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8 mistakes hotels are making on Facebook (and how to fix them)

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When it comes to the online presence of any B2C business, Facebook is a critical platform. And for the hotel industry it can yield massive benefits, but only when used wisely.

Gentlemen driving horse pulling cart

But despite these potential gains, a shocking number of hotel marketers are using the platform poorly. By missing out on some fundamental principles, their hotels are missing out on bookings and unwittingly damaging their reputation.

Let’s explore some common mistakes and pitfalls, and take a look at how you can go about fixing them.

1 — Being absent and outdated

It’s shocking, but there are still some hotels that are yet to set up a Facebook presence at all. Simply having a Facebook page for your hotel demonstrates that you’re a reputable establishment and that you’re open for business.

But of course, that’s just a start. Once you’re set up, you need to keep your feed active. Whether due to lack of focus, expertise, or manpower, it’s not uncommon to see Facebook feeds left to dry up, and when a customer sees your last post was from 3 years ago they’ll start to wonder how attentive you are.

Facebook is no longer just a channel for pushing promotional messages too. Not responding to comments, live chat messages, or reviews in a timely manner can make your business look uninterested when it comes to customer satisfaction or retention. 

2 — Unbalanced messaging

Good hotels have so much to offer these days. Not just overnight stays, but spas, restaurants, bars, conference facilities, weddings, events, activities, and more. Such a broad and varied offering often leaves various departments fighting for the attention of your social media audience, with the messaging you publish becoming skewed towards one particular offering.

To counter this you need an approach that filters and balances the content you post so Facebook followers will see your full offering. Planning content in advance really helps here, ensuring each area has their time in the sun.

This is also where tactical use of advertising spend comes into play too. By promoting posts about weddings, for example, to those who’ve recently become engaged, you’re ensuring that those who will be interested in what you’re offering will be reached, and those to whom it’s not that relevant aren’t bombarded with it.

3 — Misusing hashtags

Whilst hashtags have their place (keeping track of large scale brand advertising across platforms, tracking event activity, and referencing awareness days), for the most part, they don’t belong on your hotel’s Facebook posts.

There are two simple reasons for this;

  • On Facebook, unlike other social platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are not a commonly used way for users to discover content.
  • Perhaps the biggest reason is this, they just don’t look good. Hashtags tend to bloat posts making them feel more spammy and less visually appealing.

To remedy this, other than making sure you don’t add hashtags to your posts, you should consider tailoring content for each of your social media channels to suit the audience and features of that particular channel.

A common cause is that you’ve configured other channels such as Twitter or Instagram to automatically share the same content to Facebook, which we’d strongly recommend against and suggest deactivating auto-posting features and again, consider and tailor your Facebook content.

4 — Posting irrelevant content

Whilst active feeds are to be encouraged, many establishments appear to post just for the sake of it. This is caused by well-intended requirements from managers, e.g. “we must have 5 posts a week” or “we have to post something every Tuesday at 2pm”. One hotel in particular, who shall remain nameless, posts content daily based on day-of-the-week hashtags (#MondayMotivation, #TravelTuesday, #WeddingWednesday, etc), this is far from advisable.

Such restrictions lead to those responsible for social media to scrabble around for ideas, leading to poor quality or irrelevant posts. 

Screenshot of facebook - uk politicians

Instead think about what makes your hotel unique and what you can offer, you should find that you have a lot of relevant things to say.

5 — Just selling, not being social

Many make the mistake of only pushing sales messages through Facebook, selling, but not being social. Whilst occasional overtly promotional posts are of course okay, you need to consider the customer journey and choose your timing wisely, don’t just pounce.

Take time to court the customer, build a relationship, converse with them, and communicate your unique selling points and character first. After all this is social media, not sales media.

6 — Being social, but never selling

In contrast, some hotels are a little too good and never push for sales, and let’s be honest, as those responsible for hotel marketing, that should be our endgame.

Many even post content about their offering, but fail to consider the next step. Whilst every post shouldn’t be a sales post, it should fit somewhere in the journey, and feature a call-to-action that moves the customer towards that final goal (most often this is a link to a page on your website or booking engine).

7 — Using images poorly

The way you use images in your Facebook posts can have a big impact on how you come across to followers and how followers engage with your posts. The important rules of thumb for using imagery well are to ensure that your images are...

  • Professional quality, well-lit, and composed thoughtfully
  • Consistent with imagery used on your website and other digital channels
  • Sized to fit Facebook’s requirements without being oddly cropped or stretched
  • Use text or graphics minimally

We often find that hotel restaurants promote their menus by simply posting an image or screenshot of the menu itself, which looks bad and performs poorly. Instead try posting occasional photography of the dishes featured on the menu, with a short message and link to the full menu online, which is sure to get diners salivating more than a picture of an A4 piece of paper.

Comparison between picture of food and a picture of a menu

Using high quality food photography can be a much more effective and appealing way to promote your menus over posting the menu itself.

Simple and timely posts of beautiful photography can perform incredibly well on Facebook.

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  • Using social media to build your presence
  • Harness the power of Facebook ads
  • Making sure your website does its job
  • Use email to build repeat business
  • How and why SEO works for hotels

8 — Not investing advertising spend

Some hoteliers see social media as a “free” advertising channel and fail to unlock its true potential.

In fact, Hootsuite recently reported that only 24.2% of all Facebook Pages are making use of paid media, although they add that “the number of paying pages is increasing ... pointing to increased competition for ad space, especially in newsfeed.”

So as well as the investment of time and skills it takes to manage social media well, utilising Facebook’s comprehensive paid advertising manager is clearly a must if you’re hoping to see a decent return on investment.

Personal Facebook feeds are busy places these days, and the posts that aren’t timed well or boosted with advertising spend are quickly lost in the noise as users scroll through their feed. Investing a little advertising budget means that key messages about your hotel can be given much more prevalence and a bigger reach, as well as being pushed out to users who don’t yet know or follow you.

Promoting content and placing ads through Facebook allows you to tap into the platform’s clever targeting tools too. Using these can quickly maximise the marketing spend you’ve already invested by matching your hotel’s offering with interested users, ultimately building a receptive audience for you hotel.

For example, posts about your restaurant could be promoted to those interested in luxury brands and fine dining, or as we mentioned, posts about a wedding fair can get screen time in front of recently engaged users in your area.

Wise use of even a little advertising spend can take your Facebook presence to a new level of growth and engagement, and is essential if you’re looking to see a good return for your overall investment into digital marketing.

The full benefit

Most hotels are still missing out on the full benefit of a professionally managed Facebook presence. If you’re responsible for marketing a hotel, take a minute to vet your profiles against this list, and adapt where necessary. Make sure your Facebook profile represents your establishment well and is optimised for maximum return on investment.

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