are interactive and engaging. It should be your goal to produce posts which lead to your followers responding and re-tweeting. Kurt in his article, How to Use Twitter to Put Heads in Beds, argues posts need to be conversational in order to engage the attentions of followers on Twitter.
  • Neha Arya strongly recommends uploading images to your Twitter. Arya claims that images on Twitter generates significantly more engagement than posts without images. Post images which show your hotel in the best possible light, also post images of your surroundings and local attractions.
  • Over promoting and over selling is one of the biggest mistakes hoteliers make on Twitter. It is critical that you position your promotions correctly. Arya writes, “A hotel should know how not to over promote itself. For every promotional tweet, there should be a couple of engaging and interactive tweets that can provide some tidbits about the city or things to do. Remember that when a hotel tweets about a promotion, words like ‘exclusive”, “free” and “win” tend to drive more engagements. The offers should be self explanatory and exciting.”

If you get Twitter right, then you will have gone a long way in evolving a successful social media marketing campaign.


Social media love it or hate is certainly a major part of people’s lives, and provides businesses from almost every industry and sector the opportunity to engage with their customers in a whole new way. The hospitality industry should be at the forefront of social media marketing.

Hotels  have the potential to benefit more than any other business from the move away from traditional marketing and towards social media marketing. Hotels have always relied on building a personal relationship with their guests and social media allows you to build a relationship with not just your past guests but also your prospective guests.

However, the possible rewards on offer to you will only be realised if you have a dynamic and effective social media strategy.