Pinterest Best Practices for Hotels

Recently, Pinterest launched an analytics dashboard for businesses, which gives brands the ability to more closely monitor their presence on the platform. If you haven’t started using Pinterest, it is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, hobbies and interests. Users can browse other pinboards for images, ‘repin’ images to their own pinboards, or ‘like’ photos. Hotels and restaurants can have their own boards where they can ‘pin’ images, track which users have repinned their images, and identify followers.

Best Practice Tips for Hotels

If you are just starting out with Pinterest, we recommend the following best practices tips for hotels and restaurants:

1. Start off strong with a visually striking profile. 

Choose your brand logo as your profile photo on the website (160×165 pixels in size) to maintain brand consistency across all social media platforms. If you haven’t done so already, take a few minutes and make sure that you are using the same high-quality image on all of the different social media sites your hotel is on. This will increase your brand recognition and will clue your followers in that the profile is the official one.

2. Organize boards that make sense for you.

The biggest power of Pinterest is that it gives your brand the ability to tell a highly visual story that drives real website traffic. Pinterest users have the ability to choose which pinboard that they want to follow, so not every one of your boards has to appeal to the broadest of audiences. That said, each of your boards should consist of at least 10 photos so that it’s substantial enough for a user to follow. Also, when naming your board, make sure that your title reflects the content accurately and is 20 characters or less.

3. Get creative with your pinning.

Similar to photos you share on Facebook or Instagram, the photos you share on Pinterest should reflect the fun and personal side of your brand and ought to tell a story that you couldn’t otherwise tell on your traditional website or OTA presence. Accordingly, some best practice pinboards that we’ve come across in the hospitality industry focus on seasonal events, specific hotel offerings and amenities, vacation themes and quirky destination tips from the hotel or restaurant. Here are a few examples:

Waikiki Scenes Inspiring Hotel Interiors Aqua's Hawaii Hotels Quintessential Austin

4. Spread the wealth and stay active.

In addition to pinning your own images, your hotel or restaurant should also repin photos from others to add to your boards. This will allow you to tell a richer brand or destination story. Also, you will want to keep your pin descriptions as concise as your board descriptions. Pinterest suggests that, for the travel industry, you simply identify the location in the image and the kinds of things you can do there. Keep it to no more than a few sentences in length.

5. Activity is rewarded.

Pinterest is similar to many other social platforms in that its home feed feature is how users discover and share new content. Accordingly, if you hotel is serious about managing a Pinterest account, you should commit to pinning new imagery at least a few times a week if not once a day. By doing so, you will give your brand a better chance to be discovered and engaged with. Once you have an active presence established, make it easy for people to pin your content by adding Pinterest’s follow and pin it buttons to your website and add a Pinterest link in your emails.

Measure Your Pinterest Activity

Pinterest’s new dashboard now gives business owners the ability to see all of their Pinterest traffic activity in an intuitive, cleanly laid out display. Your Pinterest data will show your pins/week, repins/week and followers. In close, it’s never been more apparent that Pinterest has become a major social media platform that can effectively augment your overall social media strategy.

When it comes to social media, personal responses make a difference

Recent social media debacles from Domino’s Pizza and Bank of America made me think about the best approach for engaging with your social media audience. We frequently discuss the importance of paying careful attention to customer feedback and responding in real-time, as remaining silent makes your business seem divested from the social space, but the responses from Domino’s and Bank of America drive home the importance of well-considered and personalized responses.

In both cases, these enterprise-level companies relied on an automated system to respond to fan comments due to the sheer volume of comments each brand receives. While this solution does cut down on staffing and maintains social activity levels, both companies were subject to the pitfalls of using a robot for social media interaction. In each case, the auto-response completely misunderstood the fans’ sentiment. As a result, both brands were damaged and, ironically, looked less engaged to their fan bases than if they had just selectively chosen to respond to fans’ posts and tweets.

Many big box hotels and resorts are faced with the same conundrum: which comments should be responded to, which should be left alone, and how to go about it? Moreover, the challenge of staffing for social media response, without any guarantee of hard ROI, is an unwelcome prospect for many hoteliers. However, the mistakes from these big brands show that the cost of hiring a few community managers to manage day-to-day engagement outweighs the damage you will do to your brand when robots fail to respond intelligently.

