Facebook is the largest social media community in the world, and still growing! In June 2017, Facebook reported 2.01 billion active monthly users – a 17% increase year-over-year. Facebook is simply too big to ignore. Hotels not only have to be present on this channel, they must be active on it too.
Facebook provides something your Brand.com or hotel website cannot – the opportunity to have a conversation with travel shoppers. Through your hotel’s Facebook page, travelers can gain a better understanding of your property and what others are saying about it. It’s your opportunity to impart knowledge – about your hotel, the local area and what’s new and exciting! Furthermore, Facebook is a way to distribute this information quickly, without having to wait to update your website.
Posting fresh and engaging content on Facebook will increase your chance of be discovered by more travel shoppers. That’s because when someone “Likes” or “Shares” your Facebook post, it is seen by other people in their network of friends. But to increase your organic reach, and get your message out there to more people, you need to post the right content.
What Constitutes “Engaging” Content?
Put yourself in the shoes of a travel shopper: what type of content would add value to their travel experience? It could be an article about upcoming events in your city, a packing list for visiting the region, or a video for a nearby attraction.
Take a closer look at what also happens day-to-day on your property. Do you have regular events, like cocktail hour? Sunday roasts? Or movie nights? Talk about them on Facebook! Keep in mind that Facebook is a highly visual platform, so consider what visuals can accompany your posts.
Inspiration for What to Post on Facebook
Here are some more ideas for where to find inspiration for Facebook:
- Follow your local business bureau, nearby restaurants, event centers, and local tourism boards. They are great resources for what’s going on in your area. You can also share content from them on your own Facebook page.
- Follow travel blogs and travel pages; they are always posting new articles and videos that you can use, such as how to prepare for a trip, local eats, fun things to do, etc. The content may not always be relevant to you, but when it is, it’s a great thing to share. Example: The Circa 39 Hotel in Miami Beach shared an article from Visit Miami on where to see the best fireworks on July 4.
- Share user-generated content (UGC) created by your guests. This could be photos, videos, or a posts that mention your property or the local area. UGC is a quick and easy way to source content for your own page, but always ask for a guest’s permission before re-sharing it. Example: The Bougainvillea Beach Resort re-shared this update from a guest who donated his cricket gear to a local high school student.
- Share human interest pieces – because everyone loves a good story. Example: The Alyeska Resort shared this photo to congratulate a couple who got engaged onsite.
- You can even use Facebook to promote a cause, like the Comfort Suites Alamo/River Walk did by offering its hotel as a temporary housing solution for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Drive Referral Traffic to Your Webpage
Beyond reaching and engaging travel shoppers, Facebook is also a powerful source of referral traffic for your website. One of the best ways to drive traffic from Facebook is to start a blog, where users must visit your website to view the full article. You can also use special offers that link to your website/booking engine. It doesn’t hurt to even profile some of your amenities (e.g. pool/spa/restaurant) or room types on Facebook from time to time.
When to Post (And How Often)
Posting regularly on Facebook can seem like a daunting task, but there are strategies and tools to help you. We recommend posting at least three times per week, as the reach of Facebook posts tend to fade quite quickly. Make it a part of your agenda in team meetings to brainstorm ideas for Facebook. Then schedule time in your calendar to craft your updates and post to Facebook. You can even use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to pre-schedule your posts in advance.
In addition, you should monitor your Facebook page regularly – we recommend on a daily basis. Be on the lookout for guests who may have tagged your hotel in their posts, or written a review on your page. Respond to these actions quickly, thanking them for mentioning you and/or providing feedback. If you receive a negative review, take the conversation off-line. Ask the guest to message you privately so you can resolve the issue.
Encourage Guests to Get Involved
It doesn’t take much convincing to ask guests to post about your hotel on Facebook; 76% of travelers already post vacation photos to social networks. However, there are steps that you can take to influence what is being posted. You can run a contest, create a custom hashtag, or identify photo opportunities at your hotel, to name a few.
Encourage guests to post about your hotel while they’re onsite. Mention it at check-in, leave a reminder in their room, or include it on cards/posters around your property.
It’s Time to be Social
There are many ways to become more active on Facebook and it doesn’t have to be all up to you. Get your team involved, ask guests to post on Facebook, and re-share content from others. Facebook is here to stay, so you may as well use it to increase awareness of your property, as well as drive traffic to your website!
About the Author: Monica Berlin is a Success Coach at Leonardo who loves to travel, write and make people laugh. A true people person and Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer, Monica is an expert in all things social media along with being Google Analytics Certified. Her experience in hospitality includes guiding tours in Rome and serving cruise guests on the high seas. When she’s not helping hotels stand out online in a unique and engaging way, you can find Monica learning Italian, blogging, and Instagramming far too many photos of her dogs Blizzard and Felix.