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Instagram for hotels – 4 marketing ideas you can steal

Posted by Emily Tatti on Apr 1, 2015 10:00:00 AM
Emily Tatti

If there’s one social media platform hotels should be focusing on, it’s definitely Instagram. The photo-centric network is absolutely exploding right now. It has 300 million monthly users, which is 22 million more than Twitter.

While businesses – particularly travel brands and cafes – are using it to engage with their customers, it hasn’t been taken over by paid advertising the way Facebook has, which makes it much easier to reach people and build a following. It’s just a matter of posting consistently, using the right hashtags, engaging with your followers in a creative way, and understanding the platform

Take a look at how these popular hotel brands are killing it with Instagram. 

1888 Hotel

1888 Hotel is a pretty unique case. The heritage-listed property is actually designed to cater to Instagram users. Every room, from the top floor to the lobby, is arranged so that guests feel inspired to take photos.

There is a selfie station near the front desk, where guests can snap a photo as soon as they check-in (using the hashtag #1888Hotel, of course).


Now that's a #selfie #beautiful #bride #bridesmaids #1888hotel #congratulations from @8hotels

A photo posted by 8Hotels (@8hotels) on

How to do it: Set up a selfie station in a highly trafficked area of your hotel, like the lobby or the dining room. Put up a beautiful backdrop and have some props handy. Post a sign advertising your hotel’s hashtag (a chalkboard works well) so guests tag your hotel when they share their pic on Instagram. 

Hotel Indigo

Hotel Indigo has 31 properties around the world, in countries like the US, the UK, China and Italy. To celebrate the opening of its first hotel in Southeast Asia, it has launched a competition highlighting its multicultural identity.

Users simply have to share a photo of their favourite place with the hashtag #myneighbourhoodcontest and their name, where they’re from and why the neighbourhood inspires them through its food, culture or art for their chance to win a free holiday.

There have been nearly 2000 entries so far. It would be very easy for a small hotel to run a similar campaign with the right hashtag.

How to do it:
Come up with a shortlist of possible hashtags (try to incorporate your hotel's name if you can). Then visit a website called Iconosquare and search for each hashtag in the search bar. Iconosquare will tell you exactly how many people are using that hashtag. If it isn’t being used by more than 20 or 30 people, snatch it up for your campaign. 

The Redbury

The Redbury’s Instagram account is curated by Matthew Rolston, a well-known American photographer and director. This makes sense – the hotel, which has properties in both Miami and Hollywood, is very fashion-centric.

But every now and then, the hotel shares a guest review from TripAdvisor on a nicely branded template. 


David B. from @tripadvisor is keeping the #Thanksgiving spirit going! #TheRedburySB #FanFriday

A photo posted by The Redbury (@theredbury) on

How to do it: You can download a free app called Over, which adds text and artwork to photos. Just take a snap of your hotel, find a positive review on TripAdvisor, and use Over to add the text to the picture.

Alternatively, you can use a tool called Canva, which allows you to choose from a library of stock images and fonts to create professional looking graphics. Browse their pre-designed templates to create something that matches your branding. Follow the Redbury’s example and post on a Friday with the hashtag #FanFriday to maximise your likes. 

Tablet Hotels

Tablet Hotels recently ran a very popular photo contest on its Instagram account. Followers were encouraged to share their #TabletMoment (a photo of their stay at one of the hotel's locations) to win 5 nights of accommodation. Tablet then shared some of the best competition entries to build hype for the competition. 

How to do it: Use a free app called Repost to share other users’ photos on your Instagram page. The app automatically credits the original user, but you can also add your own comments and hashtags. Download it here on iTunes or here on Google Play.


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Topics: Hospitality marketing, Hotels