Hospitality Social Media Marketing News July 16, 2019

In two short weeks, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have all either announced updates or made updates to their platforms that will impact social media accounts for businesses in the hospitality industry. Keep reading to see all the changes and what they mean for hotels and resorts.

Facebook Ads Organic “Top Fans” Targeting Option 

According to Social Media Today, Facebook is rolling out a new feature that allows Pages to target their “top fans” with organic posts, showing the content only to them. This could be used to thank them, share exclusive content, or even try to increase the likelihood that big Page supporters see specific updates.

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Image source: Social Media Today 

In order to use this feature, you need to have the “Top Fans” badge enabled for your Page. This can be done under your Settings under the “Facebook Badges” section.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: This new feature is a good opportunity to foster a community that you may already have on Facebook while leveraging an exclusivity that can bring people closer together. Consider offering exclusive discounts or first-access to amenities around your hotel, or run specials specifically for your top fans. This will keep people engaging consistently.

Facebook Released Information on Comment Ranking 

Facebook recently released information regarding what signals they use to rank the quality of comments on public posts, determining what shows up when someone is scrolling past a post in their feed. They look for the following:

●     Integrity signals, like whether or not the Community Standards are violated

●     What users want according to surveys, which is a signal Facebook has left vague and described as “the types of comments people want to see”

●     How users are interacting with the comment, including whether they’re commenting or what type of reaction they use

●     Poster actions, like hiding, deleting, or engaging comments

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: The recent update was designed to reduce clickbait tactics that some users and Pages utilize to try to get more attention on the platform. Hotels and resorts can use this update to their favor in attempt to get strong comments that benefit you more visibility. If someone comments about how their stay with you was the best part of their whole vacation, give it as much engagement as possible, using a “love” reaction and leaving a comment designed to generate more conversation. More visible positive social proof is always good.

Facebook Is Removing Fields in Page Descriptions 

Starting on August 1st of this year, Facebook will be removing certain fields in the Page description area. We know that the fields that will be removed definitely include (but may not be limited to) the following:

●     Company Overview

●     Affiliation

●     Mission

●     Biography

●     Personal Interests

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Head over to your Facebook Page now and take a look to see what– if any– information you currently have in these sections. If there is anything of value there that could impact how potential guests perceive your brand or interact with it, try to add it into other sections of the Page description. This information would most likely be in the “Company Overview” and “Mission” sections of your Page.

Instagram Brings Ads to Explore Section 

Instagram has announced that they’ll be bringing ads to their Explore Feed. When users click on an image or video in their Explore feed, they’re then able to scroll through similar content that Instagram has compiled for them. This is where the ads will show up, looking just like Instagram’s current newsfeed ads.

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What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: According to Instagram, more than 50% of all accounts visit the Explore section of the app at least once per month, so this is a good opportunity for more ad placements on the platform. More ad placements can help stabilize the existing demand in the marketplace, which could be good for ad costs.

We don’t know yet exactly how these ads will perform in terms of reach, engagement, brand lift, and conversions, but Instagram Ads typically yield high results across the board.

Twitter Tests Direct Message Prompts 

Twitter is currently testing direct message prompts, which allow you to instantly share links through direct messages to those who you talk to regularly. It’s designed to help users share tweets and connect a little easier. This is similar to Facebook’s “Share” option, which allows users to share a post in a direct message instead of sharing it on the user’s or Page’s wall.

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What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: It’s possible that this could be used to engage with top influencers and brand ambassadors in the hospitality industry, engaging them with content that’s genuinely relevant to them. If your resort Tweeted about a new expansion publicly, you could send a DM to a key few industry influencers that you have some sort of relationship and even ask if they want a first glimpse.

Lodging Interactive Launches All-Inclusive Website, Social Media and Reputation Management Packages

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its all-inclusive full-service digital marketing packages. For one monthly price properties can now choose from a variety of digital marketing packages. Digital marketing packages include website design and digital marketing, social media marketing and engagement, and guest review responses services.

“For nearly twenty years we have continued to develop hospitality focused digital marketing products and services to ensure our clients maximize their online visibility and revenues,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder and CEO. “Today’s hospitality digital marketing landscape is very complex, and our all-inclusive marketing packages simplifies things a great deal for hoteliers.”

