How Does Social Media Actually Help Market Your Property and Drive Bookings?

We have the following conversation with hospitality professionals all the time.
Me: "So what do you typically do to market your property online outside of OTAs?"
Hotelier: "I post to social media all the time but I don't get any bookings from it"

Let's take a step back and talk about where social media fits in the marketing roadmap.

Social media's primary role as a marketing channel is in the "Relationship & Reputation" phase and it can play a role in the "Demand & Dreaming" phase. In other words - social media marketing is NOT a "Transactional" / "Planning & Booking" marketing channel. To expect bookings from social media marketing is a fallacy. It happens yes, but this is why you don't see it happen very often. The correct metrics for measuring social media are "engagement" metrics (likes, shares, follows, clicks, subscribes), not booking metrics.

Does this mean that social media is a waste of time?  Not at all! Social Media can absolutely influence bookings but it is important to understand the role that it plays in your marketing mix and you can budget your resources accordingly. Whether that means budgeting your time or budgeting your marketing dollars. The reality for a lot of smaller properties without marketing staff is that you won't be able to "afford" spending a lot of time or money on your social media because it doesn't produce direct bookings in the same way "Transactional" marketing activities do.

Review & Update Your Social Media Presence

Now that you've got a better understanding of where social media fits in our marketing mix, take a little time to set yourself up for success.

Audit Your Social Accounts

Let's start by giving your social accounts a quick audit. Here's a guide https://www.odysys.com/blog/quick-tips-to-save-your-social/ - the major points covered in the guide:

  1. Review & update the social links on your website: Are you linking to a Twitter profile that you haven't posted to in 3 years? How about Google+ - did you know that it isn't a thing anymore?
  2. Profile picture should include your logo/property name: A picture of your property without any branding is a wasted opportunity to build your brand. A picture of a property going by in my feed doesn't register the same way a logo/property name does.
  3. Review & update your bio/about/profile Information: Is your link to your website up to date? How about that button you created on your Facebook page to link to your booking engine - still using that booking engine?
  4. Here's some Facebook-specific tips: https://www.odysys.com/blog/10-easy-ways-to-optimize-your-facebook-page/

Done? Congrats - you've covered your bases. We'll give you a C. Want a better grade? Complete the Bonus & Extra Credit content below.

Bonus: Review & Update Your Approach to Social Media

What Social Accounts Should I Use?
This is actually a bigger question that has to do with who your ideal guest is. Different social media platforms cater to different types of users. For example - targeting GenX & Boomers? Facebook for sure. Maybe YouTube. But Millennials? Facebook won't reach them but Instagram & YouTube might. Doing events & weddings at your property? Instagram & pinterest may be for you.  Get to know your ideal guest and where they spend their time online and form your social strategy around that. 

Here's a start: 

Time Commitment & Posting Frequency
One thing to take into account when creating or updating your social media strategy is time. That's something you either pay for by hiring someone to help you with social marketing, or the amount of time you put in yourself. Then there's also your expectations. If you expect your social accounts to grow - the time commitment is real. 

For every social account you want to actively promote to and expect growth, as a rule of thumb you would want to budget at least an hour a day to that social account.  If you do the math, that means if you're running a facebook and instagram and pinterest page - you should be spending ~3 hours a day on social media marketing if you expect to see growth in those engagement metrics we discussed above. You can do less than that of course but temper your expectations accordingly.

That's the kind of commitment you'd want to make if you expect your social presence to grow and for it to contribute to your marketing. If you just want to maintain an account, you should still expect to spend an hour or more a week dedicated to managing your presence on that account. 

What in the world do you do for that many hours?

Done? Congrats! You’re one step further down the roadmap towards more revenue and a commission-free future.

Extra Credit

Want to learn a little more about the subject? Here's a couple recommended resources:

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