[Hotel Marketing] How to Run a Hotel Promotion on Facebook

Introduction

Last month, we published an eBook specifically for country and coastal hotels, and how they can drive new bookings this winter using social media. In our eBook, we highlighted the value of social media lead capture campaigns for hotels who use email marketing to promote seasonal offers and secure bookings.

In this blog post we’ll be taking things a little deeper, for a more detailed look at running your own promotion on Facebook. Including setup steps and the different types of promotion applications, you’ll get a firm idea of the results you can achieve with each and the resources needed to deliver real results.

If you’d like to discover more about how you can promote your hotel this winter – and beyond – using social media, don’t forget to download our FREE eBook here…

The Right Approach

Irrespective of the mechanic you choose you should always try to take a strategic approach to campaign planning. Suh an approach gives you room to consider what objective you’d like to deliver against, and how. For instance, promotional applications aren’t limited to data capture; you can also generate targeted website traffic, grow brand awareness, and even drive direct bookings.

Naturally, your application can be setup to harvest customer preference data, in additional to contact information (email addresses, phone numbers). This angle is particularly useful if you’re planning to follow your campaign with ongoing targeted emails, or ads promoting specific offers related to customer data.

We’ll explain more about how this works in the second example detailed below. But worth noting is that it is essential that you keep any new data separate from existing databases. This will allow you to easily test how well any follow-up emails perform against your deliverables.

As a final strategic consideration, it’s important you investigate how your website looks and works on mobile devices before you decide on which promotion mechanic to use. It’s worth considering that with over 75% of all traffic on the internet set to be mobile in 2017, it’s important to plan your marketing efforts with a mobile first mindset.

The Value of Opt-In Data

Another key step in your approach is to properly consider the value of opted-in email sign-ups. Social Media campaigns can be exceptionally highly targeted to the exact customers you want. On that basis, your focus should be on gathering prospects from that target audience – those genuinely interested in the promotion and your offering as a hotel.

This means ensuring you have a compelling offer to promote, but also give the customer the opportunity to opt-in to receive further information from you. Opt-out data may be easier to obtain, but by asking users to opt-in you’ll ensure you gather the highest quality data possible.

How to Run a Promotion

The first step to running a promotion on Facebook is to set yourself a budget, allowing a generous amount for social media advertising and some for buying in runner-up prizes if necessary.

Consider your target audience and plan the kind of promotion that will appeal to them. Use planning aides like the YouGov audience profiling tool to help you dig into who a typical visitor might be if they aren’t your usual customer.

Now, create a prize offer in conjunction with local partners. This could be a “Fireside Foodie Short Stay” with a popular cosy local restaurant and foodie farm shop. Be creative, the potential for these promotions is endless!

Agree prizes with your local partners, and ensure that your hotel has a good room available for the winner to stay in. Be sure you get written agreement on what prize partners can offer and where they can help promote it; their own social media channels.

Now pick an affordable, paid for promotion application to use for your giveaway. Platforms like Woobox, Shortstack, Heyo and Wishpond all work well and have affordable “pay-as-you-go” options, but do your research and select the best for you.

Below, we’ve detailed three examples of campaign applications you could use, including key benefits delivered by each. All three have been tried tested by us, so we know they work and can deliver exceptional business results.

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Prize Draw Sweepstake

With just two pages requiring design and set-up, the prize draw sweepstake is the simplest promotion to run. To help you visualise the process, we’ve mocked-up an example of what the landing and entry page could look like.

Essential to success is the use of compelling and emotive imagery, as well as the clear communication of the benefits of winning and visiting your hotel. Additionally, don’t forget to include an opt-in option for your hotel, and any campaign partners on your data form. You can expect 60-70% of all entrants to opt-in for further information.

Key Benefits: Sweepstakes

The key benefits of running a sweepstake is the sheer volume of entries! The fewer steps users have to go through, the less drop off you have in people completing the entry fields and clicking submit.

The Lifestyle Quiz

Quiz applications are a fantastic way to produce insights into customer preferences, and can help guide future follow-up marketing; targeted email campaigns or advertising.

In the below example, we’ve detailed a first question, used to gauge the area – or type of area – your customers might be most interested in visiting. This approach is ideal for rural hotel chains that cover a variety of different locations.

There are a few pitfalls despite its simplicity. Make sure not to ask any more than three levels of questions in a promotion app; customers drop out of the entry process the more you ask.  And when setting the questions, take time to consider what’s on offer locally and what prospective guests would be interested in.

Key Benefits: Lifestyle Quiz

The key benefits of running a quiz app are high entrants and opt-ins, plus genuinely useful insight about customer interests and preferences. From the example above, a rural hotel chain could send customers who selected the ‘Wild Beach Walks’ option an email featuring beach and sea view walks near their hotels.

Frequent Entry Draw

These apps use similar design and functionality to a sweepstake. The difference is that you ask users to visit your website to find out an answer to a question. Answers can be captured by adding an extra field to the data capture form. If you’d like to drive repeat visits to key sections of your website, you can set multiple questions and change them daily or weekly.

Frequent entry draws are relatively simple to build, but the more regularly the question is changed, the more complex they are to manage. This is because you’ll need to actively refresh the Facebook app, and ensure all advertising is adjusted accordingly.

Key Benefits: Frequent Entry

What this type of app does brilliantly is to drive deeper engagement with your website, encouraging brand education and awareness. The number of leads generated is also usually high, particularly if you incentivise entrants with good-quality weekly or daily prize draws.

Build and Promote!

The complexity of the build required will depend on the type of app you’ve decided upon. However, each delivery platform does offer simple step-by-step instructions. Once built and tested, ensure that you have terms and conditions set-up, before setting it live.

Promote

Campaign activation begins with a Facebook post, linking to the application on your page, detailing what can be won and the key benefits of visiting your hotel/area.

Now you need to start advertising on Facebook, to drive people to your promotion.  If you have a marketing consultant, they should be able to help you here, but if you don’t and haven’t advertised on Facebook before, you must set yourself up on Facebook as an advertiser using Facebook Business Manager.

If you advertise on Facebook already, this will be familiar, but as a newbie advertiser, even the setup can feel like a big step and a bit confusing to begin with. But the self-service options to build yourself a successful campaign are really intuitive, so be patient, persevere and learn.

Step-by-Step

Firstly, boost your own post promoting the campaign app to make sure you reach all your fans. Set your campaign objective as “boost your posts” and in audiences be sure to select UK and in Connections select People who like your page.

Now, use a similar process to drive traffic to your Facebook promotion from regular Facebook adverts. Select the “send people to your website” objective, then for geographical targeting think about where people will realistically come from for an escape.

Set up your geographical targeting based on your research or knowledge of your customers, the use the other options to focus your ads on “empty nesters” or “affluent older millennials” using the array of options in the detailed targeting section.

Once you’ve finished your campaign, remember to take the app down from your Facebook page and send your partner their opt-in data, then create a compelling email and send it to the people who opted-in but didn’t win, inviting them to visit your hotel to experience the same offer you promoted, but at a discounted price.

If you’d like to discover more about how you can promote your hotel this winter – and beyond – using social media, don’t forget to download our FREE eBook here…