Whilst we are settling into the quietness of lockdown, one space is buzzing with human interaction. People are turning to social media to connect with friends, family, and to stay in the loop. More than ever before.
Although this provides a rather unique opportunity many guest houses called halt on their social media feeds, especially during the first week of lockdown. Whether you were feeling a bit tongue tied, too busy juggling to post or in a state of complete shock, it’s understandable. We are dealing with a massive amount of uncertainty. However this too shall pass and people will travel again. If possible use this time to stay present and you will be rewarded by increased trust and credibility.
If you are not sure how to communicate across your Social Media channels at this stage, we suggest that you follow the following 3 steps to keep your communication on track.
Step 1 – Acknowledge & Respond
First things first. It’s not business as usual so be sure to show how your establishment is dealing with the situation. The type of information visitors to your social media channels will find helpful and reassuring might answer questions like:
- How are you dealing with the latest lockdown announcement?
- How are you dealing with cancellations?
- What are you doing to take care of your guests & staff?
- How are you approaching this challenging situation?
Keep in mind you are not a healthcare facility or a government clinic. So you don’t need a bunch of generic, scary virus imagery. Try to keep your choice of photos in line with your brand. If you have not posted any response yet, catch up.
Some examples to illustrate. (Keep in mind these examples are pre-lockdown.)
Step 2 – Create Content
Whether you are running a well planned post schedule or shoot from the hip, it’s necessary to adapt your messaging to the current situation.
No matter what your particular strategy is, be sure to be sincere and understanding. Now is not a time to sell as per usual, but to be supportive and to help where you can. Also keep in mind you are active in one of the most positive and hopeful industries on the planet.
Yes, nobody can travel at the moment, but loads of people are stuck at home, thinking about where to go when the bleach fumes and cabin fever lies behind them. So, hold the line. Be a cheerleader for hope and give your audience something to look forward to and dream about.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Take a look at your establishment’s unique selling points. See if you can tie it to a lockdown activity.
- For example: Do you provide Netflix in your guest house?
Create a post and ask your followers what series they are binge watching right now?
- Is your establishment focused on romantic getaways? Share your top five
romantic movies on Netflix.
Remind your audience what they can look forward to.
- Re-use some of your best photos and take a stroll down memory lane.
- What are some of your favourite recommendations to guests of things
to do and places to visit when they are staying with you?
- Spark conversation, ask your followers to share their favourite memories,
stories or even recommended itineraries during their stay with you.
Do you have beautiful scenic views from your property?
- Take pictures and show how it looks at the moment.
- Take a walk in the garden and share photos. Flowers and garden birds
can be great subject matter.
Do you serve a fantastic breakfast?
- How about sharing the recipe to your amazing scones?
- Or do a fun live Facebook video and show them how to bake those perfect
breakfast treats or how to take a sombre lockdown breakfast to the next
How are you using your time during the lockdown?
- For example, maintenance work. What are you fixing to be ready when you
are able to welcome your guests back.
- How are your staff members doing?
- Share a photo and wish everybody well. Mention that you look forward
to work together again.
- Any birthdays or reasons to celebrate a team member? Give recognition.
Say Thank You.
- Take a look at your guest book and thank your guests for the many
happy memories. Say you look forward to inviting guests back again when
the time is right.
- Take a look at what is happening in SA and your community, send a special
shout out to everyone working crazy hard to save lives at the moment.
- Do you have a favourite or relevant inspirational quote?
- Match that with one of your beautiful photos. Always try to use your own
Do you have a pet known to your guests?
- Hello cuteness factor! Show what your dear four legged friend is up to.
Step 3 – Observe, Listen, Participate
It’s so easy to get stuck in broadcasting mode. Meaning, you are only spending time creating posts and not engaging in conversations and connecting with others. Set time aside to dig in and to BE SOCIAL. The secret to being social with purpose is of course listening.
Here are a few ideas:
- Have you joined your town or neighborhood’s Facebook Group yet?
Go join as your page. There might even be a few.
- Go and see what your competitors are up to on Facebook or Instagram.
- Go visit your local tourism office, touristy attractions, activity providers and the restaurants you always recommend to your guests. Find them on Facebook & Instagram. Take a look at what they are doing at the moment. Can you leave a positive comment? Can you help somewhere, even if it’s just to repost something.
- While you’re at it, ask some of your own guests to please go and leave reviews on your Tripadvisor, Facebook page or Google Business Listing.
- Go follow a few influencers. We have amazing bloggers, travel writers and photographers in South Africa. Here is a quick list to start you off:
- Jared in Cape Town
- Jon Kerrin
- Stephanie Marthinus
- Living it Up CT
- The Incidental Tourist
- Roaming Fox
- Married Wanderers
And seriously, this list is so small it’s a total sin. There are so many stunning content creators for you to discover!
Social media provides us with a gateway to other people. There is a human being on the other side of the screen to connect with. Let’s nurture our connections, reach out to make new ones and show up to play an active part in our tourism community. We need each other to get through this.
A special word of thanks to each of the establishments we used as examples. We loved your work.
You are welcome to contact us with any related questions. Our team is ready to help.