Last week, I spent two full days over at the lovely Hotel Puerto Juan Montiel in Aguilas, Murcia, talking social media, doing hands-on training and enjoying the best of the Spanish Costa, away from the busy mainstream tourist spots.

This hotel currently caters primarily to the domestic (Spanish) tourism market. Now they are looking to attract people from further afield who want to enjoy the marina and lovely beaches, as well as Murcia's many gastronomic and cultural attractions off the beaten path.

We discussed how urgent it is to embrace the digital transformation now and start building the foundations of the digital future today. Social media marketing is kind of like planting a tree. Your efforts take time to grow and give results. So, while the best time to start seriously on social media was a good while ago, the second best time is now.

The great advantage stand-alone hotels and resorts like Hotel Puerto Juan Montiel have over larger, corporate chains is that they can move, decide and adapt faster to the changing digital times.

Social Media Masterclass 101.... teaching the selfie 🤳 😜 at @DisfrutaLaMar Hotel Puerto Juan Montiel **** SPA & Base Náutica #spain #aguilas - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

We spent our second day out on a boat trip, doing some practical work on how to showcase experiences with the help of our friendly model for the day, Kelia Espin.

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This means not simply selling the hotel room night, but showing the hotel and surrounding location from the guests' perspective and conveying the real feeling of being there. This is a part is a regular favourite with the hotels I visit because we go into how to easily film a good quality video and also the big question of where and how to promote the content once it's done.

Speaking about creating valuable content, I also emphasised the importance of engaging with guests and encouraging them to do the same. When a guest uploads content and tags the hotel, you not only end up with a higher level of credibility because it's a guest, but you also tap into a whole new network. All too often, marketers fall into the trap of hunting for the next big viral thing and forget that a daily stream of great content on a small scale can reach a similar or even greater audience much more easily.

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At the end of the day, nurturing a digital culture within your hotel or resort is not an overnight task. It is vital to have a strong commitment and involvement from the whole team as well as to put in a consistent effort over time. Always doing, always learning, always growing in reach and influence.

A huge thank you to Olga Montiel and her whole team for the excellent hospitality and a great time at her Hotel Puerto Juan Montiel. Enjoy the full Flickr album here.