How to Leverage Social Media to Increase Your Hotel Direct Bookings

June 13, 2023

Are you a hotelier grappling with the burden of sky-high commission fees demanded by online travel agencies (OTAs)? OTAs may seem like a necessary evil to keep occupancy rates high, but don’t give up on direct bookings just yet. 

Luckily, we live in a day and age where social media exists, providing you constant access to a pool of billions of potential guests. Are you truly harnessing the full potential of social media in your digital marketing strategy, or is there more to be gained from this powerful tool? 

With the right social media strategy in place, your hotel can reap the benefits of improved brand recognition and customer engagement – two crucial factors behind hotel direct bookings. 

Unlike your website, social media allows you to directly engage with your ideal guests, through likes, comments and even direct messages. This direct communication removes barriers between your brand and the customer, which helps to create a sense of loyalty and trust. 

However, building a successful social media marketing strategy requires an understanding of:

  1. Which platforms are right for your hotel and target audience? 
  2. Who do you need to hire to get the job done, and done well?
  3. What are the key strategies for your marketing team to achieve success?

Throw into the mix the new focus on video content, particularly short-form video, and emerging platforms like TikTok, it is more important than ever for hoteliers to keep a pulse on social media marketing trends. 

Why is Social Media Important for Hotels?

  • Connect with potential guests: Social media provides a direct channel to engage with new customers, showcase your hotel’s unique features, and build relationships.
  • Increase brand visibility: Social media platforms offer extensive reach, allowing you to expand your hotel’s online presence and attract a larger audience.
  • Drive traffic to your website: Through compelling content and strategic calls-to-action, social media can direct users to your hotel’s website, where they can make direct bookings.
  • Enhance guest experiences: By actively engaging with guests on social media, you can address their queries, provide personalized recommendations, and create a positive impression.
  • Influencer collaborations: Social media platforms enable partnerships with influencers and travel bloggers to showcase your hotel, reach new audiences, and generate direct bookings.

Best Social Media Platforms for Direct Bookings in 2023


While there have been predictions about the decline of Facebook as a social media platform, it continues to be useful for the hospitality industry for several reasons:

  • Massive User Base: Facebook’s user base consists of 2.96 billion people worldwide. Even if some users are reducing their activity on Facebook, the platform still provides access to a substantial number of active users.
  • Impressive Ad Targeting: With highly targeted advertising options on Facebook, you can reach specific demographics, interests, and locations. This precise targeting allows you to tailor your marketing messages to potential guests who are more likely to convert. It’s an effective way to increase brand awareness and drive bookings.
  • Impact and ROI: Facebook is still believed to be the best platform for generating sales, by 34% of marketers. This is thanks to Facebook’s in-depth analytics reporting and data, which you can leverage to refine your marketing strategies, identify trends, and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. 


Instagram is a highly visual platform, making it perfect for showcasing the visual appeal of your hotel properties. Instagram is hailed as the top platform for increasing exposure, as recognized by 76% of marketers. This is particularly crucial for hotels in their competition against large online travel agencies (OTAs).

  • Visual Storytelling: Through high-quality photos and videos, your marketing team can highlight your property’s stunning features. This visual storytelling helps create a captivating and immersive experience for potential guests, enticing them to book a stay.
  • Influencer Marketing: Instagram is where the modern idea of an “influencer” really took off, and remains a space where travel bloggers and content creators thrive. Collaborating with influencers who have a significant following and influence in the travel niche can greatly benefit your marketing efforts. Tap into an influencer’s engaged audience to gain exposure beyond your own marketing channels.
  • User-Generated Content: Instagram encourages user-generated content (UGC), where guests share their experiences and photos while staying at hotels. UGC is a powerful marketing tool as it provides authentic and relatable content that potential guests trust. 


TikTok is the latest social media platform to hit the scene, and is beloved by Gen Z – but don’t write it off as just another “teen app.”  According to a study conducted by MMGY Global, 34% of travelers were influenced by TikTok in 2022, and as much as 40% of travelers over 30 prefer to research travel options on TikTok. 

This marks an important shift in how hotels must approach social media marketing, with Forbes stating, “the best marketing strategy in 2023 will be one with integrated video.”

  • Growing User Base: TikTok is quickly becoming the preferred platform for researching and viewing travel-related content, especially for Gen Z and Millennials. By leveraging this platform, hotels can engage with a new generation of travelers and capture their attention.
  • Creative and Engaging Content: TikTok is all about short-form video content, encouraging creativity and storytelling in a concise format. By creating engaging and shareable content, hotels can increase brand visibility, generate buzz, and attract the attention of potential guests.
  • Authenticity and User-Generated Content: TikTok thrives on authentic and relatable content. Hotel marketers can encourage guests to create and share user-generated content (UGC) featuring their stay, such as fun moments, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or unique experiences. UGC not only provides social proof but also helps in building a sense of community and authenticity around your hotel, making it more appealing to potential guests.
  • Unmatched Organic Reach & Engagement: The average organic reach for brands on TikTok is 118%, an impressive figure when compared to Facebook’s organic reach of 5.2%. This is thanks to TikTok’s algorithm, which tailors viewers’ content feeds to their interests with pinpoint accuracy. 


YouTube’s video content generates higher engagement compared to static images and written posts, similar to TikTok. Moreover, as the second largest search engine, YouTube holds significant importance to any hotel’s social media marketing.

  • Visual Showcase: YouTube allows hotels to visually showcase their properties through high-quality videos, virtual tours, and drone footage, providing potential guests with a compelling and immersive experience.
  • SEO Benefits: YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. By optimizing videos with relevant keywords and descriptions, hotels can improve their visibility in search results and drive organic traffic to their channel and website.
  • Engaging Content: YouTube offers a platform for hotels to create engaging and informative content, such as travel guides, local attractions, and behind-the-scenes videos. This helps build brand credibility, engage with the audience, and establish the hotel as an authority in the travel industry.


LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, presents a valuable opportunity for hotels to increase direct bookings, especially when targeting business travelers and corporate retreats. With its distinct audience demographics, LinkedIn offers unique advantages that can translate into significant revenue growth.

  • Target Business Travelers: By leveraging LinkedIn, hotels can establish themselves as reputable and reliable options that cater specifically to the needs and preferences of this segment. Securing direct bookings from business travelers can lead to increased revenue due to their reduced price sensitivity and potential for longer stays.
  • Establishing Thought Leadership and Trust: Sharing valuable insights, tips, and updates relevant to business travelers helps hotels establish thought leadership.
  • Precise Advertising Targeting: LinkedIn’s advertising tools enable targeted campaigns with parameters such as industry, job title, company size, and location.Hotels can ensure their promotional messages reach the right audience, increasing the likelihood of driving direct bookings.

How to Build a Hotel Social Media Strategy in 2023

1. Understand your audience

  • Identify your target audience and create buyer personas to tailor your content accordingly.
  • Research their demographics, interests, travel preferences, and pain points. This information will help you create content that resonates with them.

2. Select your platforms

  • Analyze the characteristics of each platform (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram) and select the ones that align with your target audience and hotel’s brand image.
  • Prioritize platforms where your potential guests are most active. This ensures you focus your efforts where they are most likely to be effective.

3. Work with a social media strategist to flesh out your strategy

  • Collaborate with a social media strategist to develop a comprehensive strategy for your hotel’s social media presence.
  • Define content buckets that align with your target audience’s interests, pain points, and travel aspirations.
  • Consider hiring specialized social media content creators or influencers for high-quality content production.
  • Create a content calendar and schedule to ensure consistent and timely posting.
  • Implement robust reporting and analytics tools to measure the success of your social media efforts.

4. Adapt your messaging for each platform

  • Tailor your content to fit the characteristics and expectations of each platform.
  • Understand the tone, style, and content formats that resonate with your audience on each platform. For example, LinkedIn may require a more professional and informative tone, while Instagram may focus on visual storytelling.

5. Experiment and research

  • Continuously test different content strategies, formats, and posting times to identify what resonates best with your audience.
  • Stay updated with the latest social media trends and adapt your approach accordingly. This helps you stay ahead of the competition and ensure your content remains engaging and relevant.

