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By now, practically every business is on social media. Hotels and social media are no exception. Even the most luxurious hotels rely on social media to attract future guests. Likewise, tourists scan the likes of Instagram, scavenging for awe inspiring pictures in order to plan their next trip. Visitors turn to social media to create their ideal vacation itinerary, searching for things to do and restaurants to try. So if social media is used to discover the best french toast in town or the most secluded beaches, it makes sense that social media is also utilized to find one’s dream hotel. Imagine scrolling through your feed and seeing your favorite fashion blogger post FOMO worthy photos of the most majestic hotel room. You see her post pictures by the magical pool with water so blue it rivals the sky. Next she poses in the calming spa right before her complimentary massage, and to top it off, you wake up the next morning to find her post a beautifully arranged photo of the breakfast in bed to die for. The photos before you are enough to show that this vacation is a  must.

The Most Social Media Friendly Hotels

Today, hotels are embracing social media to engage with visitors. By bringing the social experience inside their walls, hoteliers are creating new ways for guests to interact with each other, get to know the hotel staff, and inquire about hotel amenities and activities. In 2014, the Huffington Post posted an article sharing the “Top 10 Hotels for Social Media Influencers”. The 1888 Darling Harbor Hotel in Sydney, Australia is one of the most social media friendly, incorporating their guests’ experience with their brand. With waterfront views and steps away from many of Australia’s attractions —  the authentic Sydney Fish Market, The Star Casino, and Harborside Shopping — this destination will surely satisfy everyone’s #wanderlust. The front page of the 1888 Hotel’s website helms “#NoFilterNeeded” stating that the hotel is designed “with Instagrammers in mind” and visitors  will be enraptured by the many photo opportunities. One guest reviewer shared that upon booking the hotel for his 30th birthday, he was welcomed with giant balloons, a birthday card, and party poppers in his room — that definitely screams Insta worthy.

And selfie lovers, prepare yourself. The hotel lobby literally has a selfie section where guests can take pictures and share them using the hotel’s hashtag. Doing so allows the photo to appear on large screens all over the hotel lobby. And the hashtag does more for guests than that: guests who hashtag #1888Hotel are automatically entered into a lottery to win a free night at the hotel. Bonus points If you have more than 10,000 followers on social media, because the hotel will offer you a complimentary night stay.

Similarly, the Sol Wave Hotel in Mallorca uses Twitter to provide guests with an interactive experience. The hotel which lies along the shores of Magaluf Beach provides live music, outdoor parties, and an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Located on the Balearic Islands, Sol Wave Hotel has embraced social media to take advantage of its breathtaking views and unique experience. The hotel created the #SocialWave Community on Twitter to connect guests with hotel staff. Sol Wave allows guests to discover new activities at the hotel and in town using the #SocialWave Community, visitors can engage in conversation with each other through the platform. Moreover, the hotel’s concierge is on Twitter to answer any questions each day. This way guests can connect with hotel staff while on the go. Twitter is also used to improve guests’ stay by giving them access to exclusive parties poolside and within the hotel’s exclusive party suite. Guests who interact with the hotel through social media receive  discounts to the hotel bars and restaurants.  All these different perks help the hotel engage with its guests creating a comfortable and fun experience that would surely drive guests to return.

Hilton Hotels use social media to entice guests. Staff members scan through Twitter searching for vacation inquiries. If Hilton has a hotel in the area they will provide suggestions for activities, and restaurants within the city, helping prospective guests plan their vacation ahead of time. Likewise, the Four Seasons uses Pinterest, allowing guests to curate their desired trip. Guests then share the board with the hotel and a staff member will make edits and suggestions for the guest’s stay. The benefits that both Hilton and Four Seasons provide guests with through social media gives visitors a seamless experience when it comes to planning their vacation. It’s like having a personal assistant create your itinerary if you do not have time.

Being social media friendly and gifting guests with hotel perks based on social media engagement allows the hotel to build a relationship with its guests. These interactions are created on a more casual  level allowing guests to feel comfortable and participate in the interactive experience that these hotels are creating. With a tight relationship, guests are sure to return.

You too can score a free vacation — if you have thousands of followers

Now that we know how hotels use social media to help guests achieve their dream vacation, let’s look at how social media influencers are hoteliers’ secret weapons. Influencers are paid to go on vacation. Hotels scout through social media to find the right person who fits their brand, carefully selecting someone with 10,000 or more followers and  strong engagement. In exchange for the free stay, hotels hope for some love on social media. Using influencers is a great way to give guests a first hand experience of what it’s like to stay at the hotel because the content is not coming from the hotel marketing team, but from actual guests. This way, prospective guests can see more than photos of empty rooms on a hotel’s website, they can see the hotel through a different pair of eyes. In some cases, the content influencers create is so beautifully curated that hotel’s will use the content directly on their social media accounts. Fortune reported that The Ritz Carlton has an Instagram feed comprised entirely out of user generated content.  This is a smart tactic because users are able to see the hotels through the lens of guests, instead of a marketing team whose job it is to attract people to the hotel. Posting user generated photos is more honest, and transparent. The photos also tend to be more artistic as guests, especially social media influencers, are able to capture a more personal and unique escape while on vacation.

Vacations are the perfect opportunity to share photos on social media and hotels are helping you do just that. By encouraging social media, hotels are providing an entirely new experience, one that’s based on social interaction that helps build relationships with guests and at the same time promotes the hotel brand.