How To Do A Hotel Instagram Takeover

  Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa Cebu, photo courtesy of Brian HK Chan

Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa Cebu, photo courtesy of Brian HK Chan

As influencer and brand partnerships become the norm, it's not rare to come across people (mainly Instagram peeps, but also the occasional Instagram non-user) asking about how it all works. If you've ever had questions like "How should I prepare for an Instagram takeover?", "What do I need to know?", "What are the dos and don'ts?" pop up in your mind, then this article is for you. 

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to do my second ever Instagram takeover - you can see photos from this takeover here. Over time, I've picked up quite a few things that I remind myself every time I do such collaborations. I'm no expert, but I do think these 7 tips are pretty useful to keep in mind:

1. Know the brand well. This is the most important point. Do your research to understand the brand's core values and mission statement. Look through their website and official photos and videos to get a feel of what their visual aesthetic is like. For example, this video really inspired me for my Shangri-La Mactan takeover. Listen to the music. Look at the types of shots. Understand the message they're trying to bring across. If you can emulate the brand and add your own voice to it, then you're definitely going to nail it. 

2. Talk to the PR team. Communication is key! Ask the brand what they want out of your takeover. Are they promoting a particular hashtag? Is it a special anniversary? Do they have a new offer? Make sure you've got all the details down so both parties are happy in the end. Don't forget to double confirm your content, posting schedule (photos and stories), tags, hashtags, and ask for someone to be your contact person during the takeover so you can get in touch with them if there are any problems or questions (and vice versa). It's also a good idea to remind the PR who's normally in charge of Instagram to refrain from posting during your takeover, but to remain active on the platform to reply to comments and messages. 

3. Plan your posts before and during the takeover. Before I headed to Cebu, I already made a list on my phone of the shots I wanted to take. When doing takeovers for hotels, it's usually a good idea to include photos of the property, guest room, view, restaurants and any other facilities. Remember not to post two photos of the same thing consecutively (duh). Your list will probably add up on the first day when you get to the hotel, but don't worry because...

4. Aim to feature everything. It's always better to be safe than sorry. Also, some of the shots on your list may be weather dependent, so if there's a good day, go and do all the shots and save them up to post later. This time, I had around 30 locations on my list and only featured 12 in the end - I shot around half of them on the first day of my takeover! Obviously I spaced them out and posted 4 per day for my 3-day takeover. 

5. Let go of your aesthetic and think about your audience. Always remember that you're posting as the brand, and that not all of their followers will 'like' the sort of photos you normally post on your account. Think big and think mainstream (unless of course the brand asks otherwise). 

6. See what posts have done well in the past. A quick and easy way to know what kind of photos to post is to scroll through the brand's Instagram. Don't be afraid to scroll really far back to pick out the photos that have performed the best. From this, you can add/delete items from your list. 

7. Stay humble and true to who you are. I always remind myself of how lucky I am to be able to have the opportunity to do a takeover. You may not think it, but takeovers are huge. The brand is essentially trusting you to represent them and post on their behalf. And as you know, in this industry, your reputation is everything. Don't make careless and stupid decisions. Don't delete old photos. Don't follow new people (not even yourself). Don't 'like' photos. Simply do what you signed up for, do it well and do it with love, and you'll have an amazing takeover experience. Opportunities like this definitely don't come easy!

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Brian HK Chan

Hong Kong

Editor in Chief
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