A solid social media strategy plays a fundamental role in how a hotel connects with its guests. Whether it’s responding to guest concerns on Twitter, answering questions on Facebook Messenger, showing off fun pool pics on Instagram, or creating your own custom filter on Snapchat, hotels are managing an increasing number of social channels in their digital marketing plan. Social media management tools can help to ease the workload.
From streamlining content creation and posting to social listening and analytics integrations, social media tools come with a range of innovative features to make the life of a hotel manager (or the respective marketing agency) so much easier. Depending on your hotel’s specific needs and marketing strategy, there are a range of different platforms available for hotels, both free and paid. We highlight ten of the top social media management tools, offering a range of features and prices to fit every need and budget.
Designed specifically for the hospitality industry, Milestone Internet’s “MediaConnect360” platform is a streamlined management tool that suggests marketing ideas and helps organize content through an integrated dashboard. Knowing that devising new marketing ideas can be tricky, the tool identifies local events and activities that might be worth promoting to engage guests. The Milestone team can also supply ongoing marketing tasks to complement a hotel’s own activity, all of which gets added to a centralized marketing calendar to help manage the workflow across departments. Analytics and scheduling tools also come included.
Pricing: Free trial to start, connect with Milestone to discuss pricing.
In the world of social media management tools, Hootsuite is one of the biggest names out there. One of its big strengths is the way it allows content to be promoted across multiple social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Instagram (through Hootsuite’s mobile app). Workflows can be split between teams and you can assign team leaders to make sure every message has brand approval before being sent. Alongside analytics and reporting, Hootsuite features a social media listening tool that lets you stay on top of what customers are talking about, which is a great way to devise the kind of content likely to gain high levels of engagement. Messages can also be created in advance then auto-scheduled to go out when they’ll gain maximum visibility and interaction. This is a good option for independent properties or small hotel groups.
Pricing: The basic version is free. Pro pricing starts at $9 per month with enterprise pricing available for those after the full range of features.
Simple and intuitive to use, one of Buffer’s standout features is an advanced scheduling tool that lets you queue up content to post at specific times or randomly throughout the day—an especially useful feature if you want your social feed to feel more natural. As well as being able to tackle a batch of content all in one go, you can create customized posts for individual social media accounts, helping to target different audiences with tailored messages. Buffer also has an easy-to-use analytics feature, while its free image creation tool, Pablo, is a useful addition to enhance the visual design of your posts. This is also an affordable option for individual hotels and small hotel groups.
Pricing: Individual plans are free or $10 per month for enhanced features. Three different paid plans start from $99, $199 and $399 per month respectively.
Thanks to providing real-time data from audiences across Facebook and Twitter, Crowdbooster lets you instantly see when your content has been liked, shared, replied and retweeted, giving you an immediate idea of how posts are being responded to. You also receive valuable customer insights with recommendations on when and who to share posts with, and Crowdbooster also offers suggestions on how the quality of your content can be enhanced to increase engagement levels. Tweets and Facebook posts can be scheduled in advance, while data from your dashboard can be easily exported to create your own customized reports. A good option for medium to large hotels and bigger hotel groups.
Pricing: Choose between a bronze, silver, gold or platinum package. The basic package starts from $9 per month with customized pricing for platinum customers.
TweetDeck, which is now owned by Twitter, is a free and easy way to manage your Twitter account. This is especially useful if your hotel manages customer service through Twitter, as it allows you to set up desktop notifications to rapidly respond and engage with tweets from your audience as soon as they appear. You can also choose the Twitter streams and hashtags you’re most interested in following, and schedule tweets in advance.
Pricing: Free through your Twitter account. Any kind of hotel can (and should) take advantage of its features.
Looking for some inspiration for your next Tweet, Facebook message or Instagram post? DashBurst could be your new best friend. Launched off the back of a Kickstarter campaign, DashBurst basically acts as a multimedia social network for content creators, allowing you to curate and share the most interesting text, videos, images, infographics, audio, and articles trending online. This creative resource is a great way to source content in one place rather than potentially spend hours trawling the net. You can also use the platform to schedule posts to your DashBurst and social media accounts.
Pricing: Free. A good complementary tool to have when you’re in need of content inspiration.
The time of day you schedule your posts to go out plays a huge part in overall engagement levels. SocialFlow helps with that all-important timing issue in a big way. By letting you see real-time conversations take place on Twitter and Facebook, you can work out the exact moment when your content is likely to get the most attention from your audience. This all helps to spark more meaningful conversations and build followers. Additional features include the ability to create messages and score them against your audience before publication, and a tool that lets you identify high performing posts worthy of repurposing as paid content to attract extra followers.
Pricing: Paid plans start from $99 per month.
Geared towards creating visual content, MavSocial has a number of distinct benefits for hotels managing multiple social networks. A social media digital library allows videos, photos and graphics to be stored in one place, and you also get free access to over 35 million stock images that can be browsed and licensed within the MavSocial platform. This all means visual content can be quickly accessed and dropped into messages before being published instantly or pre-scheduled. A central dashboard collates all your social data in one simple view, making it easy to keep check on customer engagement levels across accounts. A big benefit for hotels, MavSocial also allows posts to be sent in multiple languages—a fantastic tool for hotels wanting to connect with international travelers.
Pricing: Free version available for small businesses. Customized packages aimed at enterprises and agencies are also available.
For hotels or hotel groups with a serious social marketing plan and a dedicated team to execute it all, Sprout Social is worthy of serious consideration. This deluxe but pricey platform allows for teams to collaborate across multiple social accounts with a “Smart Inbox” that allows you to assign tasks and follow-ups on social posts to various team members. You can also tag posts to better track how specific campaigns perform across time, and a built-in social CRM system also allows you to manage customer relationships via your social networks. Sprout Social also shines with impressive analytics, which are compiled into elegant reports that make it easy to understand the data and share key findings between teams.
Pricing: Deluxe and Premium plans available at $59 and $99 per user per month, and a Team plan is available at $500 for three users.
Also ideal for big hotel groups and brands, Spredfast is a hefty and feature-packed social media management platform. The platform does just about everything else a more lightweight tool can do (schedule posts, manage multiple accounts), but it also comes with a curation platform to source relevant content to share, a promotions tool that lets you build and manage social ad campaigns, and a very robust analytics and intelligence platform with trend tracking and social listening. It also integrates with a number of other major marketing and analytics platforms such as Klout and Google Analytics.
Pricing: Contact Spredfast for pricing.
Choosing the right platform
At its most basic, social media management tools function as a fantastic time-saver, making it easier to manage multiple accounts all in one place. But more than that, they offer the ability to instantly respond to customer interactions, gain invaluable insights, and devise tailored marketing campaigns that maximize engagement levels.
Choosing the right tool comes down to your budget, personal needs, and overall marketing goals. Decide on what your social media marketing KPIs are—whether that’s increasing guest engagement, capturing bookings, or simply driving more new visitors to your hotel website—and see whether or not using a platform may enhance those metrics.