By Maiya Wall / Pipeline Social Media

Your occupancy may still be suffering, but what are you doing today to market your hotel to potential guests? Waiting to invest in your hotel’s social media marketing until the effects of the virus are less noticeable is the wrong move. The time is now! People are starting to travel again or are making plans to venture out soon. You want to be at the top of their list when they are comfortable with traveling again. We’ve prepared 8 steps you can take with your social media strategy to prep your hotel for future success.

1. Share Photos of What Your Hotel Is Doing to Keep Guests Safe

Guests need to feel safe before stepping foot in your hotel. Even if you are doing everything right and taking every precaution, guests have to physically see that to feel comfortable before visiting your hotel. Don’t just continue posting your normal content as if nothing has changed. Share new protocols, current pictures, new signage—anything that can represent your new protocols in photo form so guests don’t have to ask what you are doing to keep them safe.

2. Share Photos of Guests at Your Hotel

It would also be wise to share as much user-generated content as you can so potential guests can see others safely enjoying their stay. Hearing from you about new safety protocols will go a long way, but seeing others stay with you will really solidify their decision to book with you as well. Keep your eye out for when a guest tags or mentions you on their social media or on your page so you can share that content too!

3. Make Sure Your Website and Social Have Clear & Updated Information

Make sure your website is up to date with clear & helpful information about any changes you have made due to the virus, such as closing your restaurant or temporarily removing your evening reception. If you are not transparent with guests on what amenities they can expect during their trip, it could lead to a sense of disappointment and negative reviews. Also, if anything is too confusing during the booking process, potential guests may interpret that as you being unprepared and possibly not a safe option.

4. Prepare a Guide on Which Local Attractions and Businesses Are Open

Things are changing daily, so guests will likely have questions about attractions and businesses in your surrounding area. They’ll want to know who is open and in what capacity, so make that information readily available on your social. It wouldn’t hurt to print out a list of their available options to put in their hands at check-in. Then they won’t feel the pressure to figure everything out on their own and waste any vacation time. Ensure that your staff members are well-versed in what nearby attractions are available.

5. Share More Real-Time Stories

Instagram Stories are your friend right now! They allow you to share real-time content that can further put fans at ease. They’ll see that you are without a doubt up and running and not just posting old content to your feed. Share short video updates about what your hotel is doing and tips on how guests can have the best experience. And don’t forget to reshare any stories that you are tagged in to your story as well!

6. Be Prepared to Answer Any Off-The-Wall Questions

Are questions about your hotel flowing in yet? Be prepared to answer questions on your social channels about what amenities are still available, what your hotel is doing to keep people safe, what tourism sites are still open, and more. It’s okay to not know the answer right away. Have a plan for what you will do when you can’t answer the guest or fan immediately. We recommend having a general response ready such as:

“Thank you for reaching out, (guest name). Let us speak with our management team about your question. We will message you back as soon as we know more.”

7. Respond to All Notifications & Talk With Your Fans Often

Engage with your fanbase—aka talk to them, not at them! Don’t fall behind in responding to the notifications from your fans & potential guests—that means messages, comments, and reviews. People need information even quicker than normal while they try to get back to normal—they need to know that they can rely on you for top-notch customer service. Not to mention, people are either working from home or working irregular hours so they are on social media more throughout the day.

Everything needs a response, even if it’s a simple “like” on a comment. A guest may not be quite ready to book with you, but they will remember how responsive you were when they feel safe to travel again.

8. Consider Adding More Amenities to Show Value

The truth is—you can’t promise that the virus is no threat during a guest’s stay. You have to face that if a guest decides to book with you, they are deciding that it will be worth the risk no matter how big or small. Are there any other amenities or services that you can add to their stay to make their decision even more “worth it” for them? For you that could mean travel-size sanitizer bottles in every room, gift cards to local restaurants and other local businesses, or discounts on hotel food & beverages. Is there a new package you could add that bundles their stay with a ticket discount for a nearby attraction?

Even if it’s small, is there any detail that you can add or edit to make guests feel more comfortable or have a more enjoyable stay? Get with your team to brainstorm about what could be possible.

Final Thoughts

While we do not know what tomorrow holds when it comes to the virus, the Pipeline team has always stressed the importance of having a plan over not deciding anything at all. Hotels that use this time to continue marketing to their audience while we weather this storm will come out ahead of hotels that stay out of the conversation. Use these tips to do all you can to get ahead of the unknown and be ready to adjust when the time comes.