Lodging Interactive’s all-inclusive marketing packages include:

  • Website Design & Development
  • Website Digital Marketing Services (SEM)
  • Social Media Marketing & Social Engagement Services
  • Reputation Management & Guest Response Services

Packages details can be found by visiting: https://lodginginteractive.com/turnkey-packages/.

“And while we continue to offer customized digital marketing solutions for hotels, now any hotel regardless of budget, can compete effectively online with our all-inclusive marketing packages,” added Mr. Vallauri.

All website design agreements include ADA WCAG 2.1 compliance using the most sophisticated AI machine learning technologies and are developed using open source technologies without any

proprietary content management system (CMS). “Many competitors build hotel websites that use proprietary content management systems. Doing so makes it difficult, if not impossible, for hotel clients to leave the agency with their websites. In essence, the website cannot operate without the agency’s proprietary content management system behind it; we refuse to do this. We believe our clients should always have the ability to move the website to another agency if they’re not satisfied with our services,” stated Mr. Vallauri.

To learn how the Lodging Interactive all-inclusive packages can benefit your property or for more information please visit LodgingInteractive.com or call 877-291-4411.

About Lodging Interactive

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing, social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The Company provides cost-effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants, and spas.

commingle:engage, the Company’s social media and reputation management division, has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually.

Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.

The Company’s Founder & CEO, DJ Vallauri, formerly served on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter and is a Forbes.com Agency Council contributor. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

Contact

DJ Vallauri
President & Founder
Phone: 877-291-4411

Read The Latest Hospitality Related Social Media Marketing News – June 1, 2019

Social media evolves so quickly that so much has already happened since our last edition of our biweekly newsletter. Facebook is shaking up the algorithm again, Twitter has rolled out new retweeting features, and Instagram Stories just got even more impressive reach. We’ll go over all of this and more in this newsletter, and explain what exactly it means for you.

Facebook’s New Algorithm Prioritizes “Worthwhile” Content

Facebook announced two algorithm updates recently. The first prioritizes content from friends that an individual might want to hear from most. The second prioritizes links that a person might consider “most worthwhile.”

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: The second algorithm update that focuses on “worthwhile” links is something that hotels and resorts should pay attention to. Offer links that your audience will find value from– like links to travel information they may need or fun things to do around your resort– instead of just spamming links to your site. This will not only help you get more clicks, but rank higher in the algorithm.

Facebook Clears Up that Clear History Tool

Facebook plans to release its “Clear History” tool in the coming months, which will allow users to manage and even disconnect their off-Facebook activity from their user profile. This is designed to be an improvement in transparency. They’ve acknowledged that it may impact targeting, but it will not impact analytics.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: We’ve all been worried about what exactly the “Clear History” tool will mean, because many of us use Facebook’s advanced marketing to show relevant ads to niche audiences. Some of Facebook’s most powerful tools– including the pixel– may not be effective moving forward. Retargeting is going to look a lot different on platform, which may mean that we’ll need to rely more on other platforms like Google Display Ads to make up for it.

Facebook Launched Automated Ads Builder

Facebook has released several new automation ad tools designed to help businesses improve and streamline their Facebook advertising.

New tools include:

●     The ability to create up to six different versions of your ads automatically with suggestions from Facebook on CTAs, text, and other creatives based on your Page. Once active, they’ll show you the best-performing option.

●     Tailored audience suggestions based on data from your Page.

●     Recommended budgets based on your goal.

●     Fast notifications regarding your ads, including ad performance and suggestions to improve them.

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What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: For hotels and resorts just breaking into Facebook Ads, automated ads can help you get used to the system and yield some early insights into creatives that may be effective. These ads are not, however, typically going to be a true replacement for custom-written copy that contain intentional messaging and offers to drive action. This is a useful feature, but shouldn’t be used as a substitute for manual ad creation for the most part.

Facebook Updates Video Ranking

In addition to updating the big algorithm, Facebook is also changing how videos are prioritized in the feed.

