Hostel Marketing

Hostel Social Media Marketing: Platform by Platform (2020)

Do you see the value in social media marketing for your hostel?
Don’t have the time to invest?

Well, let me take you by the hand…

And lead through a step by step guide

That will take away the mystery.

And send you on your way to becoming a hostel social media marketing BOSS

Facebook Marketing for Hostels

If you only have time or resources to be on one social media platform Facebook is still the one.

Yes, your mother (and her mother probably) have Facebook profiles but so do the younger demographics.

Facebook is THE internet for a lot of people. 

They get the news, products, and everything they’re interested in right in their feed.

Facebook should STILL be playing an important role in helping improve bed sales in low season.

They can search and find what they want and 82% of all users fall into the 18-29 age bracket.

Stats:
72% of adult internet users use Facebook 
(58% of the entire adult population)
 
2.38 billion (yes billion) monthly active users (as of March 2019)

1.56 billion (yes billion) log in daily (as of March 2019)

More women than men

88% of users fall into the 18-29 age bracket

Do's for Hostel Facebook Marketing in 2020

So lets start with the do’s that should be the cornerstones of any good social media marketing strategy for hostels.

Strong, identifiable, attractive cover photo & profile images of your hostel

So I think we can all agree that this is a no brainer.

No grainy images, no grumpy, miserable looking people.

Don’t overload your images with text (think 80/20-ish)

Custom Tabs

Below are some example of the customs tabs available on your business page in Facebook.

Experiment, try them out.

Don’t be afraid to see if something works.

And don’t forget, just because something didn’t work 6 months ago, doesn’t mean it won’t work today.
  • Room tours
  • Specials
  • Book Now
  • Contests

Check this out to see how to add a custom tab to your hostels Facebook page step by step.

Facebook Open Graph Meta Tags

What is this witch craft?

Basically…

… it allows you to control what content shows up in Facebook when one of your pages is shared.

You choose what people see when your hostel’s content is shared!

Post regularly

There are no hard and fast rules here.

For example…

If your business is seasonal the frequency of updates should reflect this.

Bear in mind – Facebook has an organic reach of less than 5%.

(Less than 5% of your fans will see what you post in their feed)

Encourage Engagement

Posting rubbish that no-one is interested in doesn’t really benefit anybody.

And with the organic reach of Facebook posts dropping all the time, the less people engage with your posts the less Facebook will show them.

Create and share hostel events

Organise events in your hostel?

Make sure to let your future guests know about it?

An ever increasing number of travelers will check a hostel’s Facebook page before booking. (some studies studies say over 60% – most agree on around 35%)

Showing that your hostel is active, fun, social AND interested in looking after guests can sway the guests to choosing you over your competition.

This applies to your website too. 

Even if they end up booking your hostel on an OTA the chances are they’ve checked out your website first.

This is your chance to influence them into choosing you!

Experiment with new features

Facebook is constantly experimenting with new features.

You should too!

They’re not going to damage your brand or reputation in any way but these new features gives your hostel the opportunity to start the conversation and create some engagement.

  • Facebook live video (probably the most risky all things considered)
  •  360 images (make boring sterile pictures of rooms a bit more interesting)
  • Canvas
  • Tours of your hostel property

Share positive reviews/ stories from guests

Soooo, this is obviously prone to abuse.

But… social proof in any form influences the masses into clicking that “BOOK NOW” button.

All I would say is keep it realistic and truthful. 

The reviews should reflect the reality of your hostel.

If your hostel’s not the cleanest don’t put reviews up saying it’s “the cleanest hostel I ever stayed in”

Do 2 things.

1) clean your fucking hostel.

2) maybe put a review saying ” it wasn’t the cleanest but the building is old and the staff more made up for it”

Respond to ALL guest reviews

Same as on an OTA.

Don’t leave shitty reviews sitting there gathering dust.

They don’t go away.

Deal with them in a professional and positive way showing your personality.

And of course, say thanks to everyone you says how great the hostel was and can’t wait to come back.

Don’t use canned copy and paste responses.

Show you’re a human and you care.

SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY

Show your personality

Facebook give you a great opportunity to show your personality.

This can really set you part from your competitors as guests will resonate with the content you post and it can sway them in your hostels direction, during the booking process.

Showcase your destination

It can’t all be about you!

There are some exceptions but generally, people aren’t visiting your destination to see the hostel.

Post content that they’ll be interested in.

Be an ambassador for your destination.

Check your audience insights

Facebook’s insights and reports can give a lot of really useful information.

You can build this into your hostel’s social media marketing plan.

What works!

What doesn’t!

What NOT to do in your hostels Facebook Marketing plan

A short list of no-no’s to think about when developing the Facebook strategy for your hostel.

#No-no 1. Don't ignore bad comments and reviews

This means responding and taking the conversation offline.

#No-no 2. Don't set it & forget it

TThere’s nothing worse than a stale Facebook profile.

