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Facebook, Instagram, YouTube: Announcements & New Features Impacting Hotels and Resorts

As we ramp up for the holiday season, multiple social media sites have proved that they’re not slowing down just because it’s near the end of the year. In the past two weeks we’ve seen big announcements and new features from platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, all of which can impact hotels and resorts.

Instagram Rolls Out Quick Replies & GIFs in Messaging 

Instagram has rolled out new direct messaging features, including quick replies for business accounts and GIF sharing. Quick replies allow business accounts to save messages that answer commonly-asked questions such as resort checkout hours, pricing, or amenities available.

quick replies

Both new features are available in the latest versions of Android and iOS.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

The ability to share GIFs will allow hotels and resorts to showcase their personality when interacting with guests if they see fit, but the true shining star here is the quick replies feature.

Hotels and resorts can save canned responses to everything from “Hi, we’ll respond to your message shortly!” to “Thanks for asking. Our in-resort restaurant does take reservations but they’re not necessary.” This can save you a lot of time without needing to rely on chatbots while still answering guest questions promptly.

Instagram Stories Accepts Longer Videos

Instagram Stories is now letting users post videos longer than fifteen seconds… sort of. They’ll now accept videos for uploading that are longer, but they’ll then break them down into multiple sections. The different sections will be played one after another.

This feature is currently only available on Android devices. It’s not known if or when it will come to iOS.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Many hotels and resorts are already using multiple short Stories to tell a longer story arch and keep users engaged. Now, however, you won’t have to manually break them down with another tool before you upload them, which will save you a significant amount of time.

If you do use this tool, make sure to check and see how the video is broken down; in some cases, it may be more beneficial to do it yourself manually to ensure that different sections of videos begin and end at the exact right times. If you’re featuring videos of your hotel, for example, each individual Story could show your lobby, your waterfront views, and a suite in individual Stories; you’d want to ensure that these were broken down into distinct sections for maximum impact.

New YouTube Ad Extensions & Reporting Announced

YouTube will soon be rolling out new types of actionable ad extensions. Soon, you’ll be able to add extensions to your TrueView in-stream ads that allow users to take actions like downloading an app or book a trip to you.

truview instream ads

Image source: Google

YouTube will also be releasing new metrics to show the overall impact of your ad campaigns, including a groundbreaking “lifted users” metric that will tell you how many users were influenced by the ad even if they don’t convert immediately.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

The ability to make YouTube video ads more effective and to better understand how they’re working will make YouTube video ads more valuable. If you’re utilizing video ads for your hotel and your guest demographics are on YouTube, check out the new “book a trip” extensions to see how they work for you.

Instagram Is Testing Hashtag-Free Posts

According to The Next Web, Instagram is testing a type of format that would allow users to publish posts that have hashtags attached, but not included in the captions. It looks like instead of being placed in captions, the hashtags may appear in blocks underneath posts. This hasn’t been officially confirmed by Instagram, but Twitter user Jane Manchun Wong was able to snag a few screenshots.

instagram testing hashtag

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Right now this feature is still in testing, but it could mean a big change in Instagram best practices if it gets approved. Hashtags will still be just as important, giving you the powerful reach potential they do now, though you’ll need to be careful to make sure your branded hashtag is placed in a way that guests will see it like on your profile or in the caption itself if possible. We’ll keep an eye on this one and update you as more information comes out.

Facebook Announces Premieres & Video Polls 

Facebook has just announced a globe launch of their new Premieres, which is new video format that’s more interactive. Creators can record a video for fans ahead of time, release it at the time of their choosing, and then allow users to engage with it in real viewing time.

facebook premiers

Image source: TechCrunch

Facebook is also releasing Facebook Live video polls, which can be used to increase engagement and make the videos more dynamic in real time.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Premieres have all the advantages of Facebook Lives, but they come with the added bonus of no unpleasant surprises. You won’t have to worry about technical glitches, someone swearing loudly in the background, or getting stumped by a difficult guest question. These videos will be created ahead of time and can be edited, but you can still engage with users as they watch your video in real time, making them more engaging than typical non-live videos and thus more impactful.

Video marketing is only going to continue to be an important part of marketing moving into 2019, so use all the tools at your disposal– including Premiers and video polls– in order to help your content stand out and build relationships with your fans.

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