Holiday Inn gives away free nights on Twitter

I always like to highlight how hotel chains are using social media to drive business, and today I found that Holiday Inn are promoting a new giveaway though Twitter, so I wanted to share what they are doing with you.  Of course, with over 1,200 hotels worldwide, Holiday Inn is the most widely recognised lodging brands in the world so any promotion they run socially will instantly grab the attention of thousands of followers, but the guiding principle of interaction is an interesting one to follow and can be re-applied in different levels.

Holiday Inn Resort Kicks Off Back to School Season with “Extra Credit” and Resort Stay Giveaway”

InterContinental Hotels Group today announced the Holiday Inn Resort “Extra Credit” offer which rewards guests with a $50 Resort Credit to use on property when they stay at least two nights Sept. 4 through Nov. 30, 2012, booked through their brand website.  The “extra credit” can be used toward breakfast, lunch, water ski rentals, bike rentals and more.  For each additional night stayed, guests will receive another $25.

Del Ross, Vice President Americas Sales & Marketing, IGG commented “Summer may be winding down but there are still great vacation travel deals.  Whether it’s a family of five or a couple of friends who want to visit Holiday Inn Resort beach locations or action-packed attraction areas, we’re making it possible to create memorable experiences affordably.”

Holiday Inn are using Twitter to provide more interactive value to their brand followers by launching their  “Resort Stay Giveaway”. Prizes range from a one night stay up to an eight night stay at any Holiday Inn Resort location in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Quite simply, Holiday Inn are encouraging interaction – the more tweets, the bigger the prizes get.

Here’s how the “Resort Stay Giveaway” works:

• Follow @HolidayInn on Twitter
• Tell us why you would love to stay at a resort for your next vacation with the #ResortLove hashtag
• Tweet daily for more chances to win

This is a very clever way to get your followers tweeting about your brand.  Of course, IHG are the largest hotel group around so this is an inexpensive promotion for them, however the ideal is the same even if you are a small independent hotel.  Encourage interaction through your social sites with different offers (these don;t even need to be giveaways, they can be simple communication). Everyone likes an offer and it motivates people to get involved and talk about your brand.

ReviewPro Releases Global Review Index™ Top Hotel Rankings for UK Cities

A company that I admire a great deal, ReviewPro, have this week released their Global Review Index Top Hotel Rankings some of Britain’s busiest hotel cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Oxford.  ReviewPro are a leading provider of online reputation and social media management solutions to the hotel industry who aggregate hundreds of millions of social media mentions from hundreds of the most relevant Online Travel Agencies, review websites and social media platforms.  If you’ve not taken a look at the service ReviewPro can provide your hotel, then you really should.  In my opinion, they are by far the market leader in this field and are truly experts in reputation management.  ReviewPro provides the analysis, customer intelligence, competitive benchmarking and automated reporting needed to help hoteliers more effectively manage their online reputation.

The Top Hotel Rankings are based on the Global Review Index, a benchmark for guest satisfaction in the hotel industry that is calculated with guest review scores from hundreds of the most relevant Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and review sites worldwide.

In London, The Halkin took the #1 spot in the ranking, followed by Hotel 41 and The Milestone Hotel. The Chester Residence (Edinburgh), Hotel Indigo (Glasgow), Posh Pads at The Casartelli (Liverpool), Velvet Hotel (Manchester), Staybrigde Suites Newcastle (Newcastle upon Tyne) and The Old Bank Hotel (Oxford) took the number one spots in the other UK cities in this ranking.

ReviewPro CEO RJ Friedlander says: “We have released similar rankings in several European and North American cities over the last year, and feedback from individual hotels, chains and industry experts has been amazing.  We are excited to expand these powerful rankings at this key time for the UK hotel sector, when all eyes are on London in the run up to the Olympics.”

Originally piloted in 2011, these B2B rankings are calculated based on guest reviews from more than one hundred of the most relevant review sites and online travel agencies (OTA) and evaluate reviews for 3, 4 and 5 star hotels over the course of a 12-month period. The ranking are based on the Global Review Index, a proprietary algorithm developed by ReviewPro in conjunction with leading hotel industry experts.  It enables hotels to know their current quality score, track their performance over time and compare their online reputation to their competitors or to other hotels within their chain with a single index.

Thousands of hotels in more than 70 countries, including some of the most recognized hotel brands in the world, rely on ReviewPro to better understand and improve guest satisfaction and to profit from the social web. Clients include Alila Hotels & Resorts, the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Cavendish London, Citizen M Hotels, Concorde Hotels & Resorts, Corinthia Hotels, Epoque Hotels, Hotel Bel-Air, 1895 Historic Hotels, Hotusa Hotels, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Louvre Hotels Group, Melià Hotels International, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Occidental Hotels & Resorts, the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, the Roger Smith Hotel and Swiss-Belhotel International.

