The meteoric rise of Instagram continues. Just recently, it reached an incredible one billion monthly active users for the first time in its history--up from 800 million back in September 2017. In comparison, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat all announced slowing or declining growth.The influence of Instagram in the travel space is also gaining momentum. Celebrity Instagrammers with legions of followers hold huge sway over the places that people choose to travel, and 40% of millennials admit that they consider "Instagrammability" as a crucial factor when they choose a travel destination.To maximize the potential success of Instagram marketing, you need to switch your hotel's Instagram account into a business profile. In the following post, we'll explain how to do that, why it's important, and describe how your hotel can take advantage of some of Instagram's exciting new business profiles features.Why do I need an Instagram business profile?Having a business profile can lead to a lot of attention and direct traffic. According to Instagram, over 200 million of its users visit at least one business profile a day, and 75% take action after visiting a post (such as visiting a brand's website). In addition, one third of the most-viewed stories are from businesses.Still, some brands remain hesitant about making the swap from their personal profile, concerned that it might lead to a drop in engagement. The truth is that there are plenty of reasons to make the switch. But before diving into the benefits, here's a quick guide on setting up a business profile.How do I set up an business profile?Switching to an Instagram business profile involves a few quick steps. First, log in to your Instagram account, go to settings, and tap "Switch to Business Profile."Next, tap "Continue", and then connect to Facebook within the app. You need Admin access to the Facebook page you want to connect to. Then add your business contact information, including your email address, phone number, or address (note: you need to pick at least one of these).Tap done and your business profile is live. Check out Instagram's video for a visual walkthrough of this process.What are the benefits of an Instagram business profile?The benefits of having a business profile include improving your visibility, marketing your hotel to a wider audience, and driving sales. If you're still not convinced a business profile is right for your hotel, here are five of the biggest benefits to consider.1. Instagram InsightsIf your hotel only has a personal account, it's harder to see how people are interacting with your business. Your options are to either use a third-party analytics tool, or manually look through all your comments and likes. Both of which take up time.When you have a business account, one of the biggest benefits is having access to Instagram Insights. This feature lets you see a host of real-time metrics on how well your posts and stories are performing, including weekly impressions, reach, profile visits, clicks to your website, and demographics split into age and gender.You can look at the data for multiple posts, the metrics for individual posts, and get insights into your Instagram Stories. All of this means you can see exactly which posts and stories are driving the most engagement, which can then be used to help refine your marketing efforts.The following HubSpot guide offers a great in-depth overview of the various features available within this feature.2. Add contact detailsYour Instagram followers don't want to hunt around for your contact details. With a business profile, they don't have to. During the setup process, Instagram asks you to add your business email, physical address, or phone number. Once you're done, a contact button appears near the top of your profile.This simple but important addition reduces the odds of losing a potential customer. In just one click, they can see all of your contact details and easily get in touch rather than having to search elsewhere online.3. Instagram AdsInstagram Ads work the same as Facebook Ads to help brands get the most out of their best-performing posts. You can define your target audience, ad format, campaign objectives, and set a time when you want your ad to run, all within your own set budget. The insights tool can then be used to see how well your ads are performing.At the start of this year, business accounts were also given the ability to create scheduled posts thanks to an update to the Instagram API. Previously, you had to set a push notification to remind you to publish your content, which was a pretty inefficient way of doing things.The schedule tool isn't available directly inside Instagram, but works by connecting with third-party platforms, such as Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social. Needless to say, it's a major step forward. Now, businesses can schedule a batch of posts all in one go. This way of working not only saves time, but helps to maintain a consistent feel to your content.4. Add swipe up links to Instagram StoriesThe popularity of Instagram Stories has exploded over the past year. Brands are using it to increase engagement with attention-grabbing photos and video, and the recent option to add music with a new music sticker.One of the great features of a business profile is that you can add a swipe up link to your stories (although you need at least 10,000 followers to do this). When you do this, a "See More" arrow appears at the bottom of the page. When users tap "See More" or swipe up, they leave the app and get sent to a page of your choosing. Usually, this would be a specific page on your hotel website that's related to the content of your story.In the example below, you can see how The Williamsburg Hotel used the swipe up tool to get users to register for a class at its test kitchen and bakery, Brooklyn Bread Lab.For hotel marketers, the swipe up link makes life easier for your audience to interact with your brand, and drives more direct traffic to your owned channels. The following article offers a series of creative ways you can use the swipe-up tool to increase engagement with your own audience.5. Direct connection to your Facebook pageCross-promoting content across multiple platforms is a great way to boost the exposure of your posts. With an Instagram Business Profile, you can link your Instagram account to a Facebook Page, which means that Admins, Editors, and other Page roles have equal permissions on the associated Instagram account.You can then share your Instagram photos on your Facebook business page to reach new audiences and reinforce your brand messaging. The benefits of doing this can be substantial: a BuzzSumo study of over one billion Facebook posts found that posting images to Facebook via Instagram received a 23% increase in engagement.By cross-promoting content in this way, you'll also save yourself the hassle of having to create separate content for Facebook, and actively drive additional traffic back to your Instagram account to grow your audience.Claim your Instagram Business ProfileInstagram is increasingly become the go-to social platform for marketers. Brands on the platform receive four times more engagement than they do on Facebook, and Instagram's new booking feature means it now has the ability to turn attention into direct business.With a native analytics tool, ad platform, and the ability to add contact details and schedule posts, switching to a business account can help you capitalize on this booming audience to promote your hotel and potentially drive more bookings.