HOTELS — October 2015
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SOCIAL HOTEL AWARDS 2015
Brittany Farb

HOTELS’ WHO’S WHO OF SOCIAL MEDIA INITIATIVES AMONG BRANDS AND PROPERTIES

Over the past several years, social media presence has become a necessity to almost every consumerfacing business. The hotel industry is no exception and it shows with consistent innovative social media campaigns year after year.

This year’s 4th annual Social Hotel Award winners were selected by a panel of social media experts and the staff editors of HOTELS. Categories included Best Use of Twitter, Best Use of Facebook and Best Integrated Digital Campaign, with winners from both hotel brands and individual properties.

HOTELS and the panel of judges congratulate all of the winners and thank everyone who submitted entries.

BEST FACEBOOK PAGE
BY BRAND

FAIRMONT HOTELS & RESORTS

DESCRIPTION: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts objective for its brand page was to continually increase awareness within its fan base, drive engagement and convert Fairmont President’s Club members to Facebook fans. Fairmont’s Facebook page is also meant to be a source of travel inspiration for perspective Fairmont guests, who may be less familiar with the brand.

With more than 85% of its customer base residing in North America, Fairmont also geo-targets some of its Facebook content, including contests and promotions, toward people who live in Canada and the United States.

RESULTS: Over the course of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, significant growth was seen on its Facebook page from 105,662 fans to 184,183 fans. The page also generated almost 1.32 million impressions. Additionally, more than US$3 million in incremental room-booking revenue was generated throughout the year via social media, the majority of which was attributed to Facebook and strategic advertising tactics.

RUNNER-UP: ITC Hotels

SOCIAL HOTEL AWARDS JUDGES

CHRIS JACKSON
PreSident, gcoMMerce Chris Jackson leads GCommerce, a hospitality-focused digital marketing agency. As one of the original members of GCommerce, Jackson has more than 20 years of marketing and operations experience in the hospitality and travel industries.

JOSIAH MACKENZIE
Vice PreSident, reViewPro Josiah Mackenie leads business development at ReviewPro, a customer intelligence tool that helps hotels manage their online reputation and social media.

JACLYN LOO
Senior Marketing Manager, googLe At Google, Jaclyn Loo partners closely with travel advertisers in the lodging and resorts category on their digital marketing strategies across online channels, including search, mobile, display, video and social media.

LEE MCCABE
GLOBAL HEAD OF TRAVEL STRATEGY, FACEBOOK

Since joining Facebook in 2012, Lee McCabe has worked closely with the hotel industry to help them leverage Facebook as a marketing platform.

By ProPerty
Marina Bay SandS, SingaPore

DESCRIPTION: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, has established itself as a leading entertainment destination in Asia attracting international entertainer and and world-famous athletes. The key objective for the resort’s social media strategy was to utilize its A-list following to create exclusive and captivating content. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, also ran a campaign with international soccer superstar David Beckham encouraging fans to “never settle” by experiencing the resort through the eyes of a celebrity.

“Social media has redefined the way that brands communicate with people, and vice versa,” explains Timothy Hou, director of internal communications and social media at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. “We strive to always capture on Facebook and our other social presence the essence of what Marina Bay Sands has to offer.”

RESULTS: In only three months, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, reached 50 million people on social media in its markets by leveraging celebrity visits. Since June, the resort has grown its fan base by 32,000 followers to 482,000 fans with an average weekly organic reach of over 2 million.

RUNNER-UP: Amwaj Rotana, Dubai

BEST FACEBOOK PROMOTION

BY BRAND
MERCURE

DESCRIPTION: Aiming to highlight the local features near its more than 700 hotels, AccorHotels’ Mercure launched The Six Friends Theory at the beginning of 2015. Inspired by the theory of six degrees of separation, The Six Friends Theory tested the theory that only six degrees separate Nigel, an aboriginal Australian and Ludovica, a candidate recruited through an international casting call. The campaign followed Ludovica using real-time photos and a “docudrama” of seven video episodes airing on social media for 15 days. The campaign also promoted Mercure’s values of conviviality, authenticity and sharing that carry the brand.

“For the first time, a hospitality brand decided to prove a scientific theory with a real-life experience,” says Antoine Dubois, vice president of digital marketing and media at AccorHotels. “We created digital content which was original and real at the same time.”

RESULTS: The Six Friends Theory reached over 28 million people on Facebook and received more than 11 million views on Facebook and Twitter.

