Campaigns & Customer Service: The Current State of Hospitality on Social MediaSeptember 23, 2016
Here at Zoomph, we know how important data-driven insights are to your business. That’s why we’ve crafted Zindex, a social media index that provides you with a big-picture look at your industry, as well as information on how your competitors are capitalizing on social media.
We’re divulging trends as we spot them on Zindex, aiming to shed light on how your industry is embracing social media and how other fields are doing it, too.
For this analysis, we tracked the Twitter and Instagram activity of the top 24 U.S. hotel chains over the last month and observed some great social strategies at play.
Honing in on the Hospitality Industry
It’s no secret that brands that specialize in customer service need to excel online as well as off.
Your social media channels have to play double-duty between supporting the advertising and marketing of your brand, as well as negotiating customer praise and complaints.
When navigating customer issues over social media, you’re also put in a particularly tricky situation, since an angry customer can undo anything you’ve put in place to attract new visitors.
So how are world-class hotels managing their social media channels? And what recommendations can we make to help them grow their success?
Three things to consider:
- Day-to-day operations
- Community Management
When done right, campaigns can generate lots of attention—and sales.
They provide an avenue for hotels to share beautiful photography, UGC from visitor’s vacation snaps, and anything else they can conceptualize to tap into the aspirational nature of vacationing in a luxury hotel.
They simultaneously encourage people down the sales funnel by linking attractive UGC directly to hotel bookings, special offers and packages, and travel information.
We noted a couple of very interesting campaigns over the past month, some of which are ongoing.
AccorHotels’ Taps Into the Fandom Trend
I particularly enjoyed AccorHotel’s #WelcomeFans contest. With this campaign, they tapped into the fandom mindset, and enticed guests to travel around the world to achieve their fandom dreams.
With “geek” emerging as the new “popular” nowadays, I’m noticing how more and more people are quick to declare their undying love for a specific fandom (I’m big into Harry Potter, if you must know.)
AccorHotel capitalized on this trend by creating a catchy video showing Millennials sobbing over their favorite idols or stars. When zooming in on the final Millennial who’s aching to see a concert in a far-off city…AccorHotel has a solution for her.
This is how AccorHotel tastefully kicked off a contest, and a neat one. Users could enter for a chance to attend sold-out shows at AccorArenas, complete with travel and hotel stays.
All they had to do was enter via an online form, though they were also encouraged to tweet their excitement with the hashtag #WelcomeFans.
Boasting hotels all over the world, AccorHotel sparked a truly international conversation. The web contest attracted a mix of people from different cultures and different languages—primarily a blend of French and English.
Fun fact: the emoji they used in all promotional tweets about the contest, , actually made it into the Top 4 emojis used across any social conversation mentioning the top U.S. hotels, despite the fact that AccorHotel ranked at the bottom of our social leaderboard.
Hilton Hotels Leverages Influencer Campaigns
Hilton has been running an influencer campaign with Dancing With The Stars’ Derek Hough. Hough has been running a blog with lifestyle and travel tips praising The Four Seasons hotels for helping people achieve their travel dreams.
Hough is specifically contracted to promote a Hilton microsite called Our Stage Your Story, where people can browse the social posts of other travelers, become inspired by pictures of various locales, and take action by booking their own journey.
It’s a bit Pinterest-y in nature, empowering you to build your own Vision Board to visually piece together your dream vacation—and it’s shareable, making the social opportunities virtually limitless.
Four Seasons Engages a Variety of Channels
The hotel industry is doing its best to stay abreast of new technology in the social space, and Four Seasons has a particularly high degree of platform variety.
Four Seasons hosted a Periscope tour earlier this year showcasing a freshly-renovated hotel in Washington, D.C.—and I was surprised to see how many people attended this purely promotional event with no contest or prize attached.
The hotel trusted that its brand equity would get people interested in its renovations and give it a Periscope audience, and it did.
The Four Seasons also has ongoing partnerships with various airlines. Together, they sponsor vacations for influential bloggers who, in turn, provide brands with more online coverage. 20 Reasons to Stay at the Four Seasons Lanai is a good example of the types of content being produced.
Influencers and brands also publicize the hashtag #FourSeasons to encourage visitors to share their vacation snaps, with the promise that some of these visitors will be featured on the brand’s Instagram account.
All the brands we tracked are making good use of branded hashtags, like #fourseasons, #tgifs (Thank God its Four Seasons), and #rcmemories (Ritz-Carlton.) They also jump on more generic and widely-used hashtags, like #travel, but prefer to stick to owned hashtags when possible.
Emojis are playing a big part in hotel communications as well, with two versions of the camera emoji (one with flash and one without) showing up in the Top Four—playing up the aspirational aspect of travel, and the vacation snapshots taken by hotel guests.
The hotel industry has done a great job at keeping on top of their social media platforms. They’re extremely active online, especially on Twitter. Across both Twitter and Instagram, the industry publishes approximately 8 social posts per hour, most of which are responses to their customers.
The leading brands are also very accessible and engaged on social, working diligently to turn negative experiences into positive ones—although those resolutions are rarely public, as the community management teams are quick to whisk people away from public spaces and into private messaging. This allows them maximum flexibility in redressing bad experiences while keeping the negative publicity at a minimum.
Hotels (or their agencies) are still loving the Twitter Web Client, which I found interesting because from my experience and conversations with others in the industry, it wouldn’t generally be the first choice for most social media managers or community managers. Each brand also posts from a dedicated social media tool, however.
- So what can hotels do to create an exceptional social media presence that will draw attention? Make sure you’re building a customer journey tied to micro-moments. Really pay attention to when your customers are thinking about traveling, and satiating their cravings with the right content on the platforms they frequent.
- Keep on top of social media trends—like how Four Seasons does with Twitter Chats—and make as many points of contact as possible between you and your target market.
— Four Seasons Hotels (@FourSeasons) September 16, 2016
- Stay connected to what’s happening in the industry by connecting with other Hotel Social Media Managers on Google +. You’ll avoid doubling-up on work by keeping tabs on what your competitors are up to, and identifying what the next big idea in hotel marketing might be.
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