6. Understand paid vs. organic social media content

  • Differentiate between paid advertising and organic content strategies.
  • Allocate a budget for paid advertising campaigns to target specific audiences and drive direct bookings.
  • Utilize the targeting capabilities of social media platforms to reach your desired audience effectively.
  • Balance paid campaigns with organic content to maintain an authentic and engaging presence.

12 Social Media Strategies to Increase Direct Bookings

1. Prioritize Short-Form Video: 

According to stats from Wyzowl, 89% of people say video marketing has persuaded them to purchase a product or service. To take advantage of the popularity of short-form video in particular, create engaging short videos to showcase your hotel’s unique features, amenities, and experiences. 

Capture attention quickly and provide a glimpse of what guests can expect. Focus on building an audience on platforms like TikTok and Instagram which prioritize short-form video content. 

2. Share Stories and Relatable Experiences: 

Stories are a powerful way to sell, especially when it comes to promoting your hotel. By allowing viewers to imagine themselves as guests, relaxing at your hotel, you can increase the likelihood of direct bookings. 

Treat social media as a platform to connect with your guests as friends, not just customers. Rather than constantly advertising and selling, focus on sharing interesting facts, tips, links, and stories. 

Social media accounts that solely promote sales tend to perform poorly compared to those that engage in storytelling and light-hearted content. 

3. Show Your Face: 

People are more likely to choose a hotel that they feel connected to on a personal level. By featuring your staff members and management, you can humanize your brand and create a sense of familiarity and trust.

One effective way to introduce your team members is through videos or posts that showcase their personalities, expertise, and passion for providing excellent hospitality. These videos can be short and engaging, allowing potential guests to get a glimpse of the friendly faces they might encounter during their stay. Sharing behind-the-scenes moments or fun anecdotes about your staff can also add a touch of authenticity and make your brand more relatable.

4. Give a Behind-the-Scenes Look: 

Bring your social media followers on a tour of your hotel, offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of your hotel operations, such as housekeeping, kitchen preparations, or event setups. 

For example, take viewers on a captivating journey to the sea when showcasing your hotel restaurant’s feature dish with local lobster. By highlighting the local fishermen who bring in the fresh catch, you not only build a sense of community but also showcase the unique aspects of your destination. 

5. Share Property Walk-Throughs: 

Why tell your followers about your hotel’s unique features, when you could show them instead? Immerse your online audience in the guest experience by offering virtual tours of your hotel and showcasing different room types, amenities, and common areas. 

6. Run Platform-Exclusive Contests and Promotions: 

Engage your social media followers by running exclusive contests and promotions on each platform. Encourage them to participate and share the content to increase brand visibility.

7. Adapt for Seasons and Holidays: 

Customize your content and promotions to align with seasonal events, holidays, and local festivities. Offer special packages, discounts, or themed experiences to attract bookings during specific periods.

8. Respond and Engage with Followers: 

Promptly respond to comments, messages, and reviews on your social media platforms. Engage in conversations, address queries, and provide personalized recommendations to show your commitment to guest satisfaction.

9. Learn from Top-Performing Content: 

Analyze the performance of your social media content and identify the types of posts, formats, or topics that generate the most engagement and bookings. Replicate and refine successful strategies.

10. Always Include a Call-to-Action (CTA): 

Include clear and compelling CTAs in your social media posts to direct potential guests to your hotel’s website or booking platform. Encourage them to take immediate action, such as “Book Now” or “Learn More.”

11. Diversify Your Content Between Paid and Organic:

Strike a balance between paid advertising campaigns and organic content. Allocate budget for targeted ads to reach specific audiences, while also consistently posting organic content that showcases your hotel’s value and offerings.

12. Focus on Keywords Over Hashtags

In the past, hashtags were necessary for categorizing your content on social media, but social networks have slowly begun to lean heavily on SEO as platforms like TikTok are turning into visual search engines. 

Instead of placing multiple hashtags at the end of your captions, try incorporating travel-related keywords into your content and caption. This increases the likelihood of your content appearing under search queries relevant to the hotel industry.