In this episode of the Suite Spot, we share a beginner’s guide for hoteliers live streaming on social media. Host Ryan Embree gives some ideas for topics hotels can use when going live, and best practices to keep in mind when recording.
Ryan talks through some of the different objectives for live streaming, such as educating, showcasing, or entertaining. He reveals some of the most creative live streaming ideas that he has seen in the industry and ways that you can tailor them to fit your hotel. He also discusses the best way to leverage the different audiences on each social media platform to secure bookings. This episode is a great blueprint for hoteliers looking to incorporate live streaming into their social media strategy.
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Welcome to Suite Spot where hoteliers check-in and we check out what’s trending in hotel marketing. I’m your host, Ryan Embree. Hello everyone, welcome to the Suite Spot. This is your host, Ryan Embree. Welcome to episode number 70. We have a great episode, very excited to share this with you all today, we are going to be talking all about a – somewhat newer feature to the social media realm – but we know this has really picked up since the pandemic, so I thought it was important to have an episode on this and share for some of you out there – some hoteliers out there – that might be looking for some creative ways to connect and communicate to their travelers. So what we’re going to be talking about today is live streaming. Now this is just a beginner course on really how to get started. We’re going to have some tips and some ideas specific to the hotel industry and hotel world out there, that you might be able to adapt at your property.
Let’s talk about, first of all, what is live streaming, for those that are not familiar? The book definition is going live or live streaming refers to transmitting or receiving live video and audio coverage over the internet. As I mentioned, it has become increasingly popular with social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now even LinkedIn, is adding that feature to its platform. As COVID-19 began to take hold live streaming became even more popular and businesses, including hotels, started to utilize it as a way to connect and communicate to consumers. So in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about some best practices for going live and even share some ideas that you might be able to adapt for your own at the property. The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you’re prepared and have a plan for your live stream. Once you press that start live button there is no turning back, so make sure you are prepared. First thing you want to consider is where am I going to record? Well, the ideal spot is a place with really strong internet connection. You don’t want any sort of frozen or lagging in your video, that’s definitely not going to help with engagement and follower views. The other thing is lighting, making sure that it’s not too dark, not too bright. Making sure you’re in a place with good sound quality, so an echo-y hotel lobby or a windy day outside might not be the ideal place to live stream. So definitely take some practice videos before actually going live to figure out what that video looks like and sounds like. If you really, really want to take your live stream to the next level, you could even look up some lapel microphones to help with that sound quality.
You also want to consider the video angle. Some live streams might be better for kind of a short selfie video, while others might require a fixed stand or another employee to hold. Now, the best thing about doing live stream is it really doesn’t require a big investment. You certainly can, if you want get some professional lighting, get some really good sound quality microphones, but a lot of hoteliers might be just jumping into this feature using some of the tips that we’re going to talk about today. Now also something to consider with the video angle is how you’re going to engage with your followers and viewers, if you’re doing a selfie video style, travelers might be talking to you or asking questions and if there’s a lot of them, you might not be able to catch every single one of them. So it might be better for another employee to help you with the engagement or even to hold the camera for you.
Another type of video, you might actually be physically doing something. So whether that’s cooking a recipe or creating a cocktail for your viewers to watch you do, you might not have the time to engage with them physically. So make sure you have a way to engage with your followers because engagement is so important on these live streams. It’s about connecting with your travelers and your guests. Now the best place to start when we’re talking about content is to really think about what your objective is. And we’re going to walk through a couple objectives and give you some ideas and examples of each. The first we’re going to talk about is, is your objective of your live stream to teach or to educate. So this would be a video explaining some of the local policies and protocols regarding COVID-19 in your area, this could be extremely helpful to guests from out of town that might not be familiar with the area restrictions. We know this was very critical to guests early on in the pandemic that might’ve been coming from different parts of the country and not understanding, you know, restaurants in the area are closed or they have limited capacity.
Another objective of a live stream could be to simply showcase. Live videos showing what the check-in process looks like at your property. Maybe showcasing all of the new safety precautions taken by the hotel. So if you’ve put barriers at the front desk between the guests and staff, maybe including your staff wearing masks and guests in public places, sharing where your hand sanitizer stations are located, even as simple as how things are delivered to the room in case you need things like extra toiletries and towels. Anything that we can do right now to really put the traveler, to think of themselves at the property, that’s going to help them feel more comfortable and confident in booking at your room. Let’s talk about cleanliness. You could showcase how your housekeeping staff is cleaning and sanitizing a room after their stay. This again, could instill consumer confidence and give them comfort knowing what you’re doing to keep them safe. Aislynn Roberts, our client success team lead, last episode, gave a great example of a hotel that promoted a “cleanliness captain” of the property. Introduced them via social media and shared some videos of her walking through some of the policies and procedures that they do at the property to clean rooms before guests arrive. This is extremely important right now when people are determining whether or not to travel. Familiarity with your property, you could have a traveler walk in and say something like, “Hey, I recognize this lobby from their Instagram Live the other day. I know exactly where the elevators are and I know exactly where the pool is all from seeing that one video.” Or, “Hey, I recognize you, the front desk agent, on the Facebook Live that I saw a couple of weeks ago,” that familiarity with the property is going to instill that confidence and comfort level for bookings. Now, another thing that might not be as prevalent now in the state of the industry, but when group travel returns, what about showcasing your event and conference space? So if you’re a director of sales listening to this right now, try planning a LinkedIn LIve, which caters to more professional individuals and showcase a wedding or event layout for group planners or wedding planners out there. This could give them idea of what they can show to potential clients and give you the upper hand on booking either that wedding or event that they might be looking to host.
