January 14, 2020
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How to use Instagram for your hotel marketing
Hotels and Instagram go hand in hand. The visual social media platform is one of the best ways to showcase everything your hotel has to offer, with millions of active users just a click away.
 
Perhaps you’re opening a brand new hotel, or you’ve just had a redesign and want to shout about your great new look. Or maybe you’ve relied on repeat visitors, word of mouth and traditional advertising up to now and you want to reach out to a whole new customer base online this year.
 
In this article, we’ll find out a little bit more about the platform itself, which type of account is right for you and how you can use Instagram to promote your hotel in a creative and authentic way.
 
Remember, all hotels need reliable commercial insurance to protect them from the financial impact of problems associated with buildings, stock, employer liability and more.
 
Insurance Choice has arranged specialist insurance cover at competitive rates for over 20 years, so you’re in safe hands with us.
 

Instagram facts

Let’s start by checking out some stats around the platform itself, shared by Hootsuite. Did you know that a billion people around the world use the photo and video-sharing network every month? In terms of male and female users, it’s pretty evenly split with over half (63%) logging in at least once a day.
 
Users spend around half an hour scrolling through content each day and around 200 million people visit at least one business profile during that time. Great news for hotels, B&Bs or guesthouses just like yours, as users are checking out content from brands as well as their friends.
 
Instagram Stories is one of the most popular functions in the app, with a third of Stories viewed created by businesses. If you have yet to create Stories on your account, what are you waiting for?
 
A word of warning, though – if you’re thinking about setting up an Instagram account for your business for the first time, make sure you have the capacity to keep up with posting new content.
 
According to the stats, most brands post an average of 2.5 stories a week. Content is constantly changing and customers following your profile will want to see fresh, exciting posts on a weekly – if not daily – basis. Make sure you can keep up with demand.
The Instagram app logo

What type of account do you need?

You may already have a personal Instagram account that you share with family and friends and follow the odd celeb. But when you’re running a busy social media account for business purposes, it is considered best practice to set up a dedicated business account. This will give you access to more tools for measuring the success of your hotel marketing campaigns so you can better target and attract more customers in the future.
 
Instagram currently has three types of account: Personal, Business and Creator.
 
Personal accounts are designed for exactly that – personal use – and don’t come with any extra reporting tools. You also have the ability to make your account private if you have a personal account.
 
Creator accounts are aimed at social media influencers – people who make money from paid-for partnerships with certain brands. Creator accounts benefit from a dashboard where the influencer can see all the user insights and analytics so they can prove to their brands how many people are viewing and engaging with their posts. They can also streamline their messages easier than personal or business accounts, as it is assumed they will be dealing with a high level of interactions from people they don’t necessarily know.
 
Business accounts are best if you intend to post and manage content on behalf of a business or brand. Some of the main benefits include:
 

• Access to Instagram Insights

This allows you to see how many people are viewing, engaging and commenting on your posts.
 

• Management of your account via third-party scheduling tools

This is a great benefit if you want to plan and schedule your content for several weeks or even months ahead.
 

• Ability to add a contact button

This enables your potential customers to call or email you or see a map with your exact location.
 

• Ability to add links to your Instagram Stories when you have over 10,000 followers.

 

• Ability to create ads and promoted posts. You create these on Facebook and then share them to your Instagram account.

 
If you’re completely new to Instagram and you want to set up a Business account, the company gives you an easy step-by-step guide here.
 A women laying down signing into Instagram on her phone

Insta-101

Here are a few must-use features that will help you to make your Instagram account even more engaging:
 

Instagram Stories

Stories are images or videos that appear in a slideshow format. They can only be seen for 24 hours from the time of posting. You can add text, drawings or emoticons to your images or clips to make them more engaging.
 

Instagram Live

This feature in Instagram Stories enables you to stream video to all of your followers in real time. This is especially useful if you have a special event you want to share with your followers as they’ll be able to watch events unfold as they happen. Your Stories will appear at the top of follower feeds and will be flagged with a Live icon when you’re broadcasting live.
 

IGTV

This is an app that can be used either with Instagram or on its own and is for viewing longer-form videos up to an hour in duration. Essentially it’s like Instagram’s version of YouTube. You create your videos (make sure they’re in a portrait format) and then edit and upload them when you’re ready. Aim for videos of between three and 10 minutes maximum to start with to keep your viewers interested. Include relevant hashtags to make your videos more findable.
 

@mentions

Mentions on Instagram is where you mention another profile by using @ and then their username. It might be guests, other businesses you have partnerships with, staff and so on. They will get a notification in their Activity feed when you mention them.
 

@stickers

Stickers can be added to your images and videos in Instagram not only to make them more engaging but also to help you reach your Instagram marketing goals. Whether they’re clickable, animated or just static mentions, they all help to make your posts more interesting and fun for your followers.
 

How to get your hotel Insta-ready

Once you’ve set up your Business account on Instagram, the fun can really begin.
 