RUNNER-UP: Sofitel Luxury Hotels

BY PROPERTY
HYATT REGENCY MAUI RESORT SPA, HAWAII

DESCRIPTION: Aiming to generate wedding sales leads and raise brand awareness, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort Spa in Hawaii created a unique and targeted social sweepstakes. In conjunction with digital marketing platform service Offerpop, Hyatt Regency Maui broke down the campaign into two stages. The first consisted of submissions: Engaged couples throughout the U.S. were asked to provide a photo and 100 words explaining why they wanted to get married in Maui. The second phase asked Facebook users to vote for the winning couple

Voters also were entered to win a three-night stay at the resort and all participants (those who submitted entries as well as those who voted) received a 10% vacation discount. RESULTS: Eighty leads were generated from the Facebook promotion. Over 1,200 voted in addition to sharing the contest details on their personal social media channels.

“Our creative approach to social media not only increased awareness of the resort as a premier weddings destination, but also gave a couple the wedding of their dreams,” says John Yeadon, director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Maui.

RUNNER-UP: Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas

BEST INTEGRATED DIGITAL CAMPAIGN
BY BRAND

FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS
DESCRIPTION: In 2014, Four Seasons unveiled the first hotel-branded private jet. Following the launch, Four Seasons implemented an integrated campaign that included robust social media marketing, content marketing, and influencer outreach to position the company as a leader and innovative brand. The campaign involved multi-pronged storytelling across Fourseasons.com, Four Seasons Magazine and all brand social channels, including a custom redesign of the Four Seasons YouTube channel. Four Seasons also created a CGI Jet “sneak-peek” video that was showcased on the custom YouTube channel and syndicated across all social channels on the brand and property level.

“The private jet story went viral within a day – making this the brand’s most successful marketing announcement ever,” recalls Sorya Gaulin, director of global corporate public relations and social media for Four Seasons. RESULTS: The private jet launch story received a total of 26.6 million social media impressions, 7.1 million in social media reach and almost 300,000 media impressions. Social media accounted for more than 20% of traffic to the jet microsite and the US$132,000/ticket inaugural flight sold out within days.

RUNNER-UP: Hilton Worldwide

BY PROPERTY
FAIRMONT PACIFIC RIM, VANCOUVER

DESCRIPTION: To raise awareness of its proposal packages, Fairmont Pacific Rim created a targeted digital campaign inviting suitors to share their video love story for a chance to win a C$18,000 (US$13,737) proposal. To share contest information, the hotel enhanced its Facebook presence by building a contest page that also prompted visitors to like it upon landing on it. Additional social media content was created, including the most romantic places to pop the question in Vancouver, the do’s and don’ts of proposals and ads for the contest.

“We were able to work with and leverage a number of leading industry partners to create a remarkably enticing prize that encouraged entrants to develop some really incredible love story videos,” says Kerrie Bowers, social media manager at Fairmont Pacific Rim. RESULTS: The campaign generated 42 wedding and proposal leads that resulted in over C$1 million (US$760,000) in potential business for 2015 and 2016. Campaign impressions exceeded 6 million people within the desired target market. Social media followers on Fairmont Pacific Rim’s social networks increased by an average of 8%.

RUNNERS-UP: ITC Maurya, New Delhi, India, and W Taipei, Taiwan

BEST USE OF TWITTER
By Brand

ITC HOTELS
DESCRIPTION: ITC Hotels is one of the first Indian hotel chains to embrace Twitter as a real-time communication channel. Its dedicated customer service Twitter handle, @ ITCHotelsCares, engages and services guests 18 hours per day, seven dayts a week. Additionally, ITC’s corporate handle, @ITCHotels, was created to spread brand awareness and leverage the company’s presence among consumers.

ITC has also used Twitter to hold regular contests to reward followers and drive brand buzz. One of its most successful campaigns was #MyTravelColours around Holi, the Indian festival of colors. Followers were asked to share their most memorable travel moment and ITC transformed them into colorful caricatures. ITC also conducts weekly Twitter chats focused on cuisine and wine.

“ITC Hotels has taken a 360 degree approach to social media marketing and has cemented its presence on all traditional and newage social networking channels, including Twitter,” says Baldev Dhir, head of digital marketing, distribution and brand operations for ITC. resulTs: @ITCHotelsCares handled more than 4,000 queries in under 65 minutes, making ITC one of the fastest and most efficient luxury hotel Twitter handles in India. ITC also received more than 50,000 unique brand mentions on Twitter, a rise of 284% from 2014 to 2015.

