LinkedIn is the most important social platform for hoteliers today looking to attract talent, showcase their work, earn media coverage, and grow.
I’ve spent at least an hour every day on LinkedIn for the past 10+ years and it’s become more and more valuable over time. LinkedIn gives me the opportunity to connect with a wide range of hoteliers around the world – from interns just starting their careers in hospitality to CEOs of large, publicly-traded hotel companies.
This guide will show you how to use LinkedIn to create opportunities for yourself and get results like this. It will show how to do this through examples of hoteliers that are succeeding on the platform today.
First, a bit of context so you understand my perspective in writing this guide:
- I manage advertising on LinkedIn for some of the biggest hotel technology companies, which provides insights each month on what’s working from hundreds of thousands of views across the industry (and connects me directly with the LinkedIn team for advice straight from the source)
- I’ve led content and social media strategy for several hospitality companies with multi-million dollar marketing and communications budgets
- I previously published a hotel marketing blog focused on social media that 70,000+ hoteliers read each month
- Most importantly, I spend my time now studying what’s working for hoteliers today and sharing learnings on this site in articles like this
Enough about me! The rest of this guide is all about how you can put LinkedIn to work. Here’s what we’ll cover:
About LinkedIn today
LinkedIn has experienced tremendous growth and now has more than 810 million members.
Those members are well distributed around the globe:
Some other stats on the reach of LinkedIn that stand out to me:
- Almost 60% of LinkedIn’s users are between 25 and 34 years old (an opportunity to engage the next generation of hospitality professionals)
- 49 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs each week (it’s a big recruiting opportunity for you!)
- Employees are 14x more likely to share content from their employers than other types of content on LinkedIn (there’s an opportunity to encourage brand advocacy)
- 77% of business-to-business marketers say LinkedIn produces better results than any other social network
All of this makes the platform very relevant for hoteliers today.
As Remington Hotels Chief Operating Officer Stan Kennedy told me:
“Of all the social media networks, LinkedIn is the most professionally focused, and we find a lot of people in hospitality are very engaged there. That’s why we’ve made it a priority to engage on LinkedIn, and encourage all of our teams to share their experiences with others on LinkedIn.”Stan Kennedy, COO, Remington Hotels
Why hoteliers are using LinkedIn
I asked a few more hoteliers on LinkedIn why they use the platform, and here’s what they told me:
“LinkedIn gives me perspective on how other businesses operate and what’s led them to success. It is a place to find community and camaraderie without traveling to a conference.” – Dylan Beaumont, General Manager at Marriott (Eugene, Oregon, USA)
“LinkedIn is a great platform not only to connect or stay connected but for me as an operator provides a very interactive platform to shape my personal and my employer brand.” – Julius Anders, Operations Director at numa (Berlin, Germany)
“Many operations leaders struggle with networking, as they’re heads down focused on building their business. I have found LinkedIn to be an incredibly powerful way to build a brand and network efficiently. It has come in extremely handy in hiring, finding business partners, and even furthering my own learning through friends and strangers. I owe LinkedIn for my current job, and relationships including those of some of my top hires.” – Patrick Weeks, Area General Manager at Sonder (Washington, DC, USA)
“Linkedin allows me to connect with my colleagues and peers on a professional platform where we can help drive solutions for our industry in a very collaborative environment. The ability to use a social platform to be productive and help manage our business is second to none.” – Richard Garcia, Senior Vice President, Food & Beverage at Remington Hotels (Dallas, Texas, USA)
How hoteliers are using LinkedIn
Hoteliers today are using LinkedIn for a wide range of purposes:
- Sharing what they’re doing and working on
- Sharing things that make them laugh
- Recruiting people (both directly and indirectly)
- Recognizing the accomplishments of their teams
- Promoting their hotels and growing their business
- Earning the attention of investors and strategic partners
- Building their own personal brand to create career opportunities for themselves
Let’s look at a few examples of this in action…
Featured hotelier: Rupesh Patel, Chief Executive Officer, State Hospitality
Rupesh Patel is a hotel owner, operator, and investor with more than 50,000 followers on LinkedIn. If there is one person to watch, he may be the one! Rupesh posts a mix of behind-the-scenes views into hotel operations, polls and questions, and inspirational quotes.
Featured hotelier: Caroline MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer, Pebble Beach Company
Caroline MacDonald was CMO at Auberge Resorts, then SVP of Operations at Rosewood Hotel Group before her current role leading operations for the Pebble Beach Company as COO. She has nearly 30,000 followers on LinkedIn and posts a mix of quotes from others, insightful articles she’s found, and career opportunities on her teams.