 A huge percentage of your guests are checking your Facebook profile before they book

#No-no 3. #Don't Use hashtags

Unless it’s your own branded hashtag. 

Or your running a competition.
They don’t belong on Facebook, annoy a lot of people and just look plain gross.

Facebook is consumed differently to Twitter and they’re not necessary.

They look messy and don’t really add any value to the post or consumer.

Before your next # littered Facebook post take a look around.

See how it looks on other people’s posts.

Facebook # = Zero Value
# = Twitter + Instagram

If you still think it’s a good idea then go ahead…

#No-no 4. Don't pretend to be nice and get caught out.

  • Text Hover
Like this.

Someone smelled a poo poo.

This saga has been raging online since 2015.

Now, I don’t know (or care) if the lockers where free in 2015 and they’re not now. The damage is done.

The hostel didn’t react and it just looks like they don’t care that their housekeepers may be stealing.
(Why didn’t he just use the locker!?)

Cool Hostel Facebook Pages:

Conclusion:

The main thing with Facebook is don’t overthink it, show your personality and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Just because something works (or doesn’t) now does not mean it will (or won’t) work in 6 months time.

The vast majority of your guests and future guests hang out there.

Respond to all comments and show your personality when responding. Don’t use pre-packed canned responses.

Don’t be afraid to say thank you.

You should really look on your facebook page as an extension of your front desk. 

In many cases it will be the first impression a new guest will have of your hostel.

36% of people check Facebook before booking – So stay positive and interesting

It’s a great platform to engage with your hostel guests past and future and encourages a 2 way conversation also giving you the opportunity to learn from them.

Oh yeah, and don’t use hashtags #ever #lol #hostel #life

Instagram Marketing for Hostels

Instagram can really help boost your hostel’s online presence. 

What’s essential here is the person managing it has a good eye and great taste in pictures that represent your hostel.

A couple of stats about Instagram:
28% of online adult internet users are active on Instagram

 80% of Instagram users are under the age of 35

More women hang out on Instagram than men (29% vs 22%)

Do's for your Hostels Instagram profile

Some of the same principals can be applied to your Instagram account as to your hostels Facebook marketing campaign.

Use High Quality Images

It’s so so important on Instagram that you use high quality images and video.

People on Instagram are used to seeing top quality images and their eyes and brain are trained to them.

You will not get anyone’s attention with grainy low quality images of the hostel.

Clever Captions

Use clear, clever, concise and descriptive captions.

Encourage Engagement

You want (and need) people to interact with the awesome content your posting.

If you’re lacking inspiration check out my list of ideas at the bottom of the page to help encourage engagement with your hostels social media content.

Use Relevant Hashtags

Use relevant hashtags that will help people find your content

Add your hostels location to the image

Adding your hostels location to your Instagram post will…

What not to do when using Instagram to promote your hostel

Don't over-use filters

You have better taste than that…

Surely…

Don't over-use hashtags

It’s not as much of a sin as it is on Facebook but there’s no need to go nuts with hashtags on Instagram.

Keep ’em for later…

Cool Hostel Instagram Pages

Social Media Post Ideas for your Hostel 

Here you’ll find a list of ideas for your hostel social media posts.
I’ve divided them into different categories to help slot them into your marketing plan.

Create Engagment 

1. FAQ (make sure you answer them)
2. Questions (ask your hostel fans a question)
3. Surveys / Polls
4. Hostel pictures
5. Travel tips & tricks (Timbuktu on $2.39 a day)
6. Facts about your destination
7. Facts about your hostel
8. Behind the scenes (these places don’t run themselves)
9. Trivia
Promote your destination


10. Events going on near the hostel
11. Holiday posts / specials
12. Area attractions, bars, restaurants, museums
13. Positive media about your hostel’s destination

Hostel News

14. Renovations or upgrades (maybe not re-siliconing the moldy bathroom but other stuff, why not?)
15. Staff/employee highlights
16. Media coverage
User generated content by hostel guests


17. Guest reviews
18. Guest pictures
19. Guest stories
20. Guest special events (class reunions etc)
21. Submit vacation images
22. Name our new — (Ex: cocktail, goldfish, hostel mascot)
23. Ideas for new menu items (if you do food)
24. Best hostel selfie
25. Favorite thing about the hostel
26. Selfie at favourite tourist attraction in the area
27. Best fan sign
28. Location-specific (ex: sand castle, surfboard, coffee, beer)
29. Share your best travel tip for future hostel guests
30. Hostel scavenger/treasure hunt
31. Holiday video diary
32. Hostel trivia
33. Destination trivia
34. Submit a hostel trip review/blog

Ideas for hostel video content


35. Room tours
36. Amenities tour
37. Hostel events
38. Guest interviews
39. Common Room Tour
40. A short weekly update of whats going on and name it something flashy
41. Got a bar tender with skills – Show them off
42. Guest Testimonials/Reviews (Social Proof works)