A Hotelier’s Guide to Facebook Ads

By Alex Gaggioli, December 18, 2015


It is hard to ignore Facebook’s impact when you take a look at their recent numbers and continuous growth. In August of 2015, one billion people used Facebook in a single day. Few will deny the need to have an active business page for your property. But, Facebook has changed over the years. In the good old days, a business page could attract organic likes and your posts would have decent organic spread. Now, you must pay to get likes and boost posts to reach their greatest potential. People call this pay-to-play and it is the new norm.

In our opinion, the two most important things to do when you get started on Facebook is gain page likes and promote your posts to those people. When you post anything on your Facebook feed, a ‘good’ post will only reach only 3-5% of your total followers. Facebook will show your post to more of your followers for as little as $5. We recommend not spending more than $20 per post.

Here we will walk through what you need to do to get started on Facebook Ads.

Different ways to Create Facebook Ads

There are two ways to create ads in Facebook. One is called Facebook ads and the other Power Editor. Power Editor offers more in-depth targeting options, but is more complicated. So, we suggest starting with Facebook ads then migrating to Power Editor later. This guide will walk you through how to create these ads on Facebook ad creator.

Promote Page

Step 1: Choose an Objective

  • Promote your page: this will help you find people to like your page based on their interests

Step 2: Click Promote Your Page

Start by going to Facebook ads manager and click on Promote your Page (the second option, below boost your posts).


Then choose the page you want to promote on the right-hand side and click “create ad account.”

Create-Ad-Account-Step 3: Edit Your Account Info

Select your country, currency, and timezone on the next screen and click Set Audience & Budget in the bottom right-hand side.

Step 4: Define Your Audience, Budget, and Schedule

Select Custom Audiences (Optional)  

Next, you will be asked to select the audiences that you will target. The first choice is custom audiences. Custom audiences use email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook user IDS or app user IDs to target users. This type of audience requires that you supply the list or upload a Facebook pixel on your website. We will not explain how to upload those here. But, if you are interested in targeting people who go to your website, please see this guide on installing a Facebook pixel.

Choose Location

Now, choose locations that you want to target. Facebook lets you target people based on location four different ways:

  • Everyone in this location
  • People who live in this location
  • People recently in this location
  • People traveling in this location

These are powerful targets for any accommodation type looking to attract more bookings. Facebook can detect whether someone lives in a destination or is traveling.

Next, add countries, states/provinces, cities, DMA, ZIP codes and even addresses.

Hotelier tip: Choose the location where your property is located and also choose the countries where the majority of your guests come from. If you are a Brazilian hostel that attracts a lot of Japanese guests, think about adding Japan and large Japanese cities to your targeting.

Choose Demographics

Select age, gender, and languages.

Hotelier tip: You know your guests best. Choose the age range of your typical guest or the age you’re looking to attract. If you’re an adventure hostel that attracts college kids, then target 18-24 year olds. Choose the languages that your guests speak. If they speak mostly Portuguese, then it doesn’t make sense to target English speakers.

Detailed Targeting

Detailed targeting is where you are able to target people’s interests. Facebook has three main categories for targeting including:

  • Demographics: things like age, location, income, gender, job type, etc.
  • Interests: travel, adventure, cooking, eating, exploring, painting, etc.
  • Behaviors: in the process of traveling, purchase patterns, etc.

Facebook allows you to dive deep into users’ demographics, interests, and behaviors. For example when you type in travel it suggests:

  • All frequent travelers
  • Frequent international travelers
  • Travel > commuters
  • Travel > returned from trip 2 weeks ago
  • Travel > returned from trip 1 week ago
  • Leisure travelers
  • Currently travelling

You can also include names of other sites and pages that may have a similar audience to your own. For example, if I was a hotel owner in Downtown San Diego, I could target people who like the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The ability to target a very specific group of people is powerful.

Facebook has many different behaviors, demographics, and other identifying information to target users. Take your time and look through the options to find the most relevant potential audience.

Hotelier tip: These targeting functions will be different for every single property. Get creative with how you approach your guests. If you own an adventure hotel in South America and are looking to attract sporty, athletic travelers who are looking to travel, think about targeting brands like REI, The North Face, or Patagonia. Although those companies are not directly related to travel, adventure travelers probably shop at those stores.

Target Based on Existing Page Likes

Then lastly, you can add distinctions based on your current Facebook page. For example, you can target people who are friends of people who like your page, or exclude people who like your page, etc.

Check Potential Reach

As you add these targeting parameters, Facebook will tell you how many people are included in your potential reach. They show you a gauge to determine the size of your audience. It uses colors to tell you whether or your audience is too broad or too specific.


Try to get your audience in the middle of the green zone. If your audience is too specific, then you will end up paying way too much money per like. But, if your audience is too broad, you risk not being seen by the right people who will actually like your page. Play around with your targeting until you get into the green zone.

Choose Your Budget

Then, at the bottom specify how much you want to spend. As you adjust your budget and set your schedule, your estimated daily reach will display on the right-hand side. The tool will tell you of the estimated potential reach from your targeting will see your ad based on your budget.  


After you are happy with your targeting, click Choose Ad Creative in the bottom right-hand side.

Step 5a: Choose Ad Creative

On the ad creative page, you will be able to choose the image and text that appears in people’s newsfeed. For your creative, Sprout Social, one of the most prevalent social media thought leaders, suggests the following:

  • 90 characters for ad copy
  • Image ratio: 2.7:1
  • Image specs: 1,200 x 444 pixels

The Ad Preview will show you what the ads will look like on desktop, mobile news feed, and desktop right column. On the left-hand side click “show advanced options”, and write a headline to grab people’s’ attention when your ad shows on the right column ad.


On the top, you can select images or a video you would like to show in order to get people to like your page.

After you upload your images or video, click through your desktop news feed, mobile news feed, and desktop right column ads to ensure that everything looks good.

Step 6: Place Order

After you are happy with your ad copy, either click review order or place order. Then, your Facebook campaign will begin.

Promote Posts:

Step 1: Choose an Objective


  • Boost your posts: show your post to a greater number of people


After you choose Boost your posts, choose your page and then select the posts you would like to promote. In the drop down menu, you will see your page’s most recent posts. If you would like to create a new post instead of choosing an older one, select the plus sign.


Then click Create Ad Account in the bottom right.

Follow Steps 2-4 from above

Step 5b: Choose Ad Creative

The only information you may need to change are the conversion tracking options on the bottom left-hand side. But, you need to install your Facebook Pixel on your website first.

Otherwise, check your ad creative on desktop, mobile, and desktop right column and ensure they are correct.

Step 6: Place Order


This guide only covers how to promote your page and posts because they are first step in getting your Facebook page in front of more people. Steps 2-4 will, for the most part, stay the same for different types of promotions. The major difference will be in the ad creative copy.

We plan to make more guides for the other ad options in the future, but check out Sprout’s guide to Facebook ads for questions about creative copy.

We hope this guide helps you navigate the seemingly confusing world of Facebook advertising. If you have questions, let us know in the comments below.

Featured Image: Marco Paköeningrat/Flickr

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