There’s a lot to be learned from how hotel brands are engaging with soon-to-be guests (and current ones) on social media. The top hotel chains have some of the savviest digital presences in the world.
How do they stack up against each other? We’re taking a look in today’s industry breakdown.
Hilton Hotels is the steady front runner on Twitter, winning both the lion’s share of both engagement, and followers.
Hilton’s success is the result of being one of the largest hotel brands in the world, but also their innovative tactics on the network. Each of these top brands utilizes a different approach, and sees impressive results.
How do they do it?
Hilton and Starwood Hotels use Twitter to capitalize on curiosity and visual stimulation, and Hilton creates an immersive experience that’s their website follows through on. Lowes Hotels is the first—and only—major hotel chain to support tweet-initiated room booking, Hyatt uses Facebook to conduct market research while it markets, and Marriott has done a great job of creating its own online community supported by all its social media channels. Any brand can benefit from analyzing the hospitality industry and learning some industry-spanning tactics for connecting better with customers.
So let’s take a look at the tactics these power brands are using:
1. Luxurious Visuals & The Power Of Intrigue
This is something Pinterest excels at, and smart brands are using similar tactics to draw interest on Twitter. Post something visually entrancing and high-end with no attribution:
…then watch your engagement rate and click-throughs soar thanks to a one-two hit of attraction and curiosity. Here’s a typical response to a tweet of this kind:
And the tactic worked. Take a look at the engagement breakdown for February 23, 2014 (the day the tweet was sent out):
As you can see, 21 tweets were sent out by @HiltonHotels, but the stunning mystery pic-and-link pair wins with the most engaging tweet (159 interactions) during the peak hour of engagement.
2. Don’t Let It Go
A major reason why @HiltonHotels’ social media strategy succeeds is that when the user clicks through to the site, his or her experience doesn’t end:
The customer is immersed in gorgeous widescreen photography and a lead-in framework that asks what he or she wants clearly and immediately, thus remaining visually consistent with its social media presence (or vice versa) and time-efficient. It’s elegant, clean and a great example of how a brand’s many platforms can grow off one another symbiotically and organically.
3. Tweet & Book
In late 2013, Loews Hotel Group followed the airlines’ lead and launched its social reservation system. How does it work? Twitter users can book rooms via DM and then a secure chat conversation with a live agent. We think this is only the beginning, but are a bit surprised that more hotel brands haven’t jumped on the Twitter-centric booking bandwagon. While mobile apps are gaining incredible popularity in the booking realm, you can’t beat social media for a rich, immediate supply of customer data. This kind of information helps your brand provide customers with a personally tailored experience, honing in on which activities they might be interested in and making recommendations, from spa treatments to hiking trails. Who will follow in Lowe’s footsteps? And why haven’t more brands done so already?
4. Would You Rather…
Hyatt’s done a great job on social media by polling customers (bulking up on data) while advertising their properties at the same time. This ingenious combination of market research and marketing has a lot to teach brands looking for new ways to interact with their customers on Facebook.
5. Build Your Own
…community, that is. @Marriott is a leader on this front, using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to publicize its #TravelBrilliantly campaign, the centerpiece of which is http://travel-brilliantly.marriott.com/. This offshoot of the main Marriott site advertises itself as an engine for innovation that customers can take part in, with an area for idea submissions that the community votes on and content that shows what Marriott is doing to transform travel at one of their many properties.
Which of these social media strategies would you consider implementing in your own company, or are you already implementing? Where do you see the hospitality industry gaining the most from social media? How about the least? We’d love to hear from you as this conversation evolves.
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