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Seasonal Social: How-to leverage your social channels to maximise bookings year-round

If you’re not on social media already, you should be! Seventy-four percent of adults are on social media and over 148.3 million bookings are made online each year within the hospitality trade. Not only are social channels rife with potential customers, they’re also the place where customer decisions are shaped. Most social media users inevitably gather travel inspiration from social channels such as Facebook and Instagram, and friends and family are a big influence on people’s travel plans.

So how do you leverage your social channels to maximise your business’s bookings year-round? We list several simple tips to make your social channels work for you through every season.

Get started and stay up-to-date

First things first, ensure you’re on the right social channels for your audience and populate your accounts with the most relevant and up-to-date information. For example, make sure all your profiles correctly link back to your sites home page and provide any other relevant profile information to make it as easy as possible for customers on their buying journeys.

Establish your brand’s tone of voice

Once your accounts are as complete and up-to-date as possible, stay consistent with your tone and posting frequency to establish an authentic online presence that customers can trust. Importantly, avoid being too sales-driven and robotic – speak in a friendly, humanised tone and don’t be afraid to go for humour if it fits your brand.

If you need even more help to get started, competitions can be a great way to garner interest and increase followers quickly and easily.

Experiment with promotions and competitions

More than just a quick scheme to increase followers and engagement, promotions and competitions can boost the awareness of your brand and what you have to offer. This becomes even more effective if your offers are exclusive to your social followers. For example, a simple yet effective competition that keeps giving beyond the expiration date, is a photo contest.

Incentivise your past and current guests to share their holiday photos from their time at your establishment by offering discounts or even a free meal or nights stay as a prize. As customers share their happy photos online, others can gain inspiration for their own travels as they see people just like them enjoying their time, potentially leading to conversions. Even better, if you run these competitions monthly, you’ll reap the benefits year-round.

Encourage customer-generated content

Similar to the photo contest example, you can encourage customers to create content for and about your brand by simply asking for it.

Start conversations with your guests and interact with them on your social channels to gain organic testimonials or reward customers for their reviews. An easy way to encourage reviews and ratings on TripAdvisor, Expedia, Facebook or any other site is to provide a small reward like a free drink at the hotel bar or free dessert on their next visit.  For a more detailed guide on managing online reviews read our blog How to Mitigate and Manage Online Reviews.

Create organic and paid content

If you have the capacity to run a blog on your site, this is a great way to develop inspiring content that you can share on your social channels that links back to your site. ‘Listicles’ like ‘10 reasons why you should visit the North East in Autumn’ are easily digested, highly shareable, a great way to inspire customers, drive traffic to your site and ultimately leverage your social channels for bookings. In addition, posting high-quality photos and videos of your business is a great way to showcase your hotel’s features or your restaurant’s seasonal menu to your existing followers.

However, combining your organic content with pay-per-click advertising can make your social channels work even harder to maximise year-round bookings. Social PPC campaigns can target specific demographics and generate deeper user engagement with the ability to encourage likes, follows, check-ins, shares and more.

Provide customer service here-and-now

When your customers mention you or explicitly address you with questions, reply! There’s nothing worse to an eager, potential customer than messaging a brand and getting a late response, a dry response or even worse, no response at all. If your customers want to communicate with you on your social channels then you should be equipped to do so in a timely fashion with an accommodating attitude.

More importantly, when a customer asks a question or makes a complaint on Twitter, it’s best to keep that conversation on Twitter. This is especially important for disgruntled customers. Providing customer service on the platform where the conversation started makes life easier on the customer as it was their choice of channel to communicate. Whilst it might be best to move negative conversations to a private message, always try to keep the conversation on the customer’s selected platform to ease further tensions. Being available to your customer on social allows you to steer the narrative and encourage bookings by directly communicating with customers one-on-one. It’s not enough to generate weekly content; high-quality customer service can really make a difference on your year-round bookings.

In fact, service recovery can be extremely profitable and research published by the Harvard Business Review has shown that rectifying mistakes can make customers more likely to recommend you and become ambassadors of your company than if their experience ran like clockwork.

If these tasks sound daunting, we can help. At AlphaGraphics, we specialise in helping hospitality and leisure businesses deliver data-driven, automated marketing campaigns including creative, eye-catching and innovative social media campaigns to improve lead generation. To find out more, visit: