How the Social Media Era is Driving a Hotel Evolution

How the Social Media Era is Driving a Hotel Evolution

According to Deloitte, the hospitality industry is in the midst of nearly 10 consecutive years of growth and has a positive future outlook. Digital innovation, specifically social media, is one major driver of the industry’s continuous expansion. Travel has always been about documenting experiences. However, social media platforms have created an outlet for users to do it more openly. In fact, 60% of travelers use social media to showcase their vacations.

With more than 54,000 hotels and 270 brands in the U.S. to choose from, travelers are becoming more selective about their lodging. To accommodate this selectiveness, hoteliers must introduce innovative concepts and strategies that will differentiate them from competitors. Modern and historic hotels alike are revamping their design, aesthetics, and amenities to remain relevant in the social media era of hospitality.


Read ahead to learn how social media is influencing the design and development of hotels.


“Picture-perfect” Elements

Travelers have turned to social media to showcase the details and experiences of their trips as well as to determine their next destinations. With the potential of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people viewing one single post, a hotel designed with “picture-perfect” elements is more important today than it was less than a decade ago. While many hotels already have a photo-worthy location, social media has driven a new trend in which picture-perfect elements are notable throughout the entire design.

While it used to be common to see the same basic staples in almost every type of hotel room regardless of brand, today’s hoteliers are moving away from typical elements and instead are working to create new experiences that will attract social media conscious visitors. Revamping the interior design to include bright color palettes, neon walls, dramatic artwork, intriguing murals, natural arrangements, textured furnishings, and captivating greenery is one of the ways that hotels have been able to capture the attention of travelers.


Short-term, Immersive Rentals

The emergence of short-term rental services, such as Airbnb, has contributed to the evolution of hotels. Airbnb creates an immersive, local experience for guests and even allows customers to book an activity or experience with a local host. Because these short-term rentals have exploded in popularity and are revolutionizing the lodging market, “the Airbnb Effect”, as it is sometimes called, has gone into full effect.

The combination of “the Airbnb Effect” and social media has placed pressure to innovate on hoteliers. This pressure is driving the demand for curated properties that reflect the local culture – especially since most travelers desire to be fully immersed in the lifestyle associated with their destinations. Many hotels have already considering a more residential design which allows tourists to feel at home. This design features a shift away from the more sterile, manufactured designs that contributes to the appeal of a homestay-style accommodation.


Experiential Locations

Today, hotel guests are placing an emphasis on the overall experience of their trips, with lodging being only a fraction of that adventure. However, themed hotels, which feature a specific motif that is present throughout all aspects of the establishment, are one social media influenced trend that is driving a hotel evolution. The Angad Arts Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri allows guests to choose their accommodations based on their mood. The room’s themes include passion red, rejuvenation green, tranquility blue, and happiness yellow, and each room is decorated with monochromatic designs based on the chosen color.



Social media has had a heavy influence on the evolution of the travel and hotel industries in recent years. As this influence grows, travelers will only become more invested in sharing their experiences via social platforms. For continued success in a rapidly evolving industry, hotels must create personalized, picture-worthy experiences that will drive guests to book a stay and then share their experiences with followers.



Read CRE Trends & Challenges for the Hotels and Lodging Market to learn more about trends that are impacting the hospitality industry.