Is your hotel’s Facebook page struggling to grow fans? Do you feel like you are communicating into an empty void on this supposedly social network?  But you’re doing everything you can to achieve the exact opposite results, right?   Sometimes it takes a little more than on-page optimization, creative content and eye-catching photos to get the response and growth you’re looking for.

Facebook Ads for Hotels

While there are many ways to remedy these issues, the quickest solution isn’t a new trick or a new Facebook feature; it’s the old hat trick of Facebook ads.  Before you say “I have no idea what Facebook ads are, let alone know how to set them up” or “We don’t have the budget for ads,” hear me out!  Setting up Facebook ads is actually quite simple, and as for cost, you need to try it before you dismiss it, because a little bit of money can go a very long way towards growing your Facebook network.

Facebook ads can be set up under one of two different advertising models: the pay-per-click ad model (a la Google Adwords) or pay-per-impression ad model. Choose whichever model best suits your goals. The ads appear as Sponsored Ads on the right-hand side of the desktop version of a Facebook page.  From the ad a user can click to visit the business page or simply "like" the page without even clicking through to view the business page.  The ads include information on how many people like the page, or if a friend in the user’s network likes the page as well.  This is actually valuable information that helps increase conversions and actions.  Seeing that a friend already likes the page assures the user that this is a recommended page worth liking and clicking on.  Now that we’ve reviewed the placement of the ads and what all is included on the ad, let’s dive into the process of setting them up.

Step-By-Step Facebook Ad Set-up

  1. Begin with logging into the Facebook account that has administrator access to the hotel’s page.
  2. On the left-hand side click “Ads Manager,” which will take you to your campaign page to set up a new ad.  At the top right corner click on the green button "Create an Ad."
  3. On this page it will ask you to select the Facebook destination; meaning which page are you wanting to promote.  Your hotel page should appear below since the account has administrator access.
  4. Next you will select what you want to promote, the hotel or a specific post.  In most cases you will select the hotel.  However if you have a particular message you want to get across or to guarantee a certain amount of people see the particular post you would select the latter option.
  5. Then choose new ad about the hotel in the “People will see” section.
  6. In the next step you set up the actual ad.  The headline is predetermined by the title of your hotel’s Facebook page.  Fill in the ad copy within 90 characters and load an image to be sized at 100 pixels by 72 pixels.
  7. The last question in this section asks “Where will people be taken to when ad is clicked?” You can choose the hotel’s timeline or if you have different applications like a welcome page or booking page you could choose those as well.
  8. Facebook Ad Set UpAfter setting up the ad you need to determine the audience the ads will target.  Target your audience by location (country, state, city, zip), age, gender, precise interests, connections (people already connected to page, people not connected to your page, or opt for advance setting to target people connected to specific pages).  As you fill in these requirements, on the right hand side you’ll see your audience reach update which shows you how many people your target settings will qualify to see the ad.

Hang in there, only a few more quick steps till your ads are complete and ready to run!

  1. Now you need to define the objective of your ads.  Do you want to reach people who are most likely to click on your ad and visit your Facebook page, or do you just want maximum exposure to those people who will simply like your page?  Select “click on my ad” to set up the ad on a cost-per-click model since your objective is to have people click on your ad.  The other option, “show ad to people most likely to like my page” will set the ad up on a pay-per-impressions model.  I recommend the cost-per-click model since the goal for most advertisers will likely be to reach fans with a true interest in the page. These are the people that are likely to visit the page for more information and interact with hotel.  Plus, it is easy to control your budget and spend in cost-per-click structure.
  2. Finally set a campaign name, budget (cost/day or lifetime budget), schedule (continuously or defined date range), and your bid.  Facebook offers a suggested bid range, however I advise starting on the low end and after a bit if you are not seeing the results you want, you can increase bid later.
  3. The very last step to complete the set-up is to click the place order button and add billing information to the account.

Facebook Ad Campaign for Hotels

Congratulations, you’ve just set up Facebook Ads to promote your hotel to thousands of Facebook users!  Keep reading for additional tips to effectively use the ads to benefit your social media strategies and goals.

Improving the Performance of Facebook Ads

Start by optimizing the ad itself. The ad copy is your first impression and chance to summon the interest of a multitude of Facebook users.  You only have 90 characters to do this so be savvy in writing catchy copy that lets people know what makes your hotel unique with a call-to-action to click on the ad or like the hotel’s Facebook page.  The image on the ad is very small so use this space intelligently as well. Load an image that is of high quality and easy to see in such a small format.

Use the ads to target valuable fans. In a successful social media campaign the account has a large and constantly growing fan base with a genuine curiosity in the business.  By targeting individuals that already have a shared interest in the hotel you’ll be more likely to gain fans that are truly interested in your business with a desire to interact with the hotel on Facebook.  Select precise interests such as the hotel brand, travel, vacation, local area and other relevant topics to the hotel.  Honing in on people with shared interests will have a positive effect on the hotel’s Facebook page in the long run due to increased engagement, to being the top of mind hotel in area, and growing dedicated fans that will not unlike the page weeks later.

Use the ads as a vehicle to promote more than just your hotel’s Facebook page. Facebook ads can and should be used for more reasons than to just build awareness of your hotel and grow fans.  Use the ads for other objectives such as promoting special events happening at the hotel.  Keep Facebook ads in your “distressed inventory strategy” toolbox to promote special offers for dates the hotel needs to drive occupancy.  Create additional hype about the hotel on Facebook by running a contest and use the Facebook ads to reach a large audience for maximum exposure.  Facebook ads will become an essential tool to expand your hotel’s reach, cultivate fans, inspire response and realize successful campaigns.

Don't forget about your non-paid Facebook posts. As powerful as Facebook ads can be for growing fans and increasing interactions, the ads are not to be used as the single voice and activity on the site.  After driving all these new fans to your Facebook page it is crucial to maintain Facebook management best practices to keep the new fans and inspire the desired interactions.  Continue to post frequently about relevant and interesting topics, share photos, and offer great deals to foster long-lasting relationships with your fans.

Monitor your results. As with most pay-per-click campaigns, the ads are not to be set and forgotten about.  Keep a constant eye on your budget and monitor results.  Within the campaign you can run multiple ads to test different copy and images to determine which ad yields the best results.  Increase or decrease bids accordingly to make the most of your budget.  Set goals for your ads such as attaining 50 new fans a month.  Once you reach the goal turn off the ads to save money and restart ads the following month.  By closely monitoring your campaigns you’ll quickly see that you can easily control spend.

There are plenty of benefits to running Facebook ads.  Obviously the ads will bring in a quick and steady pace of new fans.  More fans means more people will see what the hotel is saying.  More eyes on the content increases the potential for even more interactions.  More interactions and engagement with users will increase your organic reach and help the page to grow fans through unpaid efforts at a greater pace than before.  And in the end the hotel can decrease dependency on the ads to acquire new fans, but have the knowledge to use the ads for other objectives when needed.

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