In preparing for our PAII Webinar on Online Marketing Recommendations for Websites (Sept. 30th — register online, it’s free), we took a closer look at some Hotels & Inns we had reviewed recently to look for the strengths in their social media strategies.

Below, I’ll outline some things we know are strong for both the Balch Hotel and the Edenwild Inn with regards to their presence in the social venues.  First, let’s look at the Balch Hotel:

Balch Hotel has a strong social presence

The Balch Hotel covers a range of social sites including those above (Google+, Twitter, and Facebook) with a smart strategy to emphasize different advantages of staying with them

  • This hotel isn’t content to simply show the same image on every site — instead they invested in professional photography showing different concepts and we believe it will pay off.
  • Note the classy wedding photo complete with Rolls Royce auto in the bottom FaceBook header image.  Make no mistake — the lighting was professionally staged and shot, and you can’t help get a feeling of elegance and an air of romance rolled royally all into one.
  • On Twitter (middle image) the property sells the “steak” with a standard, but again professional view of the hotel, where the building itself where you stay is the “steak” and the “sizzle” is what you actually do (like get married) at the property.  But they’re worked some subtle “sizzle” into their logo treatment which shows a view of nearby mountains ripe for the exploring.
  • The top view again shows the purple mountain majesty with a complimentary colored field of Golden wheat to transfer the ambiance of the country side.

Two tactical notes here:  this savvy property understands the old advertising axiom of “sell the sizzle, not the steak”, and you don’t even have to show much of your inn or hotel to get folks interested in what they might do at your property.  We see too many Inns that just seem to overlook the opportunity to think beyond the box — the front facade that so often is the only beauty shot a website or social venue features.

Next up… the Edenwild Inn:

Edenwild Inn social strategies

The Edenwild makes the steak sizzle on Facebook then brings out more hidden benefits on the other social venues.

  • You know, in honor of the mad men of advertising, I am always advising that you “sell the sizzle not the steak,” but the photo the Edenwild Inn, staged for their Facebook header image, reminds me of one thing — if you’re going to sell the steak… make it sizzle.  Again, this is accomplished with smart, professional lighting.
  • Meanwhile on Instagram (middle right), the Inn takes the opportunity to show a variety of things you can do on your visit including boating, eating and dancing. There’s even a video there (we’re not reviewing YouTube here, but videos are important too) that helps tell the story of celebrations at the Inn.  Emotion sells.
  • Lastly, on Pinterest, the Inn puts up a wedding shot (filled with emotion); an outdoor banquet shot (no steak in this one); and one of their famous pies.  What combo could better set the tone with a strong, sensory (taste, smell, sight, the feeling of being in love, the feeling of eating outside on a warm evening in late Summer) presentation about the experience you can enjoy at the Inn?

We reached out to Crystal Rovente InnKeeper at the Edenwild Inn to ask about her experience online and in social media, and she reports that:

“I have really enjoyed making this property visible online since it never was before! We are doing really well and I truly believe much of that can be attributed to our online presence, the website and Google especially.”

Vary what you present in each social venue.  Sell the experience, not the steak (a boring facade photograph).  But if you must sell the steak itself, make it sizzle.  It doesn’t look like the same Inn on each venue?  That’s the point.  You’re selling experiences, not an “Inn”.

Join us for a webinar with PAIIProfessional Association of Innkeepers International— next week on Sept. 30th at 10:30am PST/1:30am EST on “Top 10 Online Marketing Recommendations for Inn Websites” – » Register online (it’s free)!
Scott Frangos

About

Scott serves as Chief Optimizer on the Webdirexion team for both development and content marketing strategy, and is the author of the new book, "The Marketer's Concise Guide to CRO" (Oct. 2015). He is a career marketing communications professional with niche industry specialties in healthcare, law firms, and hotel marketing and holds recent certifications in Google Analytics Mastery (Udemy), and RACE Digital Marketing (Smart Insights).Scott has also taught business, web programming and eCommerce courses at colleges in the Portland, Oregon area. He currently teaches WordPress Content Marketing Power, an online course through Udemy, and has spoken at several Content Marketing conferences.  When he is not geeking out on a Mac, Nexus 7, or Google Chromebook, he enjoys Tai Chi, walking with his two dogs, and survives on Coffee and Pizza.

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