Best Practices for Hotels: Guide to Social Media Competitions

Social media competitions are one of the most effective methods hotels can use to build a swift online presence.

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, a 55.2% increase in average organic impressions on each Facebook post and 100% average increase in Likes on each Facebook post.

This kind of dramatic result comes because competitions can instantly persuade hundreds and thousands of people to perform activities like following and sharing.

However, to be successful, you need to have a few things first, from a solid strategy to the right rewards and goals.

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 share the best practices for hotels’ social media competitions.

1. Read the Guidelines:

It’s not the most exciting start, but before you organize a social media competition for your hotel, the first thing you must do is read the guidelines set by the network – otherwise, you might find your account suspended.

read the rules social media competitions

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, whereas on Pinterest you’re allowed to do those things. 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 competition and say ‘I am going to use it to get more Instagram followers.’ You should have an extremely specific goal, like building a brand image, gaining exposure for a new package or generating leads. 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%.

3. Give Away a Relevant 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
  • free entry to an event

If you would like to, you can also give away coupons to every participant to encourage them to try out your hotel.


Select Hotels of Ireland recently ran a competition. They wanted to attract participants who would be interested in a stay at the hotel. Therefore, the prize offered was a 2 night stay in one of their hotels, B&B and dinner on one evening for 2 adults as the prize.

4. Create the Landing Page:

After you choose the prize, you can set up the landing page.

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. At the end of the landing page place an opt-in form and ask people to sign up with their name and email address so that you can inform them if they win. 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.

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 incentivises contestants by providing extra entries when they follow you on more networks or when they share the competition, thereby helping you get 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 have managed to tell you the name of the competition, who is organising it, how much you can win, 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. A unique thing about this competition is that it shows how to get creative with your prizes. 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 social media ads. Then inform your email subscribers 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 some credibility. Sceptical people will realize that it was a real competition and they truly missed out on a great prize. They will be more inclined to take part in future competitions. When the winner(s) visit your hotel to claim their prize take a picture of them enjoying themselves and share it on social media.


As you can see in the above screenshot, Select Hotels announced the names of all 4 winners on their landing page. Seeing their name on a highly trafficked website will get them excited and they will share it around.


These are the best practices for hotels’ social media competitions. Follow them while creating yours, and you can take your hotel’s social media marketing goals and turn them into tangible results.

Here’s a checklist to make sure you’re staying on top of the game:

best practices social media competitions checklist

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

You May Also Like