By Patrick Landman
Customers now take photos of everything at any moment of the day. This new trend is influencing how restaurants and hotels design their spaces. So, if you want to make your hotel more ‘instagrammable,’ as is the prevalent buzzword, and integrate a proven Instagram strategy for hotels, read on and follow our handy tips.
For more than half of millennials, the most important current demographic group, Instagram is their first point-of-reference when picking holiday destinations. With this in mind, it is clear that having beautiful pictures of your hotel online will help ensure that the number of customers coming through your doors will increase.
The hotelier’s advantage: Hospitality is made for Instagram
The hospitality industry benefits enormously as it is perfect for a photo-based social media network. Especially when on vacation, people love to snap beautiful photos to share with their friends and family. These snaps, in turn, advertise your hotel and the wonderful experiences that they and others are having while staying with you, and give all-important validation that your guests made a great vacation hotel choice.
When used in an optimized manner, Instagram is an affordable and effective way to create awareness and build a community. Moreover, it’s free!
With its sky-high engagement rates and millennial user base, it is unrivalled as a platform to guarantee that your hotel will be fresh in their minds. Studies have proven that millennials are proven to be loyal to the brands they have grown to know and love through social media. Furthermore, they often prefer to pay more for an Instagrammable hotel rather than a cheaper alternative.
5 hotels that leverage Instagram in a smart, successful way
1. @santorini_greece (Astarte Suites Hotel) This majestic hotel uses their naturally beautiful location for perfect photo opportunities. They are able to show off their services and tempting dining experiences such as brunch and champagne.
2. @livezoku (Zoku Amsterdam) This account boasts high-quality professional photos and showcases guests enjoying a relaxing time in an intimate, inviting setting.
3. @uxua (UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa) This hotel intelligently includes the local community, village and nearby surroundings in their Instagram photos.
4. @acehotel (Ace Hotel) An excellent example of a hotel that shares photos with themes of art and culture.
5. @societyhotel (The Society Hotel) This hotel shares insights, tips and guides to the neighborhood and promotes local experiences.
While these hotels are clearly very different in appearance, they have all pursued a conscious initiative to integrate an instagrammable drive.
Crucially, your hotel itself must have its own easy-to-locate Instagram presence. For instance, a memorable, straightforward user handle is essential. Additionally, your own unique hashtag can also help, as well as encouraging guests to include it when uploading posts by promoting the hashtag itself (you can do this by including it on your own branding, as an example). These steps also makes it easier for guests and potential clients to follow you too, as well as comment on and like your posts, and find all-important information like your website as quickly as possible.
3 tactics to use Instagram as a powerful business tool
1. Switch to a business profile
Via account settings, you can quickly switch to a business profile, which offers invaluable business advantages. These include:
i. Easy-to-access, clearly visible on-screen buttons to provide, for instance, your address, contact method (email, phone number) and fast access to your website for potential customers.
ii. Deeper data insights including follower demographics (location, gender etc), post engagement and reach, and periods of the day when your audience is most active with your account. Such insights can inform your future Instagram strategy, the times that it is best to post at for maximized lead exposure, and unique promotional campaigns.
iii. A professional appearance. A hotel without a business profile lacks professionalism.
2. Make your hotel instagrammable
Making your hotel instagrammable can be done in many different ways. It isn’t necessary to fully redesign your hotel. Rather, it’s more about adapting your current design and making the necessary tweaks to ensure that it is optimized for your target Instagram users: your buyer persona. Take a look at these tips:
Demonstrate an irresistible unique selling point
Whether it’s a breathtaking vista, local nature or your hotel building itself, views or backgrounds should be used to their full potential by creating an ideal spot to take photos. Other options include designing your own Instagram-ready locations within the hotel by, for example, adding a captivating mural or creating unique and photogenic dishes at your restaurant. This also opens the door to take advantage of a hotel theme or period-specific themes, such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve, for photo-generating opportunities.
Cross-check your entire hotel for an Instagram-proof audit
Take an objective view to your hotel, from the restaurant to the bar, from your rooms to your lobby, and everything else. This way you can change, adapt or obscure those aspects that are less receptive to being showcased online.
Take inspiration from the example-setters
Identify ultra-successful hotels on Instagram that align with your own hotel’s business model, buyer persona and style. What are they doing to drive their success on Instagram? What can you take inspiration from and make your own? This is a quick-win tactic in order to see what is already working, to help you save time and effort from trial and error.
A photo can be taken at any moment throughout your guests’ stay. It’s also worth reminding ourselves here that a considerable cohort of millennials often jump on any excuse to take a photo, so paying close attention to small details like the layout of a breakfast spread, the appearance of a cocktail and the style choice of bedding will make all the difference.
3. Collaborate with influencers
Influencer marketing is now one of the most powerful ways to, yep, you guessed it, “influence” people. An influencer is generally defined as an individual with a sizeable following. Some rules of thumb when deciding which influencers to collaborate with:
Only choose Instagram influencers who fit your brand identity. For instance, if your hotel is focused on luxury, choose an influencer whose lifestyle and instagram feed corresponds with this theme.
Make sure they have a significant number of (real) followers. Fake influencer numbers still fool even some of the biggest household name companies. Rigorous checking that their following is authentic and not populated by bots is essential.
Agree beforehand with your influencer(s) what services you will provide them with for optimized results on their photos for your hotel, and also to help ensure that you cultivate a strong working relationship with them.
Some extra insider tips: Instagram strategy for hotels
Here are six tried and tested tips that will help your hotel scale the Instagram heights.
- Use location and trending hashtags. These will allow you to be more visible so potential followers can find you more easily.
- Write a well-thought bio with a direct link to your website.
- Choose one specific theme for your feed and stick to it. Diluting your feed with different post themes is strongly linked to a lack of user engagement and problems with account growth. Best to let users know what to expect from your posts in terms of the type of photo, resolution quality and consistency with your branding objectives.
- Show off your hotel through Instagram stories, and categorize them in your highlights, a brilliant feature to complement your posts.
- Post on a regular schedule, ideally with at least two posts per day, to make sure your followers stay as engaged as possible.
- Adapt your posting schedule to your insights (day and hour of the posts). Also, keep close ongoing reviews of this data. Measurement is critical to enhanced performance outcomes moving forward.
The final word: Leveraging Instagram as a springboard to success
The most important takeaway from this article should be the ease and simplicity with which you can transform your hotel into an instagrammable haven, although it will, of course, require ongoing account management. Adapting your business to this fast-moving trend in the age of social media needn’t be daunting, as it may at first seem. This handy guide can help provide a blueprint from which you can launch your hotel to outstanding Instagram success.