Instagram for Hotels: Using images that work.

 Source: Ace Hotels

Source: Ace Hotels

In 2016, most hoteliers understand that Instagram should be incorporated as a part of a their online marketing strategy, presenting a brand image that is appealing to their market. Yet, just like any hotel marketing campaign, Instagram requires a thoughtful strategy to ensure that it is used effectively.

 Instagram @Whotels

Instagram @Whotels

Before I jump into it, if you're not yet unconvinced that Instagram is a sophisticated way to market your hotel, consider these facts:

Instagram now has 400 million active users

75% of Instagram users are outside the US

Over 60% of users log in daily, making it the second most engaged network after Facebook

30% of internet users are now on Instagram

So, you may feel that smartphone photos of puppies and food porn trending on this platform somehow devalue the medium as a legitimate marketing medium, but as far as reaching a growing and active audience goes, Instagram is incredibly powerful. Let's explore the most effective way to use it for your hotel.

1. Do your research.

Explore what kind of images other hotels are posting.

Start looking at relevant content that is already on Instagram which can help you generate your own unique ideas. Take a look at what your competitors are doing.

What photos are they posting and what kind of engagement are they getting? In addition, search your hotel name using a hashtag to see if anyone has already tagged your hotel in a photo on Instagram.

It's also important to keep in mind that the photos that your hotel shares should be completely unique and true to your property’s personality. Authenticity is paramount. If you're hotel is located in the Old City of Barcelona, images should reflect its location and surrounding neighbourhood. Instagram allows the hotel an opportunity to put a face to the hotel. Based on the content that you are sharing you can enhance your hip and trendy image or confirm your hotel as a peaceful, quiet retreat. It's not about copying someone else.

 Instagram  @Whotels

Instagram @Whotels

2. Extend your photo gallery

consider Instagram a way to further leverage your professional photos

Use the professional photos you've had taken at your hotel to highlight your amenities, but make sure to keep content entertaining and constantly changing to show the dynamic life at the hotel. People can only tolerate so many photos of your balcony suite before it gets a bit old.

 Instagram  @fparis  (Four Seaons Hotel - George V)

Instagram @fparis (Four Seaons Hotel - George V)

3. Stay Trendy

Food, roof terraces, and poolside events are all the rage

If your hotel has a great restaurant make sure to include images of food, chef, people dining, or enjoying a nice cocktail. Food culture and food porn are among the most popular content on Instagram. Have a roof terrace with a great view of the city? Exploit it. Show those romantic moments of guests taking in sunset or soaking up the sun poolside.

 Instagram  @hotelomm  ( Hotel Omm in Barcelona is home to the Michelin star restaurant, Moca Roo)

Instagram @hotelomm ( Hotel Omm in Barcelona is home to the Michelin star restaurant, Moca Roo)

4. Go Behind the Scenes

Show the human side of your hotel

Giving your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your hotel will not only provide for interesting content, but will also humanise it. These images show the hardworking people and dedicated staff that help make a guest’s stay as seamless as possible.

 Instagram  @Casaybonay

Instagram @Casaybonay

5. Highlight your local neighbourhood

Use instagram to develop a visual neighbourhood guide for your followers

Engagement through area attractions is another excellent way to increase interest in your hotel and its surroundings. Pictures from around the city, neighbourhood attractions, and local hidden gems will highlight what your city has to offer and will provide an interesting visual area guide for followers. By showcasing things to do in your city, people may be more inclined to plan their next trip to visit you.

 Instagram  @wythehotel

Instagram @wythehotel

6. Interact with followers and guests

User-generated images can be great for building your audience

Stay current with user-generated content. Your guests can be an excellent photo resource for you to tap into, especially bloggers and journalists. Repost their images to your hotel's feed. Host an Instagram contest asking followers or guests to tag the best photo they took during their stay. Put some faith in your users and build trust and loyalty between your hotel brand and guests.

  Loews Hotels  in North America used their guests Instagram photos inspired by the hashtag  #travelforreal  to create its 2015 marketing campaign.

Loews Hotels in North America used their guests Instagram photos inspired by the hashtag #travelforreal to create its 2015 marketing campaign.

Finally, as with any marketing strategy, staying active on Instagram is key! Instagram should be included as a regular update for social media and requires a proactive strategy as well as daily management.

For more information on visual content creation for your hotel and professional photos you can leverage, please visit my website or get in touch!