The Athenaeum utilises Pinterest to engage guests in run up to Chelsea Flower Show

I’ve been waiting for a few months now to discover a hotel being really proactive in their Pinterest use, and using the latest social platform to interact with guests in a unique and initiative way.  My wait is now over and I’ve found a great example – and it’s congratulations to The Athenaeum Hotel in London with this fun and interactive campaign, based around one of the big London events.

On 19th May The Athenaeum Hotel will launch an ‘Urban Gardens’ Pinterest competition that will run until the end of ‘Chelsea Fringe’ – the new ‘festival of flora’ which aims to spread some of the excitement and energy around gardens and gardening in the run up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The creator of the winning ‘mood board’ will be awarded Evergreen Tea for two at The Athenaeum.

As London starts to turn green in the run up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, tourists and locals will once again witness giant floral displays and visual tributes to the annual horticultural show appearing around the capital. Installations, events and experiences, exhibits, talks and walks will also take place thanks to ‘Chelsea Fringe’ – a new initiative that will run alongside the historic show.

The Athenaeum Hotel, who’s Living Wall was installed three years ago in conjunction with RHS Chelsea Flower Show, would like to encourage users of Pinterest to capture this activity and to ‘pin’ the best horticultural happenings for all the world to see!

Tim Richardson, the Chelsea Fringe Festival Director and Gardening Writer, says; “The living wall at The Athenaeum Hotel is living proof that Urban Landscape projects can be beautiful, glamorous and cutting edge.This project is a great opportunity to showcase everything that is being achieved in this area across the capital whether they are fringe projects or not. Good luck to everybody who enters, enjoy pinning!”

The Athenaeum Hotel will upload it’s own set of images on to Pinterest to help inspire participants and will ask entrants to tweet their boards with the hashtag#AthenaeumUrbanGardensCompetition.

The hotel’s General Manager Simon Wakefield will select the mood board that he feels best portrays the transformation of London and the creator will be sent a voucher for the award-winning Evergreen Tea for two people at The Athenaeum.

Simon Wakefield, General Manager of The Athenaeum Hotel says; “London is such an exciting place to be in the run up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the ‘Chelsea Fringe’ is a welcome addition for Londoners and tourists alike. We hope our competition will capture some of the action for as many people as possible to see. Our Living Wall continues to amaze and excite guests and passers-by – it is definitely a breath of wilderness in the midst of a city, which is what this competition and the ‘Chelsea Fringe’ are all about.’

The Living Wall at the athenaeum is a unique architectural landmark that has transformed the streetscape of Piccadilly; the outdoor living tapestry represents a fusion of the hotel with its Royal Parks environment – bringing the outside in. Three years after it was installed it is in full bloom and has become a valuable shelter for biodiversity. Highlighting the hotel’s participation in making London a greener place, it adds nature to the daily life of not only hotel guests but of London’s residents alike.

A lot of hotels have started to use Pinterest, but mainly to load their photos of the property onto the Pinboard – some of the efforts I’ve seen tend to tick a box to say “we’re on Pinterest” rather than be a true interactive contribution.  This is the first intuitive and interactive hotel promotion using Pinterest I’ve seen and it will be interesting to see how popular the campaign is.

 

Holiday Inn Brussels gets social and shows the rest how it’s done

During a recent business trip to Brussels, I went through my normal routine.  I checked Trover on my smartphone (I wont go into it now, but check it out if you haven’t already) during my taxi ride from the airport to my hotel and once I was at the hotel, I checked-in at the property on FourSquare.  I do these two things where ever I go for a number of reasons.  Primarily, I like sharing where I am with you all, but I also like to see if any hotels I visit interact with me on social media.  I have to admit, I don’t experience interaction very often and when I do, it comes across a little half-hearted.  When I checked-in at the Holiday Inn Brussels Airport, I was to be pleasantly surprised.

After a couple of very welcome beers in the hotel bar with a colleague, I checked my phone and saw on my Twitter feed that the hotel had responded to my check-in and welcomed me – nice touch.  A simple response makes the world of difference to a guest, especially a first time guest.

A Twitter conversation followed and I could clearly tell that the hotel really had a social media strategy, and they were keeping it simple.  Take the chance to interact with the guest – the guests made the first move by checking in on FourSquare, or tweeting the hotel – it’s up to the hotel to respond and add value to that social platform.  It’s the small things that make the world of difference.

I also like the fact that this property encourage interaction.  Okay, I am a hotel and social media geek, so I was always going to check in – but they prompt their guests to do it – by interacting of Facebook, FourSquare and even to leave a review on TripAdvisor by putting their message on their room key inserts using QR codes.

Pleasantly surprised, I thought that was it.  But the next evening when I returned to my room I was to find the hotel really going the extra mile.  On the floor was an envelope, with a handwritten note from the General Manