Why Every Flagged Hotel Should be Rethinking Instagram

Instagram represents an opportunity for flagged hotels to shift travelers’ perceptions of a boring, me-too branded property

Flagged hotels enjoy an established presence in the global marketplace and the trust that goes along with that. But… despite the common misconception that the brand is entirely responsible for driving every flagged property’s bookings, successful hotel marketing is a joint effort at both the brand and property level.

Remember: your brand’s marketing team is servicing hundreds of hotels (often several in the same city) and providing the same tools to all of you. Think about that… every hotel in the brand family is getting the same marketing and sales templates, the same loyalty database, the same hotel website design and hotel booking engine.

Every same-branded property receives the same marketing assets, regardless of amenities, destination, or target audience.

But every flagged hotel has its own unique story to tell and few platforms are as well equipped to convey those stories as Instagram.

Instagram represents an opportunity for flagged hotels to shift travelers’ perceptions of a boring, me-too branded property to a unique travel experience not found anywhere else. The content is universal, shareable and easily understood by a wide range of audiences.

Tambourine’s Social Media Director Elle Andress details 4 ways Instagram can help social media teams at flagged hotels differentiate their properties:

Elle Andress, Director of Social Media at Tambourine
Elle Andress, Director of Social Media at Tambourine

1. Avoiding sterility

Today, people are investing their travel dollars in authentic experiences that immerse them in the local culture and lifestyle. They’re hungry for local secrets, bold adventures and seeing parts of the city that most tourists don’t see.


When your corporate brand team has control of your online marketing, they won’t be able to convey those local gems. First off, because they’re not even there. They don’t know what makes your destination so special.

They don’t understand the culture, the awesome mom-and-pop stores, and restaurants that give your neighborhood character or know the local secrets. Only you and your local marketing staff can tell a compelling story that will actually drive bookings.

Instagram is the ideal platform to showcase the images that make your flagged property unique in the eyes of potential guests and avoid perceived “sterility.”

2. Monitor on-property problems…

Every day, there are good and bad things posted about your hotel on Instagram.

You can be reactive and monitor people who comment or tag your hotel’s Instagram “handle” (your actual Instagram account name) in a picture. You’ll receive a notification and you can respond accordingly.


But there are more proactive ways of monitoring guest sentiment on Instagram. By typing the generic name of your hotel (see illustration above) or property specific hashtags in the search bar, you can discover additional content that guests have posted about your prop.

If you don’t have the time or resources to monitor your hashtags and geotags, Tools like Tout allow you to find and license the content with ease.

3. Celebrate past guest experiences

By sharing past guest stories, reviews (and best of all videos) on your hotel’s social media channels, you can turn your past guests into a perpetual army of experience evangelists.

Harvest their good times!

An example of capturing guest-generated social proof from The St Regis in San Francisco.

Over the last few years, storytelling and “user-generated content (UGC)” has become one of the most popular (and cost-effective) ways for hotel marketers to win guests’ hearts and wallets.


Because consumers no longer trust advertising… they trust each other. As this article in AdAge so aptly put it: “Your brand is defined by the interactions people have with it.”

User-generated content, especially photos, videos and posts about on-property experiences are more authentic, less sales focused… and let’s face it, usually more creative than anything hotel social media folks could ever dream up.

4. Paid Instagram stories

In addition to running an ad in the Instagram feed, hotel social media marketers now have the added option of running paid Instagram stories.

The 15 to 30-second full-screen experience can showcase still imagery or a video clip, appearing in Instagram’s story feed, alongside the stories posted by a user’s following so that the organic experience is never disrupted for the user. “With paid Instagram stories, properties can reach a much larger audience, including users who aren’t already followers,” Elle explained.

Here, properties can promote time-sensitive offers such as a new restaurant menu or a seasonal event to a broader audience than the property’s existing Instagram followers.

An example of using highly visual Instagram stories from The St Regis in San Francisco.

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

1 thought on “Why Every Flagged Hotel Should be Rethinking Instagram

  1. Good article. I like how you gave the steps. Curious why not Pinterest? Pinterest is where people plan vacations.

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