Video will now be prioritized based on the following criteria:

●     Loyalty and intent, which includes repeat viewership

●     Viewing duration, with more weight on videos keeping users engaged for at least one minute

●     Originality, so videos that are “unoriginal” or that are involved insharing schemes will be demoted

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Image source: Facebook 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Video has been a crucial part of social media marketing, and as long as hotels and resorts are creating quality content that their audience wants to see, this algorithm update could help. Try incorporating more live video into the mix, and have videos like “Ten Things to Do in Santa Monica” or “Rental Car or Uber: What’s Right for Your Vacation?” that will give guests information they’ll need when visiting you.

Twitter Retweets Now Support GIFs, Videos, and Images

Previously, when users on Twitter retweeted a status, they could only comment with text. Now Twitter is allowing users to include images, GIFs, and videos in their retweet responses.

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What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Twitter has been working to find ways that encourage users to have more meaningful conversations on the platform. Hotels and resorts can use this to their advantage. Not only will visual components add a level of originality to a retweet and help it stand out, but the right images and videos can help you to promote your location too.

Share images or videos pertaining to your resort when appropriate, and use GIFs and images to contribute to the conversation in a branded way.

Instagram Adds to Explore Tab

Instagram is shaking up their Explore tab. There will now be a navigation bar that features pinned shortcuts to Shopping and IGTV, which will then be followed with topics tailored to each user’s interests like “travel” or “food.”

The explore grid will also now feature Stories, giving them even more visibility.

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Image source: Instagram 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Instagram’s Explore section is used by more than 50% of its audience every month, and this is one of the top ways users discover new brands and accounts. The ability to more easily connect with users interested in “Travel” is a great opportunity, so try to increase the likelihood of appearing here by using plenty of travel-related hashtags like #wanderlust and #tuesdaytravels.

Compliant logo

Lodging Interactive Launches AI Powered Website ADA Compliance Service for Hotels

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its AI-powered ADA compliance service for hotel websites which remediates website ADA compliance issues in real-time.

“There is so much confusion and noise in the marketplace regarding ADA compliance for hotel websites and hoteliers are confused by the numerous approaches (and cost models) towards meeting website compliance. We have developed a service that combines the latest in ADA compliance machine learning technologies with human oversight and management specifically to address the unique needs of the hospitality industry,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & CEO.

Hotel website ADA accessibility refers to a set of rules, behaviors, code standards and design guidelines that are meant to allow people with disabilities to effectively navigate through websites. To achieve this, the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) has created the “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) which are meant to explain and guide developers on how to make websites accessible. These guidelines have been adopted by governments around the world and are now a part of various legislations, such as the ADA, Section 508, EN 301549, and others.

Lodging Interactive’s solution utilizes two components that, together, achieve website compliance. The first is a foreground application, the accessibility interface, which is responsible for 30% of the requirements, mostly UI and design-related. The second is a background application (AI, Machine Learning powered), which is responsible for the remaining 70% of requirements, mostly related to blind people’s screen-reader adjustments, and keyboard navigation optimizations for people with motor impairments.

“The AI technology is session based and ADA compliance is triggered in real-time. This means the website’s design and navigation structure are not compromised for non-disabled browsers. The AI runs in the background and optimizes the accessibility level of the website every 24 hours. The AI engine remediates the website’s HTML accessibility issues as well as functionality and behavior, for people using screen readers and those with motor impairments using a keyboard,” added Mr, Vallauri.

Lodging Interactive’s AI Powered ADA Accessibility Compliance Service includes:

  • Initial website review and code compatibility audit.
  • Complete AI code implementation on your website.
  • Multi-browser testing.
  • Hotel website becomes ADA compliant within 48 hours.
  • Website scans every 24 hours to ensure any new content, images or pages are also rendered compliant with the WCAG 2.1 and ADA standards.
  • Accessibility Statement and certification of performance.
  • Fully GDPR compliant.
  • Monthly website review and internal audit to ensure ongoing ADA compliance.

The service is included at no additional charge for all new hotel websites developed by Lodging Interactive and can be purchased for an existing website. For more information, please visit https://lodginginteractive.com/products-services/hotel-ada-compliance/ or call us at
877-291-4411 ext. 704.

About Lodging Interactive

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing, social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The Company provides cost-effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants, and spas.

commingle:engage, the Company’s social media and reputation management division, has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually.

Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.

