If you’re like most hoteliers, you may find yourself investing anywhere between £200 to £5000+ per month on your social media channels. The reason being, you know there is inherent value in doing this for your hotel, which is absolutely true.
However, the value you get in 2021 and beyond just with organic is diminishing. Organic reach has been declining since 2014 where it was 16%. By the end of 2020, organic reach was just 5.2% and the decline is showing no signs of stopping.
In todays blog, we look at why paid social needs to be part of your hotels social startegy and how you can use your paid media to effectively 10X your social media results. The scope of this article is focused on Facebook & Instagram, other platforms may vary.
The traditional approach to paid social
For many years, the standard formula for hotels was to have organic content run on a consistent basis and then, when there was a need to push certain areas of the business extra hard, you would set aside a budget for this separately. For example, if you had a new afternoon tea menu, you might build an afternoon tea ads campaign.
This ad-hoc approach was great because you were investing very selectively whilst your organic social was attracting lots of likes & follows. This is the formula many hotels (even the very largest in the UK..) continue to follow to this day.
The unprofitability of the old way
In 2014, you could expect about 16% of your hotels’ followers to see a post on Facebook, meaning if you have 1k followers, that’s 160 people with their eyes on your content. If each post takes 30 minutes to make, that’s not a bad return! However, at the close of 2020, this reach was down to 5.2%, meaning 52 eyeballs on your post, a 66% decline from 6 years ago. You only have to look at the lack of engagement most hotels have on their Facebook pages to see that this once profitable practice may now not be so.
‘pay to play’ or stop social media
The solution will be for hotels to promote their regular content more strategically with a paid media budget. Facebook ads allows you to do this for both Facebook & Instagram content. With clever targeting and an average cpm (cost per thousand impressions) of around £6, this really is a force to be reckoned with, allowing you to reach the right people at a very low cost.
You may still be hesitant to pay to reach your followers, which is understandable. After all, Facebook took your page reach and now they are making you literally pay to get it back. I believe that this is one of those ‘suck it up’ scenarios where we as hotel marketers need to just view the situation unemotionally and judge what’s best for our hotels.
Another way to look at this is that with your organic social plan, you might be spending 10 hours p/m at a rate of £25 per hour developing your posts from beginning to end. With a page of 2k followers and 20 posts, you may get about 2k impressions total across all posts. So, that’s about 4 impressions per £1 spent. If we take the same scenario however and throw in a £200 paid media budget, you now get 36k impressions which for every £1 spent, is about 51 impressions, a 1275% increase. We increase the cost by £200 but the return by an exponential amount, sounds pretty worthwhile to at least test for ourselves. Note: this example assumes averages and actual results may vary.
Other Downstream benefits
By greatly increasing your visibility with a paid social budget, all the below will follow:
- More page followers
- Greater organic reach
- More word of mouth
- More website traffic
- More bookings & enquiries
The best part is that everything compounds over time. A large following is quicker and easier to build and it will also produce stronger results, allowing for more budget to be assigned to the development of these channels, which in turn accelerates growth faster.
It’s time to seriously rethink your social strategy in a fairly radical way to include paid media. It may be a tough pill to swallow but we promise, it’ll make every minute you send on your organic social media activity infinitely more impactful to your results.
If you would like to know more on this subject, make sure to let me know here! Want a hand with your hotel? We have an agency for that! Whatever your situation, thank you for reading this and have a great day.