Home' Hotel Management : HM December 2017 Contents I
f it’s not on Instagram, were you even there?” This is
fast becoming the mantra for many millennial travellers,
making it increasingly important for hotels and travel
brands to adopt a solid social media strategy.
But with social newsfeeds evolving from once
exclusively peer-to-peer platforms, to one that allows
brands to engage direct with its clients, it can be difficult
for the user to cut through the irrelevant sponsored posts
to meaningfully connect with companies most aligned
with their interests.
So begins the dilemma: What can hoteliers do to get
noticed and really set them apart from the rest?
Enter Holly Galbraith, an independent Sydney-based
social media guru and digital marketing consultant, who
for the last decade has helped travel brands raise their
When it comes to social media trends shaping the
hotel sector as of late, Galbraith identified influencer-
driven content as one to watch out for.
“It is not a brand new idea, but it is a hot social media
trend for resorts and hotels at the moment,” she told HM.
“ The idea revolves around inviting a person with
a specific niche and a highly engaged social media
following to come and experience your property or
destination with the purpose of them sharing the
experience across their social media channels to expose
your product to their followers.
“In some cases, these influencers may be paid or
sponsored,” Galbraith said.
There’s also been an emerging trend of collaborating
with non-traditional partners.
“ We are seeing tourism businesses partner with charities,
environmental groups, start-ups and other organisations
where they can see purposes aligned,” she said.
Another technique Galbraith said is on the up-and-up
is the use of guest-generated content being used
“ We are seeing this for many brands as people now
want to look beyond carefully curated and styled hotel
shots and understand the real experience,” she said.
“ There are several ways this content is being captured,
such as via hashtags or by hotel staff on site.”
But what if you’re an expert Tweeter with an engaged
audience, but you’re not seeing the same traction as other
social media sites?
Then you should adopt the concept of “platforming”, Galbraith puts simply.
“Platforming is about selecting a couple of social media platforms and putting your
energy into those rather than spreading yourself too thin across multiple channels,” she said.
“It ’s about choosing consciously the platforms you will be active in and putting your
time and energy into those to ensure they get traction and becoming tools for you.
“ This helps you stay focused and not be distracted by the next new social media
platform out there.
“It also helps you get traction on what social platform as you can give it the time it
needs to create value for you,” she said.
When asked which hotel and travel brands were leaders in the social space, Galbraith
does not skip a beat when she answers.
“InterContinental Sydney is one to watch as their commitment is to the customer
experience first,” she said.
“ That translates through to their social media, and that ’s the way it should be for
hotels... leading with the experience not leading with social media.”
A CONSTANT JOURNEY
“Honestly, I don’t think we’ve mastered it yet, but we’re on an exciting journey,”
InterContinental Sydney ’s Director of Marketing, Lee Siefken, told HM. “Over the last
six months we’ve done a lot of learning and testing.”
She credits the hotel group’s creative content and design as something that really
appeals to the digital masses.
“ We love to test and leverage new creative solutions across social; for example FB
Canvas, Instalive, and new video formats. The engagement we’ve seen from these formats
has been very promising,” she said.
When asked if the group “pay to play” on Facebook and Instagram, Siefken said IHG
has a strict rule against buying followers.
“ While we refuse to buy followers, we have invested in Facebook and Instagram
advertising solutions to promote and drive our restaurants, hotel and bespoke experiences
with outstanding success,” she said.
“ There is definitely an art to social advertising, but should you master is making
sure the ROI is impressive and that puts a lot of power back into the hands of the
marketing team.” n
ESSENTIAL SOCIAL MEDIA PRACTICES
Top three social media practices that hotels need to adopt today, according to Holly Galbraith
1. Lead with the experience first. Great social media won’t fix an average product. If your
product is great you will have loads to talk about plus you’ll get others raving about you too.
2. Be really clear about what your ‘content pills’ are – that is what your unique stories and
the things that set you apart from your competitors and talk about those things across
3. Track, measure and report. Understand how what you’re doing across social media is
driving sales or supporting business objectives.
The saying right now is ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ and for the hotel
industry that is yet another social media minefield.
BONNIE TAI looks at some of the hot trends in social media
and how hotels can master it.
46 HM The Business of Accommodation
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