It is a rare occasion that I find a hotel that makes bookings off of Instagram. While many hotel-owners consider this the reason to not treat Instagram as seriously as any of the other social media channels, I say it’s actually a good incentive to look at what you’re doing wrong. Because if your hotel is on Instagram and it’s not making you any bookings, it’s pretty clear something is off. Why waste effort on a platform if it’s nog getting you anything in return? But play it right and Instagram can be a serious bookings platform.

Instagram is not just a ‘fun extra’, it’s a worthy platform, like Twitter and Facebook, to get bookings trough. Over 400 million users use the app monthly, and over 75 million users are online every day. If you’re not on Instagram, you’re missing out on their bookings. Over 75% of the users are between 18-49 years of age, and over half of the users are between 18 and 29 years old.

If you’re not using Instagram (let alone social media) as a bookings channel it’s time to WAKE UP. The most important reason to be on social media? To OWN your bookings. The stronger your social presence, the more bookings it will make you, and the less dependent you will be on 3rd party booking engines like Booking.com & Expedia. More bookings via your own channel means that YOU get to decide your price, and you don’t have to ship tons of money off in commission charges. Social media is a way to be more in charge of your own customers and bookings.

Now that we’ve established the importance of being on social media (and being on Instagram!), I’ve got five tips on what hotels should be doing on Instagram to get bookings.

 

Post quality content
The most important thing. You wouldn’t watch a tv program that’s blurry. You wouldn’t read a book that has spelling errors every three words. So no, people won’t follow your account if your content isn’t great. That means: clean, sharp pictures (doesn’t even have to be professional, you can take them with a good smartphone), of interesting things relating to your hotel. Stop using Instagram as your personal channel. Instagram is an inspiration platform. People want to be inspired by pretty pictures. Keep the behind the scenes stuff for other channels. And remember: it’s better to post nothing than to post something bad.

Engage with followers
If your followers are creating content in your hotel and posting it on their channels, they are essentially giving you free word-of-mouth-promotion to however many followers they have. How rude is it to not thank them and ask them if they’d had a pleasant stay? If followers ask a question, respond to it in a timely manner (24hrs); they might be potential customers. And don’t be afraid to ask questions yourself, to get a conversation started. People like being heard, and they like giving their business to people and brands they like. Use that to your advantage.

Engage with influencers
Influencers are people who have a lot of ‘influence’. This means they usually have a lot of followers on Instagram, but more importantly they have to have lots of likes and comments, because this means people actually enjoy their content, and are ready to listen to their recommendations. Simply put: their followers pay attention to their content. Don’t be afraid to seek out some influencers in your area, and connect with them. Invite them over to experience your fantastic views/stellar cocktails/beautiful suite for a night, in the hopes they will post about it on their social channels for their followers to see.

 

Offer discount codes
If you’d like people to use your own website over a 3rd party booking engine for booking their stay, make sure to give them an incentive to. This could be a discount code, that makes the price of a room trough Instagram just that bit cheaper for them than on a booking engine (and you get to keep the full amount instead of paying commissions!). It’s a win-win situation. Also by choosing a unique discount code for Instagram, you will clearly be able to track how successful it has been by how often it has been used.

Do giveaways
A great way to grow your following and grow your engagement is by organizing an Instagram-giveaway. Think: two free nights in your hotel. Obviously you’d want this post to reach as many people as possible, and the best way to do that on Instagram is by asking people to ‘repost’ the give-away post on their own Instagram-channels. This is basically like a share on Facebook or a retweet on twitter. People can do this by either screenshotting your post and uploading it, or using a 3rd party app for this. This means your brand shows up on their feed, for all their followers to see. And anyone interested in the give away will join in too, etc, etc.

Just consider it like this: it’s not likely anyone will travel to town X just to stay at your hotel. But if you’re an Instagram rockstar, people traveling to town X will only consider staying at one hotel: yours.

Obviously this only scratches the surface of how to be successful on Instagram, but it should give you a great headstart in comparison to your local competitors. Please get in touch trough info[@]exploristamedia.com for your free social media audit for Instagram. Our social media management packages start at €299 a month. And don’t forget to say hi on Instagram @exploristamedia.

 

What is your Instagram-account? We’d love to follow you!

Want to stay updated on our e-book: The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing for Hotels?(How to get bookings and look good while doing it?)