How Hotels Can Master Live Broadcasting on Facebook and Instagram

We offer some ideas for how hotels can use live video as a part of their digital marketing mix, as well as some tips on doing so like a pro.

Destination Marketing

Going live can be nerve-wracking for even seasoned professionals. But with careful planning, strategic staging, and the proper footwork, Instagram or Facebook Live for business can be an engaging channel to talk to followers in a way that pre-composed content can’t touch. Here, we highlight a handful of ideas for hotels looking to dip their toe into live video, as well as some tips for how to broadcast effectively for the moments before, during, and after you go live.

Facebook vs. Instagram Live – The Differences and Defining Which Is Right for You

In addition to evaluating your hotel’s presence on both Instagram and Facebook, there are a few key differences between the two to consider: Instagram skews younger, and the live videos there tend to be shorter, less produced (and planned), and more in-the-moment. With Facebook Live, you get more publishing options, access to a desktop audience, and you can save the recording to your page after it ends – something you can’t do on Instagram. Both services notify your followers when you begin broadcasting (though users can toggle that notification off) and let you see viewers’ comments.

Ideas for How Hotels Can Use Instagram and Facebook Live

Tours for Corporate Groups & Other Events
Consider going live once each month and giving a virtual tour of your event space. Show viewers how events at your hotel work, talk through some of the options available, and spend time answering any questions they may have (via user comments that are displayed over your broadcast).

Cooking Lessons in the Kitchen & Other Expert Tutorials
Whether as a one-off live video or as a recurring series, broadcasting a quick cooking demonstration with your hotel’s chef follows a proven entertainment template (hello, Food Network) and shows viewers a space in your hotel that they don’t normally have access to. Really, you could extend that same concept to any form of tutorial with your in-house experts – be it a weekly “show” with the golf pro highlighting a particular shot, your spa director’s take on some new products, and so on.

Show off Your Hotel’s Scenery
This may be a good one for the end of the day, as people are winding down at work, and would be incredibly simple to execute: Set up a tripod and camera at an alluring spot on property and just leave it running for a while. After all, a lot of digital marketing for hotels is about vicarious vacationing, right? A live broadcast, even if it’s showing off the sunset view from your seaside resort every night for 15 minutes, might be what they need to book their return visit.

Employee Spotlights
We hear time and time again from our hotel DOSM clients that what makes their hotel great are the people behind it. No medium brings that to life like video. Develop a list of questions or a theme for what they’ll be showing viewers – what’s their favorite room service food? What are a few of their must-stop spots in town? What’s the best jogging route near the hotel? Then, do a dry run before you go live. The result can be a human element that’s often lacking from hotels’ digital marketing efforts as well as that “do what the locals do” knowledge info that leisure travelers crave so much these days.

Tips for Going Live

Before Going Live: Plan & Promote
Facebook recommends that when you go live, you stay at least 10 minutes. If you’re on and off too quickly, you’re limiting your potential reach. There’s also the matter of when you should go live. It’s worth a quick glance at your Facebook Page Insights to see when the largest share of your followers are online. After you do pick a time, the obvious key is promoting the hell out of it – it’s great fodder for social posts, e-mail campaigns (assuming you’re sending to the right audience segment), and teasers on your website. Just like any company doing a webinar, you need to make it worth your while by getting people to actually log on for the broadcast. You’ll want to promote it before the broadcast and prime your followers so they’ll keep an eye out for it. Lastly, and again like a webinar, outline what you’ll say. You don’t want to be rigid or reading off a script, but having a handful of bullet points in front of you can help you stay on track and remember how you wanted the video to go.

Right Before Going Live: Figure out the Technical Side
Will you broadcast with your phone in a horizontal or vertical orientation? How will you minimize background noise? Do you have good cell (or better yet, Wi-Fi) reception? How about a tripod to reduce shakiness? These are the considerations aside from the content that you’ll want to think about, and they can be the difference between a successful live stream and a failed one. Even if your content is great, if the phone is shaky, reception poor, and background noisy, people won’t give you time to get it together – they’ll click elsewhere.

While You’re Live: Relax
It’s happened – you’re live! Now what? Smile and take your time. Viewers will slowly filter into your broadcast. Don’t panic if there are only a couple at the beginning. You can say hello, but feel free to wait a minute before diving into the meat of your video so people have a chance to join. In this time, it’s helpful to ask viewers to share the broadcast – they’ll have a button to do so on their screen regardless of whether they’re watching you on mobile or desktop. As your video gets rolling, introduce yourself. Give more context than you may think is necessary. Remember, there may be people watching who don’t follow your page, and aren’t sure what they stumbled into yet. It’s not always easy while you’re staring at a rectangular piece of glass, but maintain a sense of humor and a smile as you’re broadcasting, and be as engaging as possible. When you ask questions or respond to comments, keep in mind that there’s often a lag between when you say something in real time and when your viewers are seeing it. Be patient.

Wrapping Up: Remember the Later Viewers
End the video with a CTA right before wishing your viewers well and saying goodbye. Also, remember that when you hit the button to end the live broadcast, because of the lag, it often still streams for a few seconds – so wait to hear the beep that indicates that the session is over. If you’re on Facebook Live, after it ends, edit the video to add a title, description, and a new thumbnail and CTA button, if you’d like. This helps polish up the video and can improve its visibility in the days to follow.

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