The new year is upon us, and it’s the perfect time for hotels to evaluate their social media strategies for 2016.
2015 brought numerous changes and enhancements to some of our favorite social networks.
The debut of live-streaming apps Periscope and Meerkat, along with Facebook’s enhancements in Messaging and Instagram ad management provide opportunities for hotels to cultivate new strategies moving forward.
The biggest new social platforms that emerged this year would Periscope and Meerkat for live streaming.
The live streaming trend will likely continue to gain momentum as more business experiment with the best ways to utilize it.
Hotels, for example, have numerous opportunities – holiday/seasonal events, conferences taking place at the property, spa offerings, dining offerings (i.e. perhaps live stream your bartender making a cocktail), etc.
Many hotels have already been using SnapChat for marketing, and branching off to Meerkat, and/or Periscope allows them to take this behind-the-scenes, real-time video to the next level.
Dolce Hotels is one hotel brand that is using Periscope. They host a weekly broadcast each Wednesday then post the summary on Twitter:
— Dolce Hotels (@DolceHotels) May 13, 2015
Hilton has also jumped on the live-stream bandwagon by live streaming concerts via Periscope as part of their Hilton@PLAY concert series.
In early 2015, Facebook Messenger became available for businesses. In a customer-service oriented industry like hospitality, this is a huge win if utilized effectively.
With Facebook Messenger’s user base topping over 700 million people each month, and experiencing 40% growth from 2014 to 2015, businesses are beginning to utilize it to enhance customer service.
Hyatt was one of the first brands to start distinctly using Facebook Messenger as a customer service tool.
Hyatt uses the platform’s “Businesses on Messenger” feature and incorporated Facebook Messenger into its “Global Control Room” operations — a dedicated social services team of 60 across three global locations that monitors a suite of social media channels 24/7, addressing queries and connecting with Hyatt guests on a “deeper level.”
“The addition of Messenger to our around-the-clock social care efforts was a no-brainer,” said Dan Moriarty, director of digital strategy and activation for Hyatt.
In early December, Facebook debuted a new set of tools designed to facilitate better communication between Page owners and their audiences, meaning more and more hotels will inevitably follow Hyatt’s suit.
Building off of a feature launched in the summer, Facebook now offers control to Page owners to indicate the average length of time it takes for them to respond to messages. Options include “within minutes,” “within an hour,” “within hours” or “within a day.”
There is also a new “Away” setting that can be used when an admin will definitely not be available to respond to messages — such as evenings, holidays, etc. When the Away setting is activated, Page owners can choose to set away messages and/or instant replies, similar to e-mail and autoresponders.
The page’s Activity tab, visible on both mobile and desktop, allows Page owners to easily track and respond to all messages received.
Additionally, the Page admin’s inbox has been redesigned to give more context about an individual they are communicating with. Publicly-available profile information will be featured, and admins can also add their own private notes about people and sort of keep their own files on an individual.
In continuing with the trend of integrating Facebook into the entire customer-service experience, Facebook announced businesses can also install a Facebook messenger box on their websites to utilize it in a similar manner as a website live chat box.
You may have noticed an influx of sponsored Instagram posts in your timeline over the past few months. This is due to the Instagram ad platform having been rolled out to everyone in September.
Businesses can now set up and launch their Instagram ad campaigns through Facebook’s Power Editor. This allows for seamless set up of targeting, budget, creative, etc., in the same way, a Facebook ad could be set up.
The views of these can also be customized, such as desktop vs. mobile, the design of the ad, etc. After you’ve entered all the relevant information, the preview functionality can be used to showcase exactly how the ad will appear in Instagram.
In November, Starwood Hawaii launched their “Share the Aloha” initiative. They were able to create ads for both Facebook and Instagram with the same particular targets to help ensure the campaign was being positioned to the most ideal audience.
What hotels have you noticed setting a high bar in terms of live streaming, Facebook Messaging, or Instagram advertising?