Featured hotelier: Kristi Pearce, Divisional VP of Sales & Marketing, Remington Hotels
Kristi Pearce frequently shares updates showcasing her teams, their accomplishments, and the Remington culture.
Featured hotelier: Sloan Dean, Chief Executive Officer, Remington Hotels
Remington CEO Sloan Dean also uses LinkedIn frequently, posting photos of team events, updates from events he participates in, and media coverage.
Featured hotelier: Dylan Beaumont, Marriott General Manager
Dylan Beaumont is one of my favorite follows on LinkedIn, sharing a mix of humor, historical hospitality, and advice for operating hotels today.
OK, now that we’ve looked at why hoteliers are using LinkedIn, and how they are using it, what are the best practices for using the platform?
10 best practice tips for using LinkedIn today
As I’m writing this in the Fall of 2022, here are the best practices I’ve found for using LinkedIn:
Tip: Publish native content
Native content is simply content that’s uploaded directly to LinkedIn. Data from LinkedIn indicates posts with images get 2x higher engagement than those without. I’ve seen this time and again when sharing stories like this one with Kevin Osterhaus:
The same is true for video. See how the Modern Hotelier podcast does this here.
Tip: Hook readers with the first few sentences of your post
The first few sentences of your post are very important. Think about how you can “stop the scroll,” capture the reader’s attention and get them to click the “see more” link.
Here are some ways I’ve done this recently:
Tip: Spark engagement
Likes and comments drive reach on LinkedIn. Rupesh Patel is a master of sparking engagement like this:
Tip: Mix up the topics you post about
A recent ebook from LinkedIn advised posting 4x as much educational content as company content.
Why? If all you post is press releases or job openings you won’t be quite as fun to follow. Get some inspiration from people like Rupesh and Dylan above.
Tip: Get rid of links in your post if you want to engage more people
As mentioned above, LinkedIn’s algorithm prefers native content and suppresses posts with links taking people off the site. Put another way, if you share links, expect less people will see your post.
But: You can get around this by including links in the comments of your post:
Even though this is the case, I still include links in my posts from time to time if getting clicks to a page or article is more important than the post reaching more people. Mix it up and see what works best for you.
Tip: Don’t just post – engage!
Thoughtful comments on posts are a powerful way to reach people. Take a look at this from Michael Levie’s comment on a post that’s been popular recently – more people saw his comment than see many LinkedIn posts:
As an advisor and long-time Chief Operating Officer of citizenM Hotels, Michael understands the power of sharing your point of view to build your brand and attract the right talent.
Tip: Maintain frequency
LinkedIn indicates those who post weekly see a 2x higher engagement rate. Data I’ve seen suggest posting more frequently drives engagement even higher because LinkedIn’s algorithm boosts your posts to more people.
It may seem intimidating to log in and post frequently, so consider using a tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer to create content in advance when you have time and schedule the posts to be published consistently over time.
As shown above, Remington Hotels is doing a great job with this. Stan Kennedy, their COO, shared why:
“For the past few years Remington has gone through an evolution, and Linkedin has been a great platform for us to communicate the story of this change. We find a lot of people in our industry are very engaged on the platform and it allows us to interact with them and show what we are building. We are very proud of our culture and enjoy telling the story about who we are. We love sharing our team having fun, and encourage all of our teams to share their experiences with others on LinkedIn.”
Tip: Try new tools from LinkedIn
It pays to be an early adopter on LinkedIn. If you haven’t already, sign up for Adele Gutman Milne’s newsletter and see how easy it is.
LinkedIn is always rolling out new features and ways to engage, so if you see something new and interesting, give it a try! There’s usually a first-mover advantage that you can benefit from.
Tip: Follow interesting people to learn
Not everyone knows this, but you don’t have to connect with someone on LinkedIn to follow their posts and learn from them. To do so, click the “More” button on their profile, and then “Follow”:
You can learn more about the similarities and differences between following and connecting here on LinkedIn.
Bonus: List of 1,400+ hotel operators to follow on LinkedIn
A top reason hoteliers tell me they’re on LinkedIn is to network. To encourage this, I’ve put together a big list of operators at management companies in the US on LinkedIn:
The purpose of this is to make it easier for you to follow leaders in the space who are doing cool things. Please be respectful of this list and don’t spam anyone. If you want to be taken off, leave a comment on the sheet. If you want to be added to the list, please fill out this form.
Finally, if we’re not connected already on LinkedIn, let’s fix that. You can find me here, and I also invite you to follow the Hotel Operations page here.