Exceptional guest experiences are the hallmark of best-in-class hospitality. These experiences extend to all customer interactions, especially those on social media. New generations of consumers choose social as their communication channel of choice, and turn to their favorite networks to plan everything from their next restaurant reservation to a complete travel itinerary.

Malissa Tabbey, Manager of Enterprise Social Media Strategy and Analytics at Vail Resorts, creates memorable social experiences with this in mind. “[Our social media approach] is always guest-first…We want to enable people to create an unforgettable, personalized resort experience.”

In this era of the hospitality industry, every customer exchange on social is your chance to make a lasting impression. With the right tactics and tools, a hospitality social media marketing strategy can help you increase brand awareness, gain new customers and supercharge long-term loyalty. Keep reading for actionable tips from hospitality brands taking customer satisfaction to the next level on social.

The evolution of social media for hospitality brands

A few years ago, lockdown measures forced consumers inside. New protocol challenged restaurants, bars, hotels, resorts, airlines, event spaces and tourism agencies to rethink how they connect with their audiences. Companies turned to social to share updates, address queries, respond to feedback and provide personalized experiences more frequently.

People grew accustomed to having a direct line of communication with the hospitality brands they love, and their definition of outstanding service evolved. Now when brands take too long to respond on social, 36% of consumers will share their negative experience with friends and family, while 31% won’t complete their purchase, according to The 2022 Sprout Social Index™.

A screenshot of a Tweet sent to Loews Hotels by a happy customer who made a pillow of one of their vacation photos. Loews Hotel responded that they loved the pillow, and look forward to welcoming them back to the resort.

These elevated expectations explain why having a robust social media strategy is more important for hospitality brands than ever before. Directly engaging with customers on social fosters trust, strengthens relationships and demonstrates a deep commitment to satisfaction that edges out the competition.

But it’s not just about having an extensive content calendar or responding to customer care needs—brands must also reflect the changing social media landscape. Consumer preferences for human-focused, video-centric content push hospitality brands to relate to their audience on social differently, demanding more from the people behind brand accounts.

Experimenting with these formats puts hospitality brands at an advantage, allowing followers to see places and experiences firsthand before booking a trip.

With all that’s changed in the past few years, one thing has remained constant: the number of global social media users is on a steep incline, with 5.85 billion users expected by 2027. By investing in a comprehensive global social media strategy, brands can reach a broad audience and attract new customers worldwide.

3 unforgettable hospitality social media strategies in action

Here are four specific ways world-famous hospitality brands use social to generate new business and build customer loyalty.

Vail Resorts leans into local appeal

With 40+ mountain resorts around the world, Vail Resorts juggles a mosaic of accounts across regions and countries. Their social team is faced with the challenge of reaching distinct audiences—from global visitors to local residents.

As Tabbey explains, “We lean into the uniqueness of each resort brand. Our resorts offer different experiences—including urban, luxury and adventure—and different benefits, like picturesque hikes or family-focused activities.”

Simply posting an aesthetic mountain photo isn’t enough to stand out in their competitive landscape, or to showcase the local appeal of their resort locations. Tabbey describes standing out in the “slopes of sameness” a challenge a lot of travel-based hospitality companies face.

To help their resorts shine, Vail Resorts tailors their content to specific audiences by featuring events, amenities, landscapes and local charm. For example, some resorts orient their content calendar around events happening on their grounds and in the local community.

A screenshot of a Facebook post from Mount Sunapee Resort. The post contains a video of a team member named Sarah explaining events coming up in the summer months, and the caption provides viewers with a list of all the events and a link to sign up.

While others highlight iconic adventures and breathtaking views.

Apply it: Dedicate time and resources to understanding all of your global audiences, and how these key demographics might vary by brand. Learn more about what they want from their experience with your brand. Invest your resources developing content your audience wants to engage with, and show up on channels they use most.

“Vail Resorts uses audience demographics from each social media platform to inform our strategy. Our different resorts—destination, urban, local and regional—all lean into each social platform’s unique content types and audience demographics to reach the intended user. They all approach each app uniquely based on their brand. Some take a heavier video first approach to inspire, while others lean into photography and community management to connect,” describes Tabbey.

Use our guide to social media demographics by platform to understand how your network strategy might vary by brand.

Loews Hotels has a knack for surprising-and-delighting

Loews Hotels & Co. has 26 hotels across the US and Canada, spanning multiple states and provinces. Their social team uses social listening to keep up with their growing global audience and analyze relevant conversations happening online. With social listening, they find unique ways to personalize their social customer care efforts.

“We use social listening to look for a lot of different things,” says their social team. “The happiest of them all, obviously, is identifying opportunities to surprise and delight our guests.”

They told us about a time they helped a Twitter user plan her vacation. In the initial Tweet, the user asked for recommendations about a theme park in Orlando. Without being tagged or mentioned, the Loews team jumped at the chance to serve as an on-demand concierge by sending her the information she needed. The result of their random act of kindness? Increased brand awareness and deeper customer loyalty.

Apply it: Use social listening to enable an unmatched, omnichannel guest experience that merges online and physical customer care. Follow Loews’ lead and use an advanced social listening solution like Sprout Social to tap into global conversations that would be a good fit for scaling your surprise-and-delight tactics. With Sprout, proprietary AI-driven technology does the heavy lifting for you so you can spend more time planning unforgettable experiences.

A screenshot of Sprout's Performance Summary tool which demonstrates key metrics (like volume, engagements and impressions) related to a Topic.

Allegiant Air achieves real-time reputation management

Atlanta-based airline Delta uses social media to keep their brand awareness flying high. For Delta, a crucial step of building brand awareness is featuring their team members in content. Featuring frontline employees drives users to celebrate your brand and leave positive reviews. The comments section of the brand’s viral post from last year is proof of that.

A screenshot of the comments section from a Delta TikTok video that featured a female pilot, flight attendant and crew member. User comments included "Ate it up," "The flight attendant ATE and left no crumbs" and "I WANT TO BE ON THIS FLIGHT."

Apply it: Make frontline employees the face of your brand on social. Your efforts to humanize your brand will be met with increased engagements and brand loyalty.

Deliver a first-class experience for your customers on social

Social media hospitality efforts are a non-negotiable part of a customer-first strategy—from creating content that hits the right notes for all your global audiences, to having the right tools and processes in place to handle an influx of customer inquiries. Apply the best practices described by the brands in this article to deliver elevated customer experiences, which will increase new business growth and bolster customer loyalty.

To do this, you must remember your customers expect a stellar brand experience 24/7. Use our customer experience audit template to ensure your channels are top-notch.