Instagram for Hotels
Since Facebook bought over Instagram for 1 billion dollars on the 9th of April this year, the already very popular app is everywhere! Launched in October 2010, this app available on iPhone, iPad, and recently on Android, allows users to easily capture, customize and share pictures with their friends wherever they are. Instagram has grown rapidly and acquired more than 30 million iOS users in 18 months.
What does that mean for your hospitality brand and how can you use this photo sharing app to pleaseyour guests and generate revenue?
Instagram, like Pinterest, is a new generation social network. Based solely on pictures, easy to use and directly linked with your primary social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, it makes sharing content with your guests easy and… beautiful! Although many hotel brands on Instagram don’t have many followers yet, a study by L2 Think Tank shows that hotels with an Instagram account have more followers on Twitter and may allow you to attract a more engaged audience on Twitter and Facebook, hence creating unique, social, viral content and leveraging your Facebook and Twitter fanbase to drive traffic to your Instagram account.
Plus, it becomes a great photo gallery for your hotel by collating both your professionally shot photographs and easily curated user generated pictures. Potential guests can flip through these amazing artistic shots to pick your hotel and get inspired for their next holiday!
Who to follow?
(Source: L2 Think Tank, 2012)
- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts (Instagram: fourseasonsfotog): In addition to having many of their properties use Instagram, Four Seasons has an impressive amount of user-generated picture content. This demonstrates that the chain truly understands social media and knows how to generate conversation and engage with its customers.
- Gansevoort Hotels (Instagram: gansevoort): has one of the most impressive Instagram communities with 1243 followers, thanks to the frequency and wide variety of their pictures.
- The Morgan Hotel Group (Instagram: morganshotels): One of the early adopters of the photo sharing app, the Morgan Group, gets Instagram right by using it in an artistic way and not only as a display window of their properties. It also provides some exclusive content available only to their followers in order to increase their follower base.
- Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (Instagram: shangrilahotels): with the first picture posted on the 3rd of May and already 228 followers, it will be interesting to see how it grows in the future, especially with special initiative described below. The 39 pictures currently on their profile include their hotels’ stunning locations with good photos of the impressive skylines for the city hotels and exotic beaches for the resorts.
- Other chains have potential but don’t embrace the benefits of Instagram yet. For example, Hilton (Instagram: hiltonhotels) has more than 850 followers but no pictures posted so far.
Hotels that take a step further…
W Times Square Hotel took its engagement with Instagram to another level by organizing a Instagram exhibit in their Dim Lobby Bar in collaboration with Instagram NYC (huffingtonpost.com, 2012), the collection will be on display until June.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts introduced a microsite with Instagram as the centerpiece of engagement. Users are encouraged to tag their Instagram shots taken at Shangri-La properties with the hashtag #lovingthemoment. The campaign feeds into the microsite where users can vote for their favorite Shangri-La instagrams. Both guests and staff members are encouraged to take pictures and share them to tell a story about cities they’re in.