Social media trends for 2019 are already becoming a factor in hospitality marketing. If you read my blog at all, you know that social media is one of the best ways to get your name out there. If you rely on the OTAs and sheer luck, you’ll never see a new guest walk through your doors. That’s why I recommend running contests, engaging with reviews, and maintaining an Instagram page. It’s not just for fun! This is how your guests get to know you as a more interesting place than your average chain hotel.
That said, social media is constantly shifting. If you want to stay in touch with your old guests and meet new ones in 2019, then you’re going to have to adapt. Here’s what to watch out for.
Stories are going to take over the Internet
If you haven’t seen stories yet, you will. Stories are mobile-friendly and immediate. They’re usually just a series of short videos and pictures that the platform presents in sequence. They’re ephemeral, too, lasting just a day or so. Facebook and Instagram already use them, and LinkedIn is supposed to be testing the format now.
What does this mean for you, the independent hospitality? Everything! Stories engage your guests on a very personal level. They’re perfect for mobile and completely unique. It’s a good time to experiment with them and see how you can use them to connect with your guests.
Ever more video content
Video gets more popular by the year. If trends continue, up to 80% of what we consume online could be video content soon. On top of that, live video has become incredibly popular. Even major news networks like to “go live” on Facebook. Notice that when they do, a notification appears. If you go live, that’s free advertising to the people who follow you.
Micro-influencers will be everywhere
You know about influencers. They’re celebrities with tens of thousands of followers hanging on their every word. I’ve written about how important it is to engage with influencers, but now it’s time to take that strategy a step further. The most influential people on social media may actually be micro-influencers. These are non-celebrities with between 1,000 and 90,000 followers. Believe it or not, they’re worth billions of pounds and may deliver a better return for your effort than traditional influencers.
Micro-influencers are often niche. There are also a ton of them out there. This means that you can more easily find one that fits your hospitality’s Unique Selling Point. For example, a micro-influencer who focuses on travel with dogs might be more willing to stay with you if you are a dog-friendly guesthouse. Consider this on track to become one of the top social media trends for 2019.
People will shop on social media
You may have noticed that it’s recently become possible to add products to Instagram’s collections. This past May saw Instagram offer hotel booking through the app, too. This feature is limited right now, but soon, it might be available to you. Social media platforms are finally figuring out how to get people to shop on them.
Facebook has introduced social shopping too, of course, and since it owns Instagram, it seems likely that it’ll be expanding that feature in the near future. 2019 may be the year that your guests start to impulse-buy room bookings based on your Instagram pictures. Make sure that you’re taking good pictures and posting often. Get the skinny on Instagram here!
You’ll want to use a messaging app
Did you know that there are more than a billion people using Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and WhatsApp right now? It’s true! The majority of social media sharing may be happening over direct messages.
Remember how useful it is to text your guests? Consider engaging them on Facebook Chat, Snapchat, and Twitter DM too. Accept questions, send follow-ups, and engage.
Thanks to HospitalityNet for inspiring this piece on social media trends in 2019 and Adweek, The Startup, and Social Media Today for informing it! If you’re still stuck on social media, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.