If your hotel’s social media presence isn’t getting you the bookings you want, there’s a simple answer: a great social media competition. Social competitions are genuinely effective methods hotels can use to build a swift online presence and drive direct bookings.

The Hyatt Union Square New York, for example, ran a Facebook sweepstakes contest for a month and increased both engagement and following. They got 3,258 new Facebook fans, 650 unique entrants, and a 55.2% increase in average organic impressions on each Facebook post.

This kind of dramatic result comes because competitions add an incentive for your potential guests to perform activities like following and sharing. If the social media competition is valuable, exciting or unusual, you’ll get results.

However, to be successful, you need to have a few things. Begin with a solid strategy, and set the right rewards for the competition and goals for your hotel.

In order to gain a positive ROI from your competition, you should create a well-planned strategy that ensures you attract the right audience and gain maximum exposure. So today, we’re going to teach you how to run a social media competition your hotel can be proud of.

1. Read the Guidelines:

It’s not the most exciting start, but before you organize a social media know the rules of social media competitioncompetition for your hotel, the first thing you must do is read the guidelines set by the network. Otherwise, you might find your account suspended!

Different networks have different guidelines and rules. For example, on Facebook, you can’t ask people to ‘Like’ your page or tag themselves in order to take part in a competition. On Pinterest, however, you can. So before you do anything else, read the guidelines.

For Facebook, check out this quick guide. If you want to run a promotion on Twitter, the official rules are here, and for Pinterest you can find guidelines here.

2. Choose a Goal:

You can’t arbitrarily create a social media competition and say ‘This will get me more Instagram followers.’ You should have an extremely specific goal, like building a brand image, gaining exposure for a new rate package, or generating emails for your email marketing efforts. The entire purpose of the competition should be to achieve this goal.

In order to take part in the competition, the participants should perform the steps that will help you achieve your goal.

For instance, if your goal is to increase exposure to a new weekend package your hotel is offering, you could run a Pinterest competition. To take part in the competition, people need to create a board and pin images from a blog post or landing page containing photos relevant to that package. As Pinterest drives a lot of engagement and traffic, this will bring in some good exposure.

For example, this Luxury Hotel in Mykonos ran a competition to accomplish objectives like building brand awareness and an email database. Gaining online bookings, Facebook fans and Twitter followers were all secondary objectives. Therefore, to take part, people had to ‘Like’ the Facebook page, upload a themed photo and promote it to get people to like it.

This results-focused competition helped them achieve their mission as they increase website traffic by 187% and traffic to their booking engine by 227%.

An additional note about social competitions: the winners are typically people who are engaged and active on social media, making it more likely that they’ll share opinions and images from their stay online (assuming the prize is a stay in your hotel). This is especially true if you encourage them by providing a hashtag or similar to make it easier.

3. Offer the Right Reward:

A widespread mistake most businesses make is picking a reward that everybody wants. They begin thinking about iPads, iPhones, cars and other expensive things that anybody would like. Prizes like these might attract tons of participants, but many of them will have no interest in your hotel. So, you need to choose a prize your potential guests will be interested in.

Some great prizes you could give away are:

  • a weekend stay at your hotel
  • a free meal at your hotel restaurant
  • free entry to an event near your hotel

If you would like to, you can also give away a discount code or coupon to every participant to encourage them to try out your hotel.

 

4. Create the Landing Page:

After you choose the prize, you can set up the landing page for the social media competition.

The copy on the landing page should be minimal. You only have to inform people about what they can win, how they can take part and when the competition ends. People should be able to share this information in a single tweet. Put an opt-in form on the landing page, asking for a name and email address. You’ll be able to contact the winner, and the emails collected can be used for future marketing campaigns.

Include a link back to your website on this landing page, as it will help drive traffic.

If you don’t work with a marketing agency, social media landing pages can be easily set up using tools Agorapulse, Curalate, Wishpond and Shortstack.

If you want to increase the vitality of your competition, you can use Rafflecopter. It adds extra entries when they follow you on more networks or when they share the competition, getting you more participants.

Another tool that does the same thing as Rafflecopter, but is available for free, is Lockerdome.

You should host Facebook competition on your Facebook page tabs too. Tools like Rafflecopter, Agorapulse and Shortstack will let you do this.

Create a Landing Page to Promote Your Competition

The above landing page from Urban Outfitters is the perfect example. In a few words, they’ve told you the name of the competition, the organizer, the prize, how to participate and when the competition ends.

Hotel Social Media Competition Landing Page

The above landing page from Hotel 1000 is another great example. It tells you what you can win, how to take part and the rules you need to follow. This competition also does a great idea of offering unique, valuable rewards. The only thing missing is the end date. The end date is important, as time constrains add urgency to your message and attract more participants.

5. Promote It:

After you publish the landing page, you must promote it to get the maximum number of people to participate.

Start by sharing it on your social media channels and run paid social media ads. Also, let your email subscribers know about the competition. Send an email out on the day the competition is launched, a few days before it ends and the day it ends. You want to reach as many people as possible! Advertising your list in an email newsletter will also help. For best results, rent lists owned by local travel and food bloggers.

Publishing a press release about the competition and listing it on competition sites can attract more participants.

6. Announce the Winner Publicly:

Announcing the winner(s) publicly is an important step too as it will give them their 15 seconds of fame. This will spur them to promote the competition to their friends and followers thereby giving you more exposure.

It will also add credibility for future competitions. After all, there are always a few dishonest businesses looking to gain a quick ‘like’ without following through.

When the winner(s) visit your hotel to claim their prize, ask them to share a few pictures on social media! Give them a hashtag, and make it as easy for them as possible to share online.

 

Conclusion

These are the fundamentals of what you need to run a social media competition your hotel can be proud of. Follow these steps while creating yours, and you can take your hotel’s social media followers and turn them into bookings.

What steps do you follow while creating social media competitions for hotels? Tell us below!