The Company’s Founder & CEO, DJ Vallauri, formerly served on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter and is a Forbes.com Agency Council contributor. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

Contact
DJ Vallauri
President & Founder
Phone: 877-291-4411
Fax: 877-833-7375

May 17, 2019 Issue: What’s New in Social Media This Week and What it Means for Hotels

In the last few weeks, the Facebook empire has made some big developments to their platforms that are directly relevant to hotels, resorts, and other businesses in the hospitality industry. In this week’s social media updates, we’ll look at each one and how you can expect for it to impact you.

Facebook’s New Interface Prioritizes New Features 

Facebook has recently released a new mobile app that is a little more user-friendly and runs a little quicker. It also puts emphasis on Stories, Groups, and Events, drawing users’ attention to these popular features.

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Image source: BusinessInsider 

The mobile app is already rolling out, and the matching desktop interface will likely soon follow.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: This is good news, because Facebook is prioritizing interactivity and community-building features that users are drawn to. For hotels and resorts who are creating communities on the social media network in the form of groups, using events to generate interest, and leveraging Stories to extend your reach, you’ll be ahead of your competition and able to stay relevant in your audience’s feed.

Messenger’s Interface Gets an Update 

Just like Facebook, their Messenger app has been updated with a simplified, faster version that’s been a little decluttered. Facebook has been working on rebuilding the platform “from the ground up” so that it’s more functional and a lot faster for users. The new version has a heavy focus on chat, but also offers video co-watching capabilities to keep people interacting within the app.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Facebook announced earlier this year that they’re planning on integrating their messaging apps– including Messenger, Instagram direct, and WhatsApp– for a seamless user experience, and this may be part of it. A new and improved messenger could mean that more of your guests will use this messaging platform to get in touch, so make sure you’re paying close attention to these channels.

Messenger Offers New Lead Generation Tools 

Facebook’s Messenger is gaining a few new features designed to make it easier for businesses to drive meaningful results through the platform. This includes appointment-booking, lead generation templates, and clickable CTAs that can drive actions. These features are currently being beta tested, and will roll out to those who don’t have them later this year.

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What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Increasing numbers of guests are using Messenger to get in touch with hotels and resorts, and this trend will likely continue with the new and improved mobile app. These features can be used to encourage users to take actions like heading your site to book rooms, and booking reservations for your in-resort restaurant or spa.

Instagram Releases Stories’ Quiz Stickers 

Instagram’s new Quiz Stickers allow users and brands to ask their followers a multiple-choice question. You can choose the correct answer, and you can see which answers your followers are choosing.

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What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: This is a versatile sticker when it comes to connecting with guests. One great use may be to offer users who answer a question about your location or your resort correctly a chance to win a prize, like a free extra night or a discounted spa service. This will generate a lot of hype and engagement, which is always great for bookings.

Even if you aren’t using it as part of a giveaway opportunity, guests love interactive Story features, and this is one that will be sure to catch their attention and help you build brand awareness– especially if they want to know whether or not they answered right. Follow up the quiz sticker with a short video explaining the correct answer if possible.

What Just Happened in Social Media and what it Means for Hotels – March 14, 2019

The hospitality industry never sleeps and social media doesn’t, either. This week’s edition of our biweekly newsletter discusses new changes to Facebook groups, expanded Promoted Pin access, clarification of YouTube policies, and some news about what Instagram is working on next.

Facebook Releases New Management Tools 

Facebook has just released a flurry of new formatting updates and management tools for Page and group admins. These new changes include:

●     The expansion of subscription groups, which allow businesses to create paid, subscription-only groups

●     Searching membership requests by name, so you can ensure certain audience members are granted fast access to your group.

●     Page admins can respond to Instagram private messages through their Facebook inboxes

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Improved ease of use for Page and group admins is an asset for hotels and resorts and any of the social media managers that work for them. Groups have become a strong marketing strategy, and having the ability to better manage branded groups that center your hotel or resort can provide a better experience for you and your guests.

And take note of the Instagram messaging showing up in the inboxes of Facebook Pages. There are also rumors that Instagram is testing messaging on the desktop version of their site, and all of this lines up with their grand plan to integrate the messaging apps from Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp by early next year.