RUNNER-UP: Trump Hotel Collection

BY PROPERTY
ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS

DESCRIPTION: Atlantis Paradise Island uses Twitter as the main channel to promote special events and performances taking place at the resort. To drive fan engagement and brand interest, Atlantis partners with celebrities and musical artists as part of its Atlantis Live series to execute multiple promotions, including hashtag sweepstakes, trivia sweepstakes, Twitter Parties and on-property scavenger hunts.“Atlantis’ Twitter account has a unique brand voice that gives followers a taste of what paradise has to offer each day through beautiful imagery, videos, and user-generated content from past and current guests,” says Megan Napier, director of public relations and social media for Atlantis Paradise Island.

In 2014, Atlantis partnered with the band Emblem3 to cohost a “retweet sweepstakes,” giving fans the opportunity to win a trip to Atlantis to see the band in concert. resulTs: The Emblem3 sweepstakes exceeded expectations with over 4,480 mentions, 3,088 re-tweets, and 5.75 million impressions for the unique hashtag #Emblem3Atlantis in a 48-hour period. Atlantis also gained 2,000 new Atlantis followers with nearly 100 mentions per hour.

Since the Emblem3 sweepstakes, Atlantis has continued to grow its Twitter efforts and recently initiated its first independent Twitter Party and sweepstakes, #ParadiseSweepstakes. At press time, Atlantis had sent more than 10,000 Twitter replies in 2015, including assisting guests with reservation questions, providing important property updates and sharing fun images from fans’ Atlantis vacation. runner-up: The New Tropicana Las Vegas

BEST USE OF VISUAL NETWORKS

BY BRAND
(TIE) CONRAD HOTELS & RESORTS, FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS

DESCRIPTION: This year, both Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Four Seasons brands tied for the top spot for their use of visual networks. Conrad wanted to raise awareness of its hotels “smart luxury” and focused on building momentum via Instagram. The goal was to increase engagement and overall awareness by “re-gramming” guests’ photos and complimenting their photography skills by calling out their handles.“This kind of two-way street brings awareness to our brand and exposure for the influencer,” says Stuart Foster, vice president of global marketing for luxury and lifestyle brands at Hilton Worldwide. “All of this helps to drive high levels of brand engagement and loyalty and since launch, we’ve continuously evolved and optimized our social strategies.”

Recognizing a demand for rejuvenation and revitalization among its fast-paced guests, Four Seasons created a spa and F&B campaign to offer solution fro re-energizing. #30DaysofEnergy was a month-long daily wellness challenge on Instagram designed to increase engagement with guests as well as showcase wellness offerings.

“Guiding social media audiences along this journey – as well as showcasing actionable tips from Four Seasons experts around the world – helped solidify Four Seasons as a thought leader in the wellness space and showcased our exceptional health-promoting offerings at properties across the globe,” says Sorya Gaulin, director of global corporate public relations and social media for Four Seasons. results: Conrad’s initial goal was to grow its Instagram audience by 30%, and the platform ultimately grew a total of 106% in 2014. At press time, the brand’s hashtag, #ConradHotels, has been used a 2,374 times.

During its #30DaysofEnergy campaign, Four Seasons reported 52,486 Instagram engagements, an increase of 5,280 Instagram followers and a spa and fitness revenue increase of 8%.

RUNNER-UP: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

BY PROPERTY
(TIE) GRAND HYATT NEW YORK, WALDORF ASTORIA NEW YORK

DESCRIPTION: Both Grand Hyatt New York and Waldorf Astoria New York tied for their use of visual networks at the property level. As part of Grand Hyatt’s social media strategy, the hotel’s social media team targeted travelers on Instagram at all points of their travel journey– discovery, planning, trip anticipation, during visit and post-visit. The hotel aimed to reach a target demographic of both group and leisure travelers in key feeder markets around the U.S.“Our goal is to offer useful, informative content to optimize every guest experience,” says Paula Ilabaca, marketing and communications manager, at Grand Hyatt New York. “For example, if a guest says they are excited for their up coming stay for a wedding anniversary, we can take the opportunity to locate their reservation and have something special waiting in the room.”

Waldorf Astoria New York also utilized Instagram to appeal to guests. Content included high-quality images that tell the story of the property, from the guest’s perspective as well as the hotel itself. In addition, the #waldorfmoment campaign encourages guests to share photos via Instagram of their “authentic moments” at the hotel.

“My dream is that the campaign will inspire people who wouldn’t post on their own to share their #waldorfmoment on social media,” saiys Melissa Howard, social media manager for Waldorf Astoria New York.

RESULTS: Grand Hyatt New York surpassed its initial 2014 goal of reaching 1,000 Instagram followers by 56%, ending the year with 1,563 followers. Additionally, total number of likes reached 7,794 on photos posted, 160% more than the goal of 3,000 likes by year end.

