The many and varied responsibilities that you take on when running a hostel are no easy feat.
You need to be a social marketer, an administrator, an IT specialist, a culinary artist and a maid all at the same time. However, your guests know none of this pressure – all they know is their experience.
If they have a good time, they might come back and recommend your hostel to others.
However, if their stay is not pleasant, not only will they never return, they will badmouth your hostel as well.
Pleasing your guests during their stay is essential, but you can also leverage the power of Facebook to engage them online.
Because most of your hostel guests will be young, why not communicate with them using one of their most popular platforms?
Here is how to do just that.
Have a Great Profile
Young people today are visual. Most of them will make a kneejerk decision about your hostel from your avatar alone.
Make sure that your first impression on Facebook is the best that you can make it. In other words, use images to attract millennials on Facebook.
For example, you can use a picture of your beautiful city as a cover photo. Convey the essence of your brand along with pertinent information such as the name of your hostel and what sets it apart from your competition.
Keep your mission statement short, humorous and above all, authentic.
Your audience on Facebook will come to trust you if you are a regular on the forum. You should also have plenty of content, seeing as you do run a hostel!
You can put your photography skills to work and post photographs of your hostel – your beautifully arranged rooms, garden, terrace, kitchen, and so on.
Go the extra mile by presenting interesting details such as a delicious meal or a blossoming flower.
Also, take pictures from different angles showcasing your guests and the events that you throw.
Photographs of happy faces and pleasant atmosphere can attract many new guests.
There are a variety of mobile apps for photographers, too, that can help enhance your photos.
Make sure that the content is not just about your hostel.
Let your future guests know about the attractions in the city that surrounds you.
After all, most people who come to see you are looking for adventure.
Help them find it through humorous facts, funny videos and engaging articles that you find around the Internet.
Publish the testimonials of your past guests regularly as part of your post count on Facebook.
As a general strategy, keep an eye on the types of content that seem to be the most popular and duplicate it.
Communicate with Your Guests!
1. Reply to posts and comments
When people ask a question on Facebook, answer it!
MarketWatch recently conducted a survey showcasing that 90 percent of people expect their questions to be answered on Facebook when they talk to a business online.
Only one out of every four businesses actually does this. Is it any wonder that most companies fail within the first five years of business?
In order to engage your guests, stay active at all times. Address all inquiries to potential guests and provide explanations.
If someone complains, apologize and do everything you can to solve the problem.
Thank people when they leave you compliments, and try to respond to all the comments and mentions your hostel – not only the ones on your profile page.
2. Talk to them more
Accept and send friend requests to form emotional bonds with your guests.
If someone brings up an interesting point that truly captivates you, continue the conversation.
As a business owner, people naturally give you a leadership role whether you know it or not.
If you talk on Facebook, you will soon find people competing for your attention.
Always keep conversations alive to show your guests you care. Remember, you are a business owner and your guests are your customers – you need to do everything you can to engage them, including online activities.
For example, you can follow up on your former guests to ask them about their experience and thank them for their stay.
Show your upcoming guests that you are expecting them by sending them kind words of welcome like:
“Hello Anne, we are looking forward to your arrival.”
Talk to your current guests too by, for example, welcoming them publicly in a post.
You can write something along the lines of:
“Matthew, Tony and Marc – welcome to our hostel, have a great time!”
They will be delighted, and other will see how great and congenial you are. What better way to attract new guests?
So, no matter how you go about it, try to keep the communication with your guests alive – before, during and after their stay!
Shower Gifts on Facebook
People love getting free stuff, and Facebook is a great platform for organizing small contests.
For example, you can offer your upcoming or current guests discounts, free breakfast or a cocktail if they win the contest.
All they have to do is – let’s say – write the most creative reason for visiting your city.
Regardless of the type of contest you choose, make sure it’s creative and engaging.
Also, do a promo or giveaway every once in a while. Focus these contests and giveaways on your most loyal Facebook fans and followers and it will engage others to follow you as well.
It is not enough to friend people on Facebook; you actually have to be friendly!
People naturally assume they will have a consistent experience, so if you are friendly online, they will think that you are friendly in person and patronize your business.
Be funny, but remember online communication is slightly different from communication in person. Humor that relies on body language is sometimes lost on people on Facebook.
Make sure that you do not offend people on accident by writing something that cannot be interpreted unless it is in person!
One of the best ways to simulate in person communication is with the use of emoticons.
By entertaining people and making them laugh, they will love your hostel even if they still haven’t visited it.
Facebook is the king of social media with its 1.5 billion profiles.
Use the platform to build a relationship with your target audience that is so tight they would not even think of going anywhere else when they need a hostel.
By following these tips, you will engage your (potential) guests and make your hostel seem like a warm and welcoming place.
As a result, you will witness an increase in the number of bookings, which is something every hostel owner strives for.
Author Bio: Natalie Smith, a Seattle-based freelance writer and copywriter, enjoys writing about marketing, social media, and customer service. She is also an ardent follower of the new trends in the business world, as well as on the Internet. You can reach her @Natalie Smith