The hotel industry has undergone some turbulent years thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. When travel was restricted, the industry nearly collapsed. However, we’ve seen a tremendous return to travel in 2023.
According to the BCD Travel Research and Intelligence team’s 2024 outlook report, that continued recovery may slow in 2024. However, the demand for hotel rooms is still higher than the supply, which is good news for hotel brands, who can expect steady occupancy throughout the year. Hotel brands are already finding new ways to attract guests in 2024, including on their social media.
According to our Social Media Benchmark Report for 2023, the travel industry was one of the top professions to watch on social media, especially on TikTok and Facebook. Hotel brands in particular have been getting creative with new tactics to gain engagement online. Here’s a look at how the top hotel brands on social media are convincing followers to pack their bags and book a room.
The Top 4 Hotel Brands on Social Media
Best Hotel Brand on Facebook: Hard Rock Hotels
What Makes Them Stand Out: Optimizing content for search
One thing we love about Hard Rock Hotels is that their social media presence seems to be looking toward the future. According to TINT’s State of Social & User-Generated Content 2023 Report, nearly 76% of people surveyed said that they used social media to search for products, brands, or experiences. That number is only expected to increase as we head into 2024.
Social media platforms have their own search functions, where the social network will recommend relevant posts based on search terms, hashtags, and keywords that the user types into the search bar. The three social networks that people use the most often to search for new things? Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, which is why it’s so crucial to make sure your content is search-optimized on these networks.
This tactic is prevalent throughout Hard Rock Hotels’ Facebook posts, where the hotel brand uses keywords that will help them get discovered by people searching for travel inspiration. Consider if someone were to look up “pet-friendly hotels.” They’ll be more likely to stumble across Hard Rock Hotels’ content, such as this post that talks about their Unleashed program that allows dogs to stay with their owners. The post even uses “pet-friendly hotel” in the link to their website.
The use of such descriptive keywords can help them get ahead of their competition, who may not yet be optimizing their content for Facebook’s search engine. This post, which was one of the brand’s top posts by engagement rate between December 1, 2022, and November 30, 2023, earned a 3.43% engagement rate, about 39x the average engagement rate of the travel industry on Facebook.
Best Hotel Brand on Instagram: Hilton
What Makes Them Stand Out: Highlighting unique experiences
With so many other hotel brands out there, Hilton has found a way to stand out online by focusing on the experiences you can only get with them. From hotel rooms inspired by Barbie to an “Aladdin”-influenced suite that comes with tickets to the Broadway production of the beloved story, many of Hilton’s Instagram posts with the highest engagement rate in 2023 focused on what made staying at a Hilton hotel different.
The brand’s top post by engagement rate focused on the partnership between Hilton and “Aladdin the Musical” that allowed for this special suite and deal. The post gained an engagement rate of 2.63%, about 5.66x the average engagement rate for the travel industry on Instagram. Beyond simply talking about the unique suite, it also promoted the complimentary tickets, which were a major selling point of the deal.
According to Instagram’s internal data, 70% of users turn to the platform before making a purchase, which is why it’s beneficial to utilize your Instagram posts to talk about what makes buying from you special. By highlighting a one-of-a-kind offer or discount, like the deal of getting complimentary Broadway tickets, Hilton focused on an important selling point for staying at their Hilton New York Times Square location and encouraged potential customers along in their journey toward booking a room at the hotel.
Best Hotel Brand on Twitter: Accor Hotels
What Makes Them Stand Out: Hosting giveaways
Throughout many of Rival IQ’s studies and reports, we’ve found that hosting giveaways is one of the best ways to boost engagement on Twitter. Giveaways come in many different forms, but they often encourage engagement through comments, likes, or retweets. They can even boost your following if having someone follow you is part of the rules of your giveaway.
Accor Hotels found success through giveaways during this time period, with the hotel brand’s top tweet by engagement rate for the year being a giveaway of two courtside seats for the NBA Paris Game at the Accor Arena. The tweet earned an engagement rate of 24%, nearly 800x the average engagement rate on Twitter for the travel industry.
It’s worth noting that the brand published more tweets with contests and giveaways throughout the year. Another giveaway, this time for two tickets to the French Open and a night’s stay at one of their hotels, came in as the tweet with the second-highest engagement rate for the year.
However, the brand also proved that not all giveaways and contests are created equal. Another giveaway simply said in the caption that users would help “create our greeting card and try to win an amazing trip.” The rules for entry were in the comments instead of the caption, and what precisely the trip would be was unspecified. The result was much lower engagement than the other giveaway posts, which goes to show why it’s essential to be specific in what your prize is and make it easy to follow the rules for entry. This takeaway is vital for finding giveaway success on Twitter.
