Does your small hotel need Instagram?
If you are trying to boost your hotel bookings and create more meaningful engagement with your clientele, then the answer to does your small hotel need Instagram is yes you need to be utilising Instagram.
By posting photos of the best that your small hotel has to offer, you can attract new visitors and position yourself as a leader in your region.
Go from being one of many hotel options to the only hotel option. Using Instagram for your hotel marketing will help you to rise to the next level and see your bookings skyrocket. Read ahead to learn more about why your small hotel needs Instagram.
If you are yet to create a Social Media Strategy this is a good place to start: Social Media Tips for Hotels and B&B’s
What is Instagram?
Instagram is the fastest growing social network. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has gained over 300 million active users who post regularly and interact with others on the platform. Accessed via a smart phone or tablet, Instagram is the ultimate travel app.
By utilising hashtags and geo location markers, users can boast about their holiday in real time. If you have never taken a look at the posts connected to your small hotel with hashtags and location tags, you need to do so asap. What are your guests and clients saying about you? Does your hotel look like somewhere you would want to stay? Are posts about your hotel gaining traction or being shared?
People are using Instagram to talk about your small hotel. Why not join the conversation and develop an online presence that tells the stories and portrays the image that you want to project?
Why is Instagram so good for small hotel internet marketing?
In today’s selfie obsessed world, people can’t wait to get online and start posting pictures of their holiday. Travel is aspirational, which makes it so well suited to Instagram. Instagram is all about showing off – letting people see where you travel, what you eat and what makes you so unique. When they are travelling locally or abroad, they want their friends and family to see what they are up to and where they are staying. These photos can inspire others to book the same destination – and the same hotel.
Instagram also has the right clients online. Their average users are millennials, a desirable target clientele that often has money and free time for holidays. Even if they can’t afford your hotel, they are likely to be able to influence those who can.
Why it makes sense to work with influencers
Instagram’s success has birthed a whole new wave of online impresarios. Known as social media influencers, they are the individuals and businesses that have thousands or millions of followers. They often have legions of fans who hang on to their every post and follow their suggestions.
While you might need to offer these influencers a free stay or a fee for them to post about you, the pay off can be worthwhile. This is a key hotel marketing success strategy, and it is destined to pay off. While it can be difficult to track the rate of return on this expenditure, recent studies have shown that influencer marketing does indeed help brands grow. A study by American firm Rhythm One shows that $2.26 in media value was earned for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. This is too big an opportunity to miss out on.
If you are a hotel owner keen to work with online influencers, the process can be confusing. After all, how do you know who you should reach out to, and who will give you a good return on your investment?
How to choose an influencer
Choosing who to work with can be baffling – there are countless Instagram accounts out there. While some seem to have many followers, they may have low engagement or be mostly populated by ‘bots (fake accounts created by computers). Other accounts may have fewer followers, but they have rich and meaningful interactions with them.
For example, let’s say you have the chance to work with an Instagram influencer and you have to choose between two that look promising. One account might have 100K followers and the other has ‘merely’ 20K, and they both regularly post professional shots. The 100K account rarely responds to comments, and when you look at the kinds of comments left by their followers on their photos you notice that they seem generic. Then, when you examine their followers one by one, you start to see a pattern – these are all robots!
The 20K account, on the other hand, frequently engages with their followers. They receive personalised comments and seem to have a lot of sway with their fans – they are building a community. While at first glance you may be tempted to choose the 100K account, a closer analysis shows that you would be far better off with the 20K persona.
If you want to find the best of the best and get in touch these influencers, you can find talent agencies online who can help you do just that.
Carefully consider brand alignment
Now that you have identified an influencer who has a lot of meaningful engagement with their followers, you need to determine if they are right for your hotel brand. Is the Instagram account all about partying until dawn in hotspots around the world? Then your quaint Poole guesthouse is probably not the right fit for their account! Similarly, if you are trying to market a luxury property, you will want to stick to accounts that exude effortless chic and polish.
Quirky matches quirky, reserved matches reserved. They might have heaps of engaged followers, but they might be a complete mismatch for your brand. Think about their audience, and how likely their audience is to want to stay at your hotel. Are you throwing away your budget on an Instagram influencer who can’t actually help you? Think wisely about your choice.
Have you had success with influencer marketing? Perhaps you even have a horror story to share? Join the conversation and leave a comment below.