Pinterest Expands Ad Access to Four New Countries 

Pinterest has released ad access to four new countries, including business accounts in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Spain, who previously didn’t have this feature available to them yet, even though countries who did have the ads already were able to target audiences in those countries.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: It’s not uncommon for hotels or resorts to have businesses in multiple countries. If this applies to you, and one of your business accounts is located in Germany, Italy, Spain, or Austria, you now have the opportunity to run Promoted Pin campaigns. They can be an effective way to generate site traffic, especially if you target keywords like “dream vacation” or “mountain resort.”

Instagram Releases Follower-Sorting Feature 

Instagram is testing and slowly releasing a new follower-sorting feature on the mobile app. Business profiles can sort their follower list by who has been there the longest, and who was most recent to join.

Image source: Social Media Today 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: While this feature may not seem too impressive at a first glance, it actually has huge potential for hotels and resorts.Your most long-term followers, for example, could be potential brand advocates. Your most recent followers, on the other hand, may benefit from some active relationship-building, like an effort to reach out through a private DM to welcome them to your channel or offer a special coupon code for booking.

YouTube Updates Its Penalty System

YouTube has updated and simplified their penalty system for creators and community members. Now, if users violate a rule, they’ll be given a warning with no immediate penalty on their channel aside from the removal of the offending content. After the warnings, if violations are still made, YouTube will freeze the ability to upload new content twice, before terminating the channel on the third strike.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: All brands on YouTube should be following their guidelines as is, and most hotels and resorts do that well. The majority of guidelines focus on things like language, inappropriate content, and scams or misleading information. As long as your external links are taking users exactly where you say they will, you’ll pretty much be in the clear.

YouTube Confirms Crackdown on Giveaways 

The YouTube community has recently noticed that videos featuring on-platform giveaways have been flagged more often, and YouTube has confirmed that while giveaways and contests aren’t being banned, they’re cracking down more on certain violations. Specifically, giveaways cannot be used to link to external websites that are solely designed to increase engagement metrics.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: If you want to host giveaways or contests on YouTube to promote your hotel or resort, make sure that you’re following all of their community rules. You can still use giveaways to increase brand awareness and generate engagement on-platform with on-platform videos.

Latest Social Media Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

Happy 2019, everyone! As we move into the new year, it’s time to take a look at our social media strategies to assess what’s working and how we can better connect with our guests. This includes assessing all the new social media that impact hotels and resorts, so take a look at everything that’s happened over the holiday break so you can get your campaigns up to speed.

Two New Features Arrive in Facebook’s Business Manager 

Image source: Matt Navara 

What This Means for Hotels

This isn’t a huge change, but if you find yourself regularly adding new team members or third party partners to your Facebook accounts, this could make it a little easier and give you more control. It doesn’t seem to have rolled out to everyone at this point, so if you don’t have it yet, you hopefully will soon.

Facebook Group Admins Can Share Feedback on Removed Posts 

Facebook Groups have offered a new moderating tool for admins, allowing them to offer private feedback to the author of a removed post. The member will be notified that their post was deleted, and they’ll be given information from an anonymous admin (not a specific one) about why that was the case.

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook Groups are an excellent community-building tool, and when it comes to Groups that are centered around your hotel or resort, it’s important to stay on top of its moderation. Using the feedback tool to keep your members following group rules without running the risk of accidentally publicly shaming someone can keep your community growing and moving in a positive direction.

Instagram Rolls Out Video Scheduling

Post scheduling through third-party software has been available for a while, but it was only available for images. Instagram updated its API towards the end of last year to allow the scheduling of videos on Instagram, too. Social media scheduling software is starting to catch up and offer this feature to subscribers, so keep an eye out for this one.

What This Means for Hotels

The ability to schedule video content to Instagram will be a game changer, especially considering that video has proven to yield high engagement rates on the platform. Now, you won’t have to worry about taking time away from your guests to ensure that your Instagram videos go live at peak posting times. Keep an eye on your social media scheduling software, as they’ll likely be releasing this feature soon if they haven’t already.

YouTube Ads Updated in Response to Changing User Patterns

User video consumption and behavior continually evolves, and YouTube ensures that they’re adapting frequently. Their ad system is being updated as a result of changing viewing patterns. These changes include:

●     The testing of two back-to-back stacked ads, which reduces the frequency of ad breaks for viewers watching long-form videos.

