9 Reasons Why Hilton’s Social Media Strategy Succeeds
A Google search for the word “hotel” turns up 2,990,000,000 results in 0.76 seconds. The top three results in the search page are ads from Hotels.com, Expedia, and Kayak. Nothing stops a user from clicking on one of these links to go on and book any of the hotels that suits them.
Unless the user has some loyalty towards your brand — then, he or she goes directly to your website and books a room.
“Consumers under 35 spend almost four hours per day on social media, and more of that time is being spent engaging with brand”
“17% of people older than 55 prefer social media over the telephone for service.”
Reaching out to customers and engaging with them directly on social goes a long way towards building brand loyalty.
The Buyer’s Journey for the Travel and Hospitality Industry (and What Hilton Gets Right)
Social media has impacted the Travel and Hospitality industry in a huge way. Consumers use these channels throughout their decision journey, with 38% of US consumers using the channel at the beginning of their path to purchase, 46% in the middle, and 16% at the end.
In our previous studies of hospitality brands, Hilton Hotels was the leader on social media among hospitality brands, when measured by engagement and number of followers. Below, we take a look at the strategies we believe make the brand so successful on social media:
1. Use the Right Platform
Comparing their presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Hilton Hotels gets the highest engagement on Instagram, with over 1,000 engagements per post for our data period.This is not surprising. According to this report by Google, in the first quarter of 2016, 40% of U.S. travel site visits come from mobile, and Instagram is primarily a mobile-specific platform.
Hilton understands this trend, and has made sure to post content on Instagram often (one post a day on average), keeping their followers engaged and, at the same time, not overwhelmed.
2. Harness the Power of User-Generated Content
Hilton does not just create its own content — the brand also solicits content from other users. This helps build an engaged community, simultaneously motivating followers to post share-worthy content and building the brand’s repository of great content to share with their audience.
Hilton’s most engaging post for the peak day (Aug 19th, see chart above) was user-generated content that Hilton asked permission to use.
3. Be Mindful About Scheduling Posts
Hilton Hotels gets the most engagement from their audience on Fridays and Saturdays. The brand makes sure they are there for their followers in their micro-moments by posting engaging content on the platform on these days to keep their brand top-of-mind.
A post shared by Hilton Hotels & Resorts (@hiltonhotels) on
4. Use the Right Content
Apart from having an understanding of the platforms their target audience uses, Hilton Hotels also has in-depth knowledge of which content type generates the most engagement for them. Since their audience finds images more engaging, the brand posts more content with engaging and visually powerful images across all its social channels.
5. Strategic Use of Celebrities
Hilton Hotels makes strategic use of celebrities to amplify its messages and drive engagement. In the month of August, the brand collaborated with Derek Hough, using his status as a celebrity influencer on both Facebook and Instagram. The second-most-engaging post on Hilton Hotel’s peak day during this time period, Aug 19th, was one from Instagram, tagged with a quote from Derek Hough.
6. Use Meaningful Hashtags
In addition to using celebrities, Hilton Hotels is also making use of hashtags in its strategy. Hashtags like #NoTravelRegrets , #HiltonStory, and #HiltonHideAway are simple, unique, and easy to remember. They also help tie users into one stream so that it is easier to monitor progress and keep track of how the audience reacts to the posts.
7. Run Social Media Contests
Social media contests are a sure way to generate engagement amongst your current followers, and they help you get new followers. Contests are also a great way to source user-generated content and increase your brand’s visibility. Hilton Hotels runs a variety of contests across its channels.
— Hilton Hotels (@HiltonHotels) August 18, 2016
Hi Olivia, congrats, you've won our #HiltonHideAway competition – please direct message us your email address for your prize!
— Hilton Hotels (@HiltonHotels) August 22, 2016
Explore the "Blues City" culture—enter for the chance to win a trip to #Memphis for a concert of your choice when you book and stay at a Hilton through 8/31. In fact, you can win a trip to a concert anywhere in the world. #MusicMonday No Purch Nec. Restrictions Apply. http://hil.tn/Bn5ytn
A post shared by Hilton Hotels & Resorts (@hiltonhotels) on
8. Provide Added Value
Hilton Hotels doesn’t always post about itself. It also uses its platform to provide its followers with compelling and unique information that they can use while they travel. Earlier in August, they posted tips from Buzzfeed from mothers talking about how to travel with little children. In the data period, the brand has posted interesting content from PopSugar about “11 Roadside Attractions You Must See Before You Die” and “7 of the Best Beaches For Labor Day Weekend.”
9. Listen to Customers
Hilton Hotels understands that social media provides a great opportunity for directly talking to customers. They make sure they are listening to social media for what people are saying about them, and showing appreciation of loyalty by responding with Favorites, Retweets, and Replies.
Very exciting! Will you have time to travel around London during your stay with us?
— Hilton Hotels (@HiltonHotels) August 17, 2016
In the earlier post we published about Hilton Hotels, we saw that the brand already places a lot of focus on analysis and measurement for their social media strategy. Hilton Hotels uses social to effectively meet marketing objectives, and works diligently to expand global reach and engage travelers through social platforms. This has helped Hilton Hotels become one of the world’s most admired companies.
What you do think of Hilton Hotels’ social media strategy? Do you have ideas about which other strategies brands can deploy on social? Leave us a comment or let us know on Twitter.
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I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!