The same approach should apply for online reviews. TripAdvisor’s recent Trip Barometer report indicated that 68% of travelers who see a management response below a hotel review are more likely to book with that hotel versus a hotel without a response. A 2012 Forrester-TripAdvisor study similarly reported that 78% of users agree that seeing a hotel management response to reviews “makes me believe that it cares more about its guests.” While it’s clear that hotels should be actively responding to reviews, the same damage can be done when a hotel favors an automated system or copy-and-paste template over a human-generated reply. When a response is not personalized – whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or a travel review site – it negates any perception that the hotel cares about its consumers.

While many enterprise-level brands favor an automated response system over human staffing, it comes with risk to your online reputation. After all, the main purpose of social media is to humanize your brand and show personal attention. If your property is going to invest in social media, it’s better to train savvy social media managers who show good judgment, carefully respond to comments that are highly negative or positive, and preserve your reputation as an engaged, caring brand.

How Effective is your Marketing Dashboard?

We recently had the chance to sit down with two professionals from the hospitality industry who frequently initiate new media marketing campaigns and evaluate their impact. Lauren Levin, Vice President of Interactive Marketing for Sbe Entertainment, and Greg Bodenlos, Marketing Manager for Revinate discuss how they determined the success of their efforts for the brands they were serving. Last week we featured their answers on how they measure their marketing performance. Read More

Measure Your Marketing Performance

Clearly, new media marketing can serve a range of functions for your organization. This is one of the reasons why deriving concrete returns on these efforts—such as marketing campaigns intended to simply raise awareness of a brand—can be challenging.

We had the chance to sit down with two professionals from the hospitality industry who frequently initiate new media marketing campaigns and evaluate their impact. Lauren Levin, Vice President of Interactive Marketing for Sbe Entertainment, and Greg Bodenlos, Marketing Manager for Revinate discuss how they determined the success of their efforts for the brands they were serving.Read More

Hotels Show Social Media Transparency in Wake of Marathon Bombing

In the immediate aftermath of Monday’s horrifying bombing at the Boston Marathon, spectators and runners alike existed in a state of confused panic as law enforcement and rescue teams rushed to the scene to tend to the injured. Fearful of more bombs to detonate along the marathon route, the Boston police quickly instructed bystanders to leave the area and return to their homes and hotels until the imminent danger had subsided.Read More

Manage Hotel Customer Service with Facebook Recommendations

According to L2, more than 46% of hotels with Facebook accounts receive posts that deal with customer service.  Past and future guests are taking their customer service woes to the web and are posting about problems that they experience at your hotel. Therefore, it is imperative that you stay on top of posts to your Facebook page with comprehensive real-time monitoring.

While most customer service posts will appear directly on your timeline, more and more posts are appearing in the ‘Recommendations’ section, which is visible to both people that like your Page and those that don’t.

The “Recommendations” section allows page visitors – regardless of whether they have “Liked” the page or not – to post a short review or provide feedback about your hotel. The “recommendations” title of the section is a bit of a misnomer, however, as users are free to leave any kind of feedback, whether it is positive or negative. This section lives prominently near the top of your property’s Page and is enabled only for Facebook Pages that have physical addresses. (In other words, users cannot write recommendations on pages for brands unless the page owners provide an exact address in the pages’ About sections.) But, we encourage you to complete your address as Facebook’s recent rollout of Graph Search favors pages that have fully-completed About sections.

While Facebook Page owners may worry about prominent negative feedback, we urge you to trust in the power of your fans. For most hotels, your loyal guests will be more than willing to share a tip or a compliment on their own volition. But, if there is a concerning piece of feedback that shows up in this section, address it directly as you would any negative review and you can neutralize any bad feedback by showing that you pay close attention to guest feedback.  Also, you will often see that loyal guests will come to your defense to refute the criticism. That’s when the user-generated content system is really working! But, if you believe the feedback was unruly or irrelevant, you do have the option of reporting it to Facebook as spam by clicking the ‘report’ button.

If you want to increase the number of recommendations on your Facebook page, all you have to do is ask. Post a status message encouraging your friends and fans to tell the world with a tip or recommendation. Pin this message to the top of the page for a week and see how much engagement it drives.

By paying close attention to feedback on your page as well as proactively monitoring and encouraging new recommendations, your hotel will be taking full advantage of Facebook’s customer service features.