●     The rollout of the ability for advertisers to target TV screens with their ad campaigns, which accounts for the increased number of ad views happening on television sets.

●     More ad placements on the home feed, which allow users to see ads for video recommendations targeting them and encourages self-directed discovery.

Image source: Google 

What This Means for Hotels

YouTube’s dedication to change its ad offerings alongside evolving user behavior is a huge advantage for advertisers. By stacking ads, for example, users will have fewer ad breaks and are therefore more likely to watch the full video– and all of its ads. This is good for both the content creator and all the advertisers trying to bid on those competitive placements.

Hotels and resorts should carefully consider whether or not they want to exclusively target TV viewers for their campaigns, as the inability for users to click on a link while watching could potentially decrease the effectiveness of ads meant to drive conversions. Ad campaigns that are focused on brand recall, however, could see great results from this.

YouTube Creates Their Own Version of Stories

It feels like 2018 was the year of Stories, and now YouTube is catching up to Facebook and Instagram to offer their own unique take. Their short-form video format– titled “Reels”– has been rebranded into YouTube Stories and recently released with a new set of creator tools to accounts with more than 10,000 subscribers.

Image source: Google 

Unlike on other platforms, these Stories will be available for a full seven days before they disappear to maximize views. They can show up in the home feeds of both subscribers and non-subscribers.

What This Means for Hotels

The Stories feature has been hugely popular on both Instagram and Facebook, and it may see the same engagement from YouTube followers, too. If you have those 10,000 subscribers, test them out to connect with past, present, and future guests. The community-building features that are focusing on engaging with your audience could be a huge asset for this, giving you the ability to publicly respond to comments with photos or videos to keep the conversation going.

6 Latest Social Media Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

The holidays are here, and there are few busier seasons for those of us in the hospitality industry. We know you’re busy, so we’ll get right to our last edition of our newsletter in the 2018 year so you’ll be up to date on all the social media changes that matter to you.

Facebook Releases New Watch Party Features

The Watch Party feature allows you to play video content at a set time, where everyone will watch it in “real time” together, like seeing a movie with friends. This feature has now been released to all Pages and profiles. They also have new updates to the feature, including threaded comments for improved interaction, and Live Commentating, which allows the host to go live within the watch party and deliver commentary live.

Image source: Facebook 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

If live videos are a staple part of your marketing and you’re running low on ideas, or if you want to share content in a particularly engaging way, Watch Parties are a great opportunity. Hotels and resorts could showcase a video of what to do near their location and have someone from the team deliver personalized commentary and recommendations based on user questions. Many users aren’t familiar with Watch Parties yet, so promote what you’re doing ahead of time so your followers can make sure to get on board.

Instagram Says Changes Are Coming 

Instagram just recently announced that “over the next few weeks” users may see interface changes within the app, including new navigation and icons. The actual photos and videos that people have shared will not be affected.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Hotels and resorts won’t be heavily affected by this, but if you’re seeing a change in how your business profile looks, know that this is to be expected. Make sure that all of your information is displayed correctly and organized well, and you’ll be good to go.

Instagram Adds Alternative Text Descriptions 

Instagram has just released two new accessibility features designed to make the platform better suited for visually impaired users. Users can create their own text descriptions of their photos, which will be read through screen readers when someone scrolls through or clicks on the photo. There’s also the option to use automatic alternative text, utilizing object recognition technology to provide audio descriptions of your image or video.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Increased accessibility means more access to your target audience, and ensuring that all potential guests have the best experience possible when interacting with your brand. Add alt text to all images and videos; it just takes a few seconds, but for some of your guests it will make a world of difference.

You can access “alt text” under the “Advanced Settings” of your post before you publish it.

Instagram Cracks Down On “Inauthentic” Actions 

Instagram announced last month that they’re doing something about “inauthentic” actions on the platform, including fake likes, followers, and comments. They’ve gotten serious about weeding out bots and third-party services designed to artificially inflate social proof, and they are utilizing machine learning tools to find them.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Twitter and Facebook have already undergone their own purges for the same purpose, and now it’s Instagram’s turn. If you’re using any third-party service to get more social proof, remove them immediately. We recommend that our clients never use these services to begin with, as they may give you more followers, but typically product spam-like engagement if any that doesn’t do your brand any favors.

