They’re everywhere. In your lobby. By the pool. All over your Facebook feed. However annoying, selfies are a boon to your hotel.
Why? Because selfies are posted by those hotel guests who are having a good time and want to show their family and friends via social media. They’re posting picture after picture, video after video, of all areas of your hotel – the restaurant, the room, the spa. With each selfie, your hotel can reach hundreds of people it would not otherwise have access to.
So consider these braggarts your brand ambassadors--an extension of your unpaid marketing staff and hotel marketing strategy. Smart hoteliers have taken advantage of these travel selfies (or ‘braggies’ as some are calling them) and are now offering incentives to encourage guests to follow them on social media and post pictures and videos of their experiences at their properties. Here some of my favorite ways that hotels are using social media perks to engage with their guests and social media followers in a personal way.
Known as the ‘Instagram Hotel’ because of its travel-photography-inspired architecture and design, 1888 Hotel rewards guests with more than 10,000 Instagram followers (a lofty number) with a complimentary overnight stay when they post pics of their stay. Also, each month, guests (with any number of followers) who share pictures of the hotel on Instagram, using the hashtag #1888hotel, are entered to win a free night at the hotel.
The hotel encourage its guests to whip out their cameras, too. Cleverly, 1888 hosts a Selfie Space using a special backdrop in the lobby. Guests can take a selfie when they check in, and the hotel will select their favorites to feature on the walls for everyone else to see.
Hospitality meets tech at this Silicon Valley hotel. A screen-faced, waist-high robot bellhop named Boltr will deliver items such as smartphone chargers, newspapers, or snacks from the hotel front desk to guests in their rooms. Afterward, using a screen on the robot, guests can leave a review in the form of a Tweet that uses the hashtag #MeetBoltr. Boltr rewards each review by doing a small dance before exiting the guest room.
As part of its recently updated loyalty program, Kimpton Karma, Kimpton now offers travelers personalized perks for tagging the hotel brand in their social media updates. Guests have been rewarded with a welcome amenity or spa credits for social media postings, such as checking into a Kimpton hotel restaurant on Facebook or posting photos from a Kimpton property on Instagram.
Marriott made headlines when it announced it would award loyalty points for social media activity, such as tweets, likes, Instagram posts, and check-ins. Sadly, it was just a beta test program, but, hopefully, it will make comeback for good.
Through the beta PlusPoints program, guests were able to earn up to 2,000 PlusPoints per month. According to Rich Toohey, vice president of Marriott Rewards, using social media to rack up points was a fun and innovative way to give thanks to their followers and to keep the conversation going. The best part? Marriott Rewards members were able to rack up the points in real time and see them accumulate immediately. Members earned 25 points whenever they posted content about any Marriott hotel or received up to 250 points for following a Marriott property on Twitter or Facebook.
Not as robust as Marriott PlusPoint, Starwood’s loyalty program rewards enrolled guests who link their Facebook or Foursquare. From there, guests can redeem their points for flights, hotel stays, merchandise and more. However, the program is only good for Starwood properties currently holding a check-in promo.
Every Tuesday, Best Western hosts a Travel Trivia Tuesday challenge and gives a $100 Best Western Travel Card to a social media follower who solves their destination jigsaw puzzle.
To encourage hotel guests to post their travel pics to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, Hilton asked them to use the hashgtag #HiltonStory to win a complimentary two-night stay or a smartphone case.
Written by Junvi Ola.