Many guests like to take a picture of their beautifully prepared plate before they even take a bite. Therein lies a great opportunity for you as a hospitality entrepreneur! Instagram is the platform of choice to post beautiful pictures of delicious food, special cocktails or the unique atmosphere in a hotel. Besides the photos your guests take, there are many more possibilities of Instagram for the catering industry.
Increase your brand awareness, seek interaction with your guests and ultimately entice more guests to visit your business. Instagram became popular with beautiful photos, but now much more is possible. Think of posting short stories via stories, long videos via IGTV and, recently, short videos via Reels. We first look at Instagram's features and then give you some smart tips on how to get even more out of your Instagram.
Instagram's most-used features
Instagram has many opportunities for the hospitality industry to attract new guests. We highlight the most commonly used ones here and help you get started right away.
When you open the Instagram app, you will see round icons at the top. These are stories: 15-second stories that stay up to 24 hours. Stories are increasingly important. In fact, they are viewed more often than your feed. By placing photos or videos in a row, you create a story. For example, about preparing a dinner or a tour of a hotel room. How to create a story exactly? Find out here!
How to create a story?
Click on the plus sign at the top, then swipe to 'Story'. Already taken a photo or video you want to post? Then click the square on the left to add it. Want to take a fun photo or video on the spot? Then click the round button.
Tip: Instagram also allows for 'boomerangs'. This is an image of a few seconds that repeats itself in a loop. Very nice for capturing, for example, steaming plates, bubbling champagne or toasting guests.
Did you do this? Time to spice up your story! For example, choose one of the atmospheric filters by swiping left. This will add extra ambiance to your story.
Then use the buttons at the top to add text, the location of your business, a poll or a fun gif. Choose an atmospheric music in the background to complete the experience for the viewer.
Are you ready to post your story? Then click the 'your story' button at the bottom left and all your followers will see it.
Sharing guest stories
If guests tag your business in stories, you can also share it in your own stories. Super handy: it is easy and it pays off. Your followers will see that your guests are enthusiastic about your business. There is no better social proof. Besides: your guests do the content creation for you! That in turn saves you time.
You share these stories as follows: when someone tags you, you get a notification. You can see this via the paper aeroplane at the top right. Open the message and then click 'Add to your story'. Add something yourself, for example a thank you for coming, and place it in your own story.
A feature that has recently become available to everyone is the Link Sticker. You can use the Link Sticker to share URLs with your followers. You can add this Link Sticker to your stories. Using links provides a way to share what is important like, for example, your menu or the page where your special packages are listed.
Instagram's feed is the series of photos and videos in your view that you scroll through. This is where your guests will see all the new posts you make appear. Like, for example, dishes from your new menu or the authentic view from your terrace. This is also where you want to stand out.
With engaging posts and using the right hashtags, your guests are more likely to see and respond to your photo. We'll come back to this later.
How do you post a photo or video?
When you are on your own feed, click on the plus sign at the top. You choose then one or more photos or videos from your gallery. And then select post. Then edit the photo if necessary and add a description. When editing the photos you post in your feed, do be consistent. Always choose the same filter so that your summary page also looks styled and looks professional. Use 3 themes that you keep alternating. That way you keep your feed nice and clear. We will elaborate on this later in this blog.
Don't put the hashtags in your description, but as the first comment. That way you keep your post clearly. It is also possible to submit your photos in advance planning with a planning tool, such as Planoly (paid) or Facebook Creator Studio (free).
Recently, Reels came into existence. This is similar to TikTok. For example, you post short videos here of the atmosphere, interior, facilities and how you make drinks and dishes.
Introduce your guests to your staff or show them where your ingredients come from. So that your guests get a look behind the scenes. The best thing about Reels is the editing with effects and music. It takes a bit more time and creativity, but it is incredibly fun to do and watch.
How do you make a Reel?
To create a Reel, click on the plus sign at the top and then swipe to 'Reels'. Now you're in Instagram's Reels environment. You have several options here:
- Choose a nice background music
- Adjust the speed of the video
- Add cool effects
- Customise your video layout
Via the round button at the bottom, you start filming. Or select one or more videos from your phone via the button at the bottom left with the plus sign.
Through IGTV, you also post videos, but they are longer than Reels. It's basically a kind of YouTube. Go into even more detail about that one dish, hold an interview with a well-known top chef or show a nice promo video of your restaurant or hotel. This is the ideal place to showcase your hospitality business properly.
How do you post a video?
Facebook Creator Studio makes it easy to post IGTV videos. Create first create an account on https://business.facebook.com/creatorstudio. Then link your business Instagram account to Facebook Creator Studio, and you're ready to add your videos! Make sure you also have a vertical picture for the cover of your video. You will see this in your feed to your videos.
You can find your messages, or Instagram's direct messaging feature, via the paper aeroplane at the top right. Keep a close eye on these messages and respond in time. This will help you stay engaged with your audience. This feature is very versatile. Use it for text messages, voice messages, place images, video messages, stickers and gifs.
How do you set up quick answers?
If you get frequently asked questions, it is wise to set up 'quick answers'. You then link a hotkey to the answer. For example, for a question about the menu. You only have to type menu and the whole answer will appear. You add these answers via 'Settings', then choose 'Company' or 'Maker' and then 'Saved answers'. Saves time again!
Highlights, or highlights, are stories that your guests always see at the top of your Instagram account. These are the stories that normally disappear after 24 hours. If you add these to your highlights, they will stay. It is the first impression of your hospitality business, so you want this to be perfect.
Showcase popular dishes or drinks and cool packages here. Make sure your guests immediately have a good impression of your hotel or restaurant.
How do you add a highlight?
Choose some topics you want to highlight as highlights. Such as your menu, packages, guest reviews, your staff. Once you have placed a story, select highlight at the bottom. Then add the story to the right highlight.
Get even more out of Instagram as a hospitality business
You now know how stories, posts, reels and highlights work. Besides all the content you create yourself, you also have guests' posts and stories. Be sure to share them, because this is free publicity! The tips below will help you get even more out of your Instagram for your hospitality business.
Communicate with your guests
Post guest photos and stories on your feed or in your stories. Make sure you mention the creator of the photo when you share a post. They appreciate that immensely! And respond to your guests' comments. Thank them for their visit and ask about their experience. Or engage with your guests yourself via a poll or quiz question in your story. Instagram is a perfect channel to communicate with your guests.
Post high-quality photos
Post photos regularly and make sure they look tiptop. For example, have professional photos taken of the atmosphere, the interior, your staff, dishes and drinks. Tip: It is more attractive to see a full establishment with guests enjoying themselves than an empty interior. Announcing a new menu also fits very well in a post.
In a post, you often give a message, but it is also advisable to end with a question. This generates more reactions. With many responses, the Instagram algorithm ensures that your post reaches even more people.
A clear feed
How do you keep your feed beautiful and varied, yet uncluttered? Choose 3 themes for which you always make a post. For example: food, guests and staff. Be creative. For example, you can also share a nice (consistently!) formatted quote in your feed after 2 or 3 photos. Think of a nice quote about good food/drink, a quote from a satisfied guest or an action.
Then you get an effect like the one below.
Important, and you can see this in the example above: make sure all your posts are in the same house style. For example, if you use a lot of colour, do not suddenly make a black-and-white picture. This looks messy. Keep it clean and uncluttered. If you have a certain style, this will also be recognisable to your followers and your business will look much more professional.
Choose the right hashtags
Your Instagram feed can look great, but if you don't use the right hashtags, guests won't find you easily. You have generic hashtags like #food and #restaurant, for example, which are very popular but on which you have a lot of competition.
So also use specific hashtags that suit your hospitality business and products. Make sure the hashtags are always relevant and use different hashtags all the time. Branded hashtags are also smart. These are hashtags that only you use. With a good hashtag strategy, guests will know how to find you even better.
Ready for more reservations?
You did it! You seduced your guests with a beautiful Instagram feed. They are dying to book a place with you. Make sure this is possible within a single click. At the top of your Instagram account, add all the info they need, including a link to make a reservation right away.
Put your hospitality business on the map with Instagram
As soon as your guests arrive, you now know what to do!
Still have a specific question about Instagram's potential for your hospitality business? The Fully Bookers we would like to think along with you! Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 (0)85 048 80 58.