How Hotels Can Increase Engagement & Build Loyalty with Instagram

By Garrett Kingsbury Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Cendyn | February 10, 2019

This past June, Instagram announced that it had reached a billion active users, which means if your hotel isn't using Instagram, you are definitely missing out on connecting with a huge number of potential guests. This seems especially true when you consider that 80% of those users follow at least one business brand. For hotels, using Instagram is a win-win, it's free and the opportunity for engagement is endless – as long as you're using the platform in a compelling way. If you're new to Instagram, or just looking for a few tips to keep your content engaging, we've put together a quick guide of Dos and Don'ts to make your IG account a fan favorite. 

How to Make the Most of Instagram 

1. Focus on Images of People

Instagram is visual, so using quality images is important, but not just any image will do. While it may be tempting to just post pictures of empty hotel rooms, empty restaurants and empty pool areas under the belief that people can then imagine themselves in that space – it just isn't true. People vastly prefer looking at photographs of other people, not sterile, empty spaces. So take this lesson to heart and post quality pictures of people enjoying your hotel to the fullest. Whether it's a group of friends sipping cocktails by the pool, a couple sharing breakfast in bed, or a nightclub filled with smiling faces and fierce outfits, sharing images of your guests enjoying themselves is the quickest way to grab a user's eye and captivate their imagination. 

2. Use Fun & Creative Captions

An IG post without a caption is just not engaging. You need to add context to everything you publish on Instagram in order to make an impact. Captions also allow you to showcase your unique brand voice and add personality to your posts. As a platform, Instagram is fairly casual, so while you want to avoid veering into an area that could be offensive or unprofessional, captions offer a great opportunity to showcase some levity – especially if you are a luxury brand looking to connect with a younger audience. After all, vacations should be a light and fun experience. 

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.