This is your chance to get creative. Instagram is all about creating a visually-appealing profile that people want to follow, and really bringing your hotel and brand to life. Think about which images and videos will work well together in your grid – you’ll want them to all complement one another and reflect your brand identity and values. Use Instagram’s filters to enhance the shot rather than change it completely – you want guests to recognise the hotel when they arrive!
 
Think about all the best bits of your hotel – what are its unique selling points? Perhaps you’re in a convenient city-centre location or tucked away in the idyllic countryside, or maybe you’ve just invested in a brand new swimming pool or spa. Whatever it is, show it off! Walk around your hotel and make a note of all the Insta-worthy areas – and plan on refreshing the ones that aren’t.
A hotel buffet breakfast laid out nicely

How to theme your Instagram content

Keeping up with the consistent need for fresh marketing content can seem overwhelming. That’s why it’s a good idea to create a content calendar as we mentioned earlier. Having some go-to themes for your content means you’ll never be starting from scratch.
 
Here are a few of our favourite ways to theme Instagram content for a hotel:

Behind-the-scenes content

Some people love to know what’s going on behind the scenes at their favourite hotels. Share some exclusive ‘access all areas’ content that guests don’t usually get to see. Perhaps a video of your head chef cooking up a storm in the kitchen or some flower arranging tips from the florist you work with on events.
 

Get guests involved

Glowing real-life testimonials from guests are the Holy Grail of social media content for hotels. Encourage guests to share their own pictures and videos enjoying the hotel and its facilities and ask them to tag the hotel in any posts. You can then see these and reshare the best ones.
 

Set up a selfie booth

Everyone loves a good selfie so why not create a few dedicated areas for them in your hotel? That way, you get to control the background and have some subtle branding in the shot at the same time.
 

Share hotel trivia

Has your hotel been standing for over 100 years? What was it before it was a hotel? Have you had any special or celebrity guests over the years? Sharing fun facts and trivia about your establishment will help to build a connection with guests before and after their stay.
 

Focus on food

Instagram helped to supercharge the trend for sharing food pictures. Shout about your hotel’s foodie credentials by sharing snaps of what’s being served right now. Why not share a video of a cocktail-making class or a special birthday dessert being prepared in your kitchen?
 

Highlight key dates

From Valentine’s Day to Halloween, key national dates can provide inspiration for your Instagram content. Imagine a shot of all your four-legged guests on national Love Your Pet Day (20th February 2020 if you’re wondering).
 

Take a poll

Instagram Stories should be as interactive as possible to help drive engagement with your brand, and one way of doing this is by adding a poll. You could ask guests to vote on their favourite view from the hotel, their favourite dessert from the restaurant, which spa treatment they could do with right now, etc. Just remember to enable your push notifications so that you know when someone has cast their vote.
 

Talk about charity partnerships

If you have any special affiliations with charities or you host any charity events throughout the year, make sure you talk about them on your social channels, tagging the relevant organisations where necessary. Also shout about your eco credentials and your hotel’s sustainability efforts.
 

Shout about special events

Your hotel will no doubt hold special events throughout the year – weddings, Christmas and New Year celebrations and so on. Make sure your content reflects the special events taking place both at the hotel and near to your location. Visitors to the area will need a place to stay, after all.
 

Use weekday hashtags

A super-quick way to theme your content is by using the days of the week. Look for hashtags like:
#TravelTuesday
#WineWednesdays
#ThrowbackThursday
#SundayFunday
Tag your content so that it shows up when users search for these hashtags.
 

Promote your neighbourhood

Give your guests some idea about what else they can do while they’re visiting your hotel. Talk about local attractions – especially if you have promotions running them – and give your guests more ideas. Talking about things beyond your own brand will make you sound more authentic.
 An iPad with Instagram open on it's screen

Hotels getting it right on Instagram

So we’ve talked about the theory of how to theme your Instagram content, but which hotel brands are getting it right?
 
If you need a little more Instagram inspiration, take a look at these popular hotel brands to see how they do it:
 
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
@burjkhalifa, 1.5 million followers

Ushuaia, Ibiza
@ushuaiaibiza, 625,000 followers
 
Marriott Hotel Group
@marriotthotels, 443,000 followers
 
Hilton Hotel Group
@hiltonhotels, 304,000 followers
 
Plaza Athenee, Paris
@plaza_athenee, 287,000 followers
 
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
@caesarspalace, 274,000 followers
 
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
@fairmonthotels, 156,000 followers
 

Protecting your hotel

Whether you want to protect a small boutique B&B or larger multiple-room establishment, the team at Insurance Choice can help you find the right level of cover for your specific hotel needs.
 
Hotel and guest house commercial insurance policies can include cover for things like:
 
• Buildings and contents
• Fixtures and fittings
• Money
• Loss of licences
• Stock, food and alcohol
• Public liability
• Employers’ liability

 
Spreading the cost of commercial insurance is easy thanks to our flexible payment solutions. Talk to the team today to see what we can do for you.
 
Get a quote today.