LinkedIn Company Pages Get An Update 

LinkedIn has just announced that the “next generation” of Company Pages have been created. There are new features that are focusing more heavily on community building, and will include content suggestion tools for admins, more advanced analytics, and improved mobile capabilities.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

The goal of the new LinkedIn Company Pages is to improve community building capabilities with your employees and your followers. Share content to keep your staff members engaged and up to date about what’s happening and engage guests and potential followers.

Twitter Is “Rethinking Everything About the Service 

Twitter has made a few big changes this year, and now it looks like they’re considering several more. According to Twitter, they’re “rethinking everything about the service,” so we could see some massive updates to the platform and how it’s used next year.

For now, here’s some of the rumored and in-testing features:

●     Timeline toggle, which is in testing and allows users to switch between the chronological and algorithmic timelines.

●     Eliminating the like button, which Twitter has not confirmed or denied, but may be done in an attempt to improve the quality and authenticity of interactions.

●     Edit buttons for published Tweets, which is being considered but may not be implemented because the platform doesn’t necessarily want people to be able to change tweets “all the way back in time.”

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

If you’re marketing on Twitter, there are no immediate changes to made aware of now, but it’s important to know that there are clearly changes coming. Be prepared, and make sure that your other social channels are built up just in case.

Hotel Social Media News Platforms Shifting to ‘Authentic’ Usage to Encourage Community Building

There is an apparent trend showing social media platforms are shifting more towards “authentic” usage of the platforms that encourage community building, and we’re seeing more features and changes coming as a result. Staying on track with these changes will be important for the long-term success of your campaigns.

Twitter Cuts Access to Third Party Apps 

Twitter has shut down API access to a number of third-party apps and ended support for Twitter for Apple Watch and Twitter for Mac. This includes popular tools like Tweetbot, which are not officially run by the social media site. Official mobile apps and those run by Twitter, like TweetDeck and Periscope, are still fully functional and will remain so.

What This Means for Hotels

Twitter has made a lot of changes this year in order to try to reduce clutter and make room for more meaningful engagement. We saw this with their restrictions on automated or cross-promoted retweets, and this is just another step down that path.

If you’re using any software to enhance your Twitter marketing with features like scheduling or content creation, keep an eye on your profile to make sure things are working as expected. If not, you’ll need to cut the app loose and see if you can find Twitter-run alternatives, like TweetDeck.

LinkedIn Relaunches Groups 

LinkedIn groups have been around for a while, but they’re now being relaunched. According to TechCrunch, LinkedIn will be adding groups to their main app. They’ll also be focused on reducing spam and making the groups more efficient. They’re doing this with temporary removal of features like sending posts as emails to the entire group.

Image source: TechCrunch 

What This Means for Hotels

LinkedIn groups have always had enormous potential but fell a little short. They become too self-promotional, but with new developments, that could change. If groups pick up on LinkedIn, this could be a great asset for hotels and resorts. You can network with and learn from other industry experts, find potential employees, and even occasionally mention your conference or lodging services to professionals looking to make bookings.

Facebook Allows Admins to Link Pixel with Groups 

Group admins can now link Facebook’s tracking pixel to their group, allowing admins to better track user growth and engagement on their actual websites off-platform. This information will be anonymous, and it will only be available to groups that have at least 250 members.

Image source: Facebook 

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook Groups are a powerful community-building tool, but the ability to anonymously track group member’s relationship to your hotel or resort as a whole outside of the actual group is a huge advantage. Now you can more accurately assess whether the group is driving more leads or bookings, or building stronger relationships with your guests.

Facebook Group Admins Can Pin Comments 

Matt Navarra found a feature Facebook is testing that will allow group admins to pin comments in discussion threads. This will push that comment to the top of the comments section in the conversation thread, ensuring that it’s the first thing people see.

Image source: Matt Navara

What This Means for Hotels

If you have groups for your hotel or resort, you have likely already seen how conversations can spiral amongst members. People veer off course with the discussion, or you (or someone else) ends up clarifying the same thing many times over. The ability to pin comments will give you additional moderation control so that you can keep things on track and hopefully framing the group and your hotel in a positive light.