5 Ways Boutique Hotels Can Fight the Low Seasons
4 min to read
Fighting seasonality is one of the greatest challenges for businesses in the travel and hospitality industry. And while no measure of marketing may ever be able to fully remedy the off-season, social media can be a powerful way to compensate for lost traffic. As a boutique hotel, your social media marketing strategy should be focused on two main objectives:
- Inspire travel during the slow months
- Create lasting brand awareness for the return of peak season
Here are 5 Ways Your Boutique Hotel Can Use Social Media Marketing to Fight Seasonality
1) Take Advantage of Live Video
Effective digital marketing needs to be current, active, and visual. Over the past few years, more and more tools have emerged that enable boutique hotels to tell their compelling story. Taking advantage of live video on Facebook, SnapChat, or Instagram is a great way to humanize your social media marketing and transport your audience.
Include shots of your staff, your hotel’s amenities, and unique features about your location. Additionally, most of these platforms send users notifications when your account is live. This is helpful for keeping your hotel top of mind, which is crucial during these slower months.
2) Host a Contest or Giveaway on Facebook
As Facebook continues to prioritize sponsored content, organic reach is getting more difficult to achieve by the day. However, there are some growth hacks that can help your page’s posts go viral across news feeds. One of them is to get your viewers to share your content for you. Do this by hosting a contest.
Create a Facebook post offering a free night’s stay, and ask users to like, share, and tag in the comments with who they would bring with them. This will boost your Facebook reach exponentially and get potential customers excited about your offer.
Although it may seem counterintuitive to offer free accommodation during the low season, you can still make profit through your hotel’s restaurant, spa, and other amenities that would have otherwise remained empty.
3) Share User-Generated Content on Instagram
User-Generated Content is an invaluable tool for brands because it creates consumer trust and encourages engagement.
Encourage guests to check-in at your location, tag your account in posts, and upload their own images from your hotel as user-generated content. Reposting your followers content makes your feed more personable and engaging, and also provides you with a supply of quality content for your social media marketing calendar. Create a branded hashtag and incentivize followers to use it for the chance to be featured on your feed.
This will not only create a buzz around your brand, but get you more followers who are interested in your hotel's offering.
4) More Conversing and Less Broadcasting
During the low season, it’s more important than ever to share where customers are listening. Although Twitter is widely known for the combination of conversing and broadcasting, different tools have emerged. For instance, most hotels are opting for WhatsApp messenger as an extension of their concierge service.
One of the most significant advantages of WhatsApp is that it offers anytime, any-place customer service. WeChat has also strategically placed itself as an essential marketing player with close to a billion users on a daily basis. They’ve also recently implemented mini programs which enable the user to interact with companies and also complete transactions such as making a hotel reservation and booking flights.
5) Sponsor Your Social Media Content
With organic reach getting more difficult to come by, it’s important to incorporate some sponsored content into your social media strategy. Sponsoring your content gives you the power to deliver your ads to users in your target market and who are likely to respond to your calls to action.
Facebook and Instagram provide great channels for boutique hotels to advertise through because they are effective and affordable. In fact, travel and hospitality businesses have some of the lowest reported Cost-per-Click on Facebook ads compared to other industries.
Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Boutique Hotel
An effective strategy is not a fixed plan, but a continuous process of research, implementation, feedback, and iteration. This is especially true when it comes to social media marketing because the goal is to create an engaging dialogue with your followers and potential guests.
But don't forget that social media marketing uses platforms that allow a two way flow of communication. And with all platforms, there's bound to be negative comments and criticism. Boutique hotels are especially susceptible to this. With USPs steeped in luxury and amenities that many other hotels can't match, guests book them for that once in a lifetime appeal; as a compliment to their dream holiday.
So, a boutique hotel must be prepared to face high levels of scrutiny. It's important to harness the criticism and turn the dialogue into positive. Let your followers know that you're improving. Because regardless if your boutique hotel has a social media account or not, the ability for customers to criticise on social media platforms is there, with potentially massive ramifications. Mitigate the inevitable, as a way to keep potential guests interested, and show existing customers that you are worth their return.
Remember that your main objectives are to inspire guests to visit during the off season and keep your hotel at top of mind for the return of the peak season. Check in with your strategy on a regular basis to make sure it is still on the right track for these objectives.