Hotel Propeller Blog

Instagram for B&Bs: How The Photo Sharing Site Can Get You Customers

Instagram for B&Bs

With over 100 million users, Instagram is a great opportunity for small inns and B&Bs.

Is your B&B on Instagram? The marketing power of this app alone is worth investing in a smart phone.

40 million photos are posted on Instagram per day. (tweet this)

Instagram is so popular because it stands out from other social networks. It’s about savoring one photo at a time, and really indulging in spur-of-the moment imagery.

So why is this especially good for B&B’s?

You’re targeting people who really love visuals, and it’s visuals that market your B&B most effectively.

You’re also tying those photos to your specific name and location. Instagram is really focused on connecting pictures to special places. It encourages people to pinpoint where they take each photo.

It’s different from Pinterest because it’s more mobile friendly, and it’s different from Facebook because it’s more about quality than quantity.

Combine these features with a fun and easy layout, and you have a B&B marketing winner!

Start connecting

Start your Instagram network by encouraging loyal guests, friends, and staff to follow your profile.

Add a link to your website in your short description. This is a good opportunity to increase your site’s mobile traffic.

Then reach out to other businesses in your area. Is there a nearby restaurant that your guests love? Follow them on Instagram and respond to one of their photos. If they don’t have a profile, send a nudge by creating a hashtag and posting a photo that relates to their business. You’ll both benefit from increased exposure.

Look how hotel industry leader Shangri-La is using their custom #lovingthemoment hashtag to connect with guests. Be sure to create hashtags for your business too. It makes it easier for other Instagram-ers to find and interact with you.

Tell a story

Instagram-ers love photos with a back story. It’s the perfect way to share “behind the scenes” info without seeming staged or gimmicky. Everyone from rockstars to sneaker brands have used this to build a more intimate persona.

Use Instagram to reveal things about your B&B that guests wouldn’t otherwise see. Give them that exclusive access feeling with a tour of your kitchen. Capture a sunrise view from the rooftop.

Because of the single photo focus, Instagram has that classic sense of one photo saying it all. This really works for special objects with a rich history. Maybe your lounge features a 19th century piano or a jukebox from the 60’s. Give the antique lovers something to drool over!

Promote special offers

Instagram is a great way to announce new deals and offers. Post a flattering image of your couples’ suite to build buzz around your Honeymooner’s discount. Add a short description to attract more thrifty customers.

Do your guests get a special discount at a local theatre or concert hall? Give your followers a glimpse of the marquee for that week. This type of content can also just be interesting to local people who follow you.

Promoting deals works especially well when you collaborate with others. Think local charities, attractions and restaurants. The more visually interesting the better!


Instagram B&B Food

Food is a huge hit on Instagram and B&Bs have some of the best food in every city.

Instagram users loves food.

How much do they love food?

In an 18-day period studied at the end of 2012, users posted 4,899 photos tagged with a Cheesecake Factory location on Instagram. (tweet this)

Food looks amazing on Instagram. It’s such a popular subject that Mashable recently posted this scathing comic. If you know a foodie Instagram-er, be prepared to watch a photoshoot everytime you meet for lunch.

Still! A few tasty-looking snapshots go a long way.

Think about the dishes that really define your B&B. Add a customer favorite, or a new recipe you just whipped up. Use enticing keywords and hashtags in the description.

Your guests will probably get in on the action too, which is another place your hashtags come in handy. If food is a central part of your appeal, your guests will love the opportunity to tag you in their feed.

Check out the photos Inn on Randolph fans have added – food is clearly a favorite!

Hold a contest

If you’ve built a decent online following, an Instagram contest can help you get even more exposure.

Try making it a themed affair. Relate to your town’s heritage and images of the local scene. Offer a free weekend getaway to the winner. Even better, collaborate with other businesses to offer a range of prizes. You could even get really adventurous and hold a scavenger hunt!

The Instagram blog has a great guide to holding contests that work. Remember contests are best when you already have a decent Instagram following, and when you combine them with other social networks.

So are you convinced of the power of Instagram? Go sign up now! And if you need more photo ideas, read 15 ways to use visuals and social media for your B&B.

Have you used Instagram for your B&B? Share your experience and advice for others in the comments.

Photos by Mashable and Flickr

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