Emerging from Covid-19: Social Media Advice for Hospitality Businesses

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a lot of devastation to the hospitality industry in Scotland and, indeed, across the globe. Many businesses have sadly closed their doors for good and others are hanging on in the hope of a fruitful late summer. However, there is light at the end of this long tunnel, as holidays abroad look unlikely (or unappealing), it is predicted that the staycation market is about to erupt. According to Caterer “70% of people plan on taking a staycation in the UK in 2020.” That is a whopping £27 billion for the industry! So, as many begin gearing up for the Scottish Government’s tourism opening date of 15th July, we look at how you can get the most out of your organic social media marketing and stand out from the crowd.

Focus on your USPs (unique selling points), not just Covid-19

The government are shortly to announce the operating guidelines for Covid-19, detailing how hospitality businesses should ensure they are practising social distancing and adhering to extra health and safety measures. We believe it is important to state these extra precautions on your website, in booking confirmations and using a strapline in your campaigns to state you will, of course, adhere to all recommendations. However, the focus of your campaigns should be the experience guests will have when visiting you. It should be a time of relaxing and starting to have fun (outside your home) again, safe in the knowledge that Covid-19 is being carefully considered behind the scenes. What activities will your guests enjoy that will not compromise their safety? Talk about your main selling points. Maybe you have an exceptional view? Excellent menu? Private beach? Great cocktails, or close to a local park? Sell the experience and how you will make it unique.

Dog friendly? Time to shout about it!

One of the great things about staycationing is being able to bring your furry friend on holiday. According to the RSPCA, there are approximately 9 million pet dogs in the UK. That is a lot of pampered pooches heading off on holiday this year. If you are (or can be) a dog friendly venue, then it is time to shout about it. Let people know what facilities you have for pets – bowls, blankets, treats, a great outdoor space for exercising? Get some great photos and videos of dogs enjoying your hospitality. Hold a dog photo or beauty contest – owners LOVE showing off their beloved pets. You can also target dog owners (and even certain breeds) through paid Facebook Ads. More about this from our friends and experts in social media advertising at Big Flavour Marketing.

The 80/20 Rule: Be Authentic

With the competition fierce, this rule is more prevalent than ever. People follow brands that are interesting, funny, friendly and (most importantly) real. Constant sales messages are a massive turn off. For every sales message, post four (or indeed more) non-sales posts. Show your followers who you really are. What happens behind the scenes in your hotel? Did you just have a brilliant sunset worth sharing? Maybe a member of your team is also a budding photographer and has some great local pictures you can share. Photos and videos of people, nature and food trigger an emotional response which encourages engagement. Humour can also go a long way to capturing people’s attention.

Share the love for your community

A common mistake with organic social media marketing is not realising the importance of other people’s content. To gain real ambassadors you need to share, share, share! Don’t just shout about yourself, immerse yourself in your online community. Like and comment on other people’s photos and videos, get involved in conversations, share news and promote events around your industry. A real positive to come out of the Covid-19 crisis is the way communities have pulled together. More than ever, people are feeling really positive towards content that shows you supporting others. Talk about the services your local businesses are offering and help drive traffic to their sites as well as your own.

Post (good content) consistently

There is nothing worse than an abandoned social media account. It would be better to have no accounts at all. Consumers trust companies who are efficient and on the ball. Inconsistent posting gives the impression you are disengaged and do not care about your brand. In a new Covid-19 era, where social media consumption has risen by approx. 40% in the UK (according to a recent study by Statista), it is now more important than ever to have a strong presence on social. There is also nothing worse than a social media account that posts boring or spam like content. Think about what you are posting, what is its purpose? Who is it for? Commit to posting good quality content at least twice a week, more if possible.

Have a solid plan

There is a lot to be said for opportunistic, real-time social posts that capture a moment. They are important for showing authenticity – but it is also beneficial to have a social plan. Highlight important dates that you can create content around, for example, Christmas and Mother’s Day. Look at other opportunities such as national days and local events. Use a social tool such as Buffer or Sprout Social to schedule posts in advance so your accounts are always active (even if you don’t have time to check them every single day). Your social strategy should be part planned and part spontaneous.

Social Media and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Social media is also a great tool for helping the optimisation of your website by providing traffic from posted articles and web pages. By using social media to build your audience, you improve the likelihood that users will recognise your name and click on you when they see you appearing in search results, relevant articles, and social shares.

Need help with your social media strategy?

Sometimes two heads are better than one! If you’d like to discuss ways in which we can help grow your online presence, get in touch at natalie@alleramarketing.com.