Maintaining Your Social Media Presence Amid COVID-19
The rise in the use of social media comes to many as little surprise. In a new world where domestic and international travel are both severely restricted, would-be wanderers are turning to their phones to get much needed interaction. Facebook saw that Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled within the first couple of weeks after the virus hit Italy, and usage of the app overall went up by almost 70%. This stems from the cancellation of hundreds of events worldwide, as some creators are taking up streaming to fill the gaps. With so many users now online, it provides an opportunity for businesses to keep themselves relevant in the minds of consumers. This effort may seem futile at first, but it’s important for your business to remain visible to future travelers. Social media is a lightning-fast environment where content is published, shared, and cycled out regularly, so in order to stay relevant to your followers, it’s critical that you post frequently. There are a couple of different strategies hotels can use to stay relevant on social media during COVID-19.
Property Updates and Availability
One easy way to keep your followers informed on your social media page is through posting updates about your hotel, including the availability of its amenities and services. Any and all changes you’ve made as a result of COVID-19 should be broadcast across all platforms. Doing so keeps guests informed about the status of your hotel’s amenities and services if they need somewhere to stay, or are hoping to visit in the future. In a recent webinar discussion from HSMAI, 75% of polled users said they want to hear from hotels on social media. HSMAI asked travelers exactly what they want to hear, and the results are shared in the graphic below. The #1 thing people want to hear about on social media is packages and specials for the future. This is an exciting result for hotel managers, who are also hoping for future bookings. Notably, about 58% want to hear what hotels are doing to protect guests and staff, and 49% want to know how the coronavirus is affecting the local area for the hotel.
Sharing this information makes an excellent starting point, but it can only be the beginning of your posts. The news is exhausting to many users, and it’s unlikely that your initial COVID-19 updates will change too frequently, especially when it comes to broader topics like cancellation policies or new cleaning procedures.
The polled users from HSMAI also expressed a desire to hear positive stories about the local area, or how your hotel is helping the local community. These tend to also be broader subjects that can suffice for another post or two per week. This begs the question: what do you post about next? Or, what do you post about if you have had to announce a temporary closure to your hotel? Luckily, there are ways to keep the conversation moving online.
Maintaining a Conversation
A wide variety of strategies are still open to hotel managers seeking to continue their online presence. An article from HospitalityNet suggests taking the time to highlight your staff or posting more uplifting stories about the local community, but one piece of advice sticks out among the rest.
“Use this as an opportunity to stay front of mind during this time – but be mindful of everyone’s situation. Now is not the time to flaunt things people can’t buy, but it is the time to encourage people to keep doing as much of what they love in these challenging times.”
The overall message is important to hear, but you should also specifically consider taking inspiration from encouraging travelers to do as much of what they love as possible while staying indoors. You can choose to talk about anything: baking, meditation, reading, or other forms of artistic expression can all be framed in a social media post to start a conversation. The benefit of this is if someone is scrolling their social media feed and they find your post, they might want to engage with it by sharing their own story in the comments or simply liking it. Boosting the engagement of your posts will keep your business relevant to the algorithms of each social media site, resulting in your posts being shown regularly on your audience’s news feed.
Figuring out what to post on social media throughout each week can be challenging, but don’t feel the need to make every post about your property. Building and engaging with an audience in new ways will help future travelers remember your property when travel becomes safe for all once again. If you’re a current customer with Travel Media Group’s social media program, get in touch with your client success representative to learn more about how we’re generating maximum engagement across your social platforms. For more resources about COVID-19, check out our dedicated resource center.