Now, another objective for a live stream could be simply to entertain. One of the most popular live streams we have seen from our hoteliers during the pandemic has been sharing food and drink recipes. If your property does have a food and beverage outlet, why not share some of your more popular dishes that you serve at the property or delicious cocktails that they can enjoy if they ever come to visit? What about using a live stream to announce a special room rate, package, or even social media contest? An example of this could be a romantic honeymoon or anniversary package where you, the director of sales or GM, live stream a room with rose petals on the bed, and a bottle of champagne, with a dinner voucher included, when you book directly with the property. Short videos, getting to know your staff, take advantage of these types of opportunities to personalize or humanize your business, give your business a personality and let customers know that you’re more than just four walls and a bed. Hospitality is about people serving people and a video like this can help illustrate that. And lastly, maybe a simple thank you or a wish well. We saw a lot of properties in their community become active participants in helping during the pandemic, whether it was a food drive or giving supplies. How about partnering with other local businesses that might’ve struggled during this time? These are the types of posts that are getting a lot of engagement right now that our social media team at Travel Media Group is finding.
But you could also kind of combine these and make sort of a hybrid live stream, combining some of the objectives that we talked about. For example, you could be showcasing your amenities like pool or your fitness center while educating those viewers on the safety policies put in place at the property. What about live streaming a puppy or a pet that’s in the lobby while talking about your hotel’s pet policy. So again, we’re entertaining while at the same time informing and educating those viewers about our pet policy at the property. We had a great example again, from Aislynn Roberts last episode, talking about a popular bartender that was talked about on their online reviews. He was able to live stream and create a cocktail that they serve to guests, while talking about some of the nightlife COVID restrictions in the area.
Live streaming, as we talked about earlier, also gives you the unique opportunity to engage with your followers. Travelers might ask you questions based on what you’re sharing. They may also have the ability to like and react as well. To spark engagement with your viewers, ask questions. A great question, especially for the hotel industry, is we know our guests are traveling from all corners of the country. So ask, “where are you joining us from? When do you plan on staying with us next?” You’ll be surprised how much engagement you get with just these simple questions. And like all things we want to use this engagement data and views, from after your live stream, to really determine what subjects are most popular or important to your guests. And I think a big part of that comes to why travelers are coming to the property, if you’re a hotel located in a downtown area, you might have guests that are looking for more information about the local nightlife or COVID restrictions out there. If you’re a smaller hotel by the beach, they could be looking maybe for some views of the beach or sunsets. So keep in mind why your travelers are coming to you, and from there that will act as a roadmap or game plan on how to cater your content. But you also want to consider what platform you’re using. A LinkedIn Live could attract a very different set of viewers than your Facebook or Instagram Live. LinkedIn Live is known for the professionals that are there. So again, creating an event geared towards wedding planners or group planners, Facebook and Instagram caters to a younger audience, that Millennial and Gen Zer, that we’ve talked about multiple times on the Suite Spot and are really leading the charge in hotel recovery, so that content might be geared more towards a younger generation and younger group of travelers. But you really want to promote your live streaming like an event, you know, “This Friday, we’re going to be sharing the newest recipe that we’re going to be serving our guests from our food and beverage outlet.” But you also want to take into account timing. If you want a lot of viewers on your live stream, it might not be the best idea to go live midweek during the day. Your guests and travelers could be working, instead pick time where you think your ideal traveler would be at home scrolling through their social media feeds, looking for engagement. Also don’t feel like this needs to be a 10 to 30 minute presentation, keep it short. People’s attention span is shorter than ever, so a two to five minute live stream could even be more successful than a long drawn out and very strategic presentation that you have.
Lastly, don’t forget to include a call to action at the end of your live stream. Tell your travelers to like and share your posts, so that you can increase your follower account and these live streams can go even further. No matter how you’re using your live stream, just make sure you’re making it creative and have fun with it. It’s a completely different way to connect and communicate important information to travelers during this time and younger travelers are using it as an outlet to connect with businesses like hotels. So if you’re looking for more information, tips, tricks on live streams or how we can help you grow your social media following, please reach out to us (407) 984-7455. We have an entire team of social media experts ready and willing to talk to you about tips and tricks on, not only live streaming, but social ad spend, engaging posts, everything that social media, we’ve got a whole team dedicated to you. I hope you enjoy today’s episode and we will talk to you next time on the Suite Spot. To join our loyalty program, be sure to subscribe and give us a five-star rating on iTunes. Suite Spot is produced by Travel Media Group. Our editor is Anne Sandoval, with cover art by Bary Gordon. I’m your host, Ryan Embree, and we hope you enjoyed your stay.
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