Walforf Astoria New York reported a reach of more than 610,00 users and 37,249 impressions. All 26 Waldorf Astoria properties spanning 12 countries around the world have adopted #waldormoment as their official hashtag.

RUNNER-UP: St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Florida

BEST USE OF DIGITAL VIDEO

BY BRAND
INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS & RESORTS

DESCRIPTION: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts leveraged its culinary ambassadors, Russ Lusted, Ian Kittichai and Michel Roux, to embark on a journey to sample local culinary specialties in specific destinations before cooking an authentic dish on the spot. “Chef-to-Chef” was developed in partnership with National Geographic Channel’s Nat Geo People to engage Facebook fans with IHG’s world-renowned chefs. Videos were uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, and recipes were featured on the campaign’s website.

“We believe social media campaigns should always be personable and genuine,” says Alfred Tay, social marketing manager for Asia, Middle East and Africa at IHG. “By presenting great information by real InterContinental chefs, we create true connections with our audience, hence differentiating our brand from others.”

RESULTS: The campaign generated over 1 million video views and more than 13,000 engagements. Based on the campaign’s success, IHG also launched a similar program from the Japanese market that ultimately added 700,000 views.

RUNNER-UP: Best Western International

BY PROPERTY
ONE&ONLY PALMILLA, LOS CABOS, MEXICO

DESCRIPTION: In September 2014, Hurricane Odile ravaged the Baja California Peninsula and left the area in shambles, including one of its most prominent resorts: One&Only Palmilla. The devastation prompted a seven-month property closure and a prolonged reduction in outgoing communication. In April, the property announced its re-opening, which would be chronicled in a Facebook video produced, shot and edited in just two days. The campaign objective was to drive excitement and buzz for the property during opening weekend.

“Our social media fans were as excited as we were to see the resort reopen,” says Helen McCabe-Young, executive vice president of sales and marketing for One&Only Resorts. “Before we opened our doors, we received hundreds of comments from social media fans asking for updates. We soon answered that call with a sneak peek into what to discover upon returning to One&Only Palmilla.”

RESULTS: The video earned more than 7,000 views, 281 likes, 185 shares and 106 comment in less than 24 hours, making it the most successful video posted to One&Only’s Facebook page to date. At press time, views totaled more than 24,000 with a reach of 56,864 people.

BEST REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

BY BRAND
STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE

DESCRIPTION: Starwood Hotels & Resort’s global social media team offers support to customers around the clock, literally. The social team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to listen and engage with potential, current and former guests. The objective is threefold: To offer quality engagement through thoughtful and tailored responses that aligns with the brand’s tone and voice, drive loyalty through social opportunities pre-stay, in-stay or post-stay, and propel positive reputation management by listening to customers and offering clear, guided answers. Teams around the world are continuously crafting and reviewing internal case studies to learn what worked and what did to create an updated training manual.

“Starwood was one of the first to have an online presence back in 2000 with the Starwood Lurker on Flyertalk,” explains Marcella Nicotera, director of eService and social care at Starwood. “Through the years, we continue to be present where our guests are, and we are proud to be an award-winning team.”

RESULTS: Starwood’s social media team answered 95% of customer service inquires within 30 minutes, despite a 21% increase in volume of inquiries in 2014. RUNNER-UP: ITC Luxury Collection

BY PROPERTY
HOTEL DEL CORONADO, SAN DIEGO

DESCRIPTION: At the end of 2013, Hotel del Coronado accrued the largest social media following to date among key competitors, with more than 60,000 Facebook Fans and 6,000 Twitter followers, placing it at the top of the resort’s competitive set in total community size. However, the property was looking to require a very particular fan base: active and healthy travelers with a high discretionary spend. The property set forth with targeting potential guests opposed to just fans of the brand, using social media as a customer service hum and rewarding guests though giveaways and promotions for their social media engagement. Hotel del Coronado also installed a social friendly photo booth that allowed guests to share their pictures on Twitter and Facebook.

“The perfect social media campaign is one that speaks directly to what our fans are looking for,” says Sara Harper, director of marketing at Hotel Del Coronado. “We use our social media pages primarily as a listening tool, discovering what matters most to our fans and guests, and delivering that content to them. “

RESULTS: At press time, Hotel del Coronado has more than 20,000 Facebook fans and 11,000 Twitter followers. Facebook user engagement has increased by 193% and an average of more than 459 tweets are sent per months. Social media promotions helped garner more than 77,000 impressions to reach 38,000 users and earned 1,200 likes.

RUNNER-UP: The Renaissance Chicago Downtown
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