Best Hotel Brand on TikTok: Club Med
What Makes Them Stand Out: Creating content worth saving
Club Med demonstrated some excellent tactics for securing engagement on TikTok, starting with their ability to create content worth saving and returning to watch. One way to greatly increase views and engagement on TikTok is by creating videos with inspirational and informative content. By creating such content, viewers will be more likely to come back, upping your view count and your potential for engagement. Many of Club Med’s TikToks are travel inspiration or recipe posts.
These types of posts give valuable information that people want to save and come back to watch again. Some of the brand’s top TikToks by engagement rate even go so far as to suggest viewers “save for travel inspiration” in the caption. Many of these top videos also ask people to share their own travel tips in the comments, encouraging more engagement that provides valuable information.
One of the brand’s top posts of the year, which shared travel tips for Bali, used this format. The video earned an engagement rate by view of 3.54%, which is 2.67x the average engagement rate by view of the top hotel brands in this article.
Trends from the Hotel Industry on Social Media
Many of the top hotel brands on social media showcased strategies that could be utilized far beyond the travel industry. Let’s dive into some of the top takeaways from hotel brands on social networks and how they can help other companies looking to make some waves online.
Go for Quick Cuts
Club Med used many excellent tactics to get engagement online. Another way they stood out as the top hotel brand on TikTok was their usage of quick cuts instead of extended scenes.
As you watch through Club Med’s top TikToks by engagement rate, you’ll find that many videos are made up of still images or short scenes, like this post that’s a compilation of short clips of experiences you could have at Club Med Kani in the Maldives. The post earned an engagement rate by view of 1.37%, which is on par with the average engagement rate by view of the hotel brands listed in this article.
Club Med’s success with this tactic makes sense when you consider Facebook Blueprints Insights’ data about which videos tend to get the most engagement on social media. According to their research, the most engaging videos have scenes averaging 2.8 seconds long.
Try Out Boosting
One trend we’ve noticed throughout our reports on the best brands on social media is that many are giving boosting a try, especially on Facebook. According to Hubspot’s research, Facebook remains the social media platform with the highest return on investment (ROI), which makes it a perfect place to put more of your boosting budget.
Sandals Resorts saw a great deal of success with boosting on Facebook. Rival IQ found that all of the brand’s top 10 Facebook posts by engagement rate during this time period were all likely boosted. The brand’s top post by engagement rate, which focused on their new Jamaican location, garnered a 1.23% engagement rate, about 14x the average engagement rate of the travel industry on Facebook.
Make Meaningful Partnerships
When Hyatt partnered with Jalin Hyatt, he was a college football star who was on the rise. Though their matching names were fun, Hyatt was much more strategic in choosing him than just deciding on the partnership because of his name. The hotel got in on the ground floor of something big, as Jalin Hyatt is now a wide receiver for the New York Giants.
Posts about Jalin and Hyatt’s partnership took off. Hyatt’s top post by engagement rate on Instagram was about the collaboration, while the top four tweets by engagement rate focused on Jalin, as well. The tweet with the highest engagement rate went further to talk about just what went into the partnership.
Instead of simply looking for a celebrity endorsement, Hyatt also gained goodwill from fans by providing the families of Jalin’s entire college football team with Hyatt gift cards to give them a place to stay during the team’s major games. This tactic demonstrates that you don’t necessarily need the most famous celebrity for a good partnership. You just need to be strategic about who you choose and what you make a part of the collaboration. This tweet earned a 1.16% engagement rate, about 36x the average engagement rate for the travel industry on Twitter.
To determine the best hotel brands on social media, we first compiled a list of the most prominent hotel brands worldwide. We then compared their engagement rates between December 1, 2022, and November 30, 2023, against the average engagement rates of the travel industries on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, according to our Social Media Industry Benchmark Report. To move on to the next round, each brand also needed to post an average of at least once a week. From there, the brand with the highest engagement rate was chosen as the winner.
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Wrapping Up the Best Hotel Brands on Social Media
With the hotel industry expected to continue to climb, the best hotel brands on social media are trying out new techniques to gain attention and, hopefully, guests. They’re using tried and true tactics, like giveaways, but they’re also looking toward the future with new ways to earn engagement, like optimizing their content for social media search engines.
From making videos out of short clips to trying out boosting, these takeaways don’t just work for hotel brands. These ideas can help jumpstart your own social media strategy.
Want to learn more about who is shaking up the hotel industry and how you can use some of each brand’s brightest ideas? Check out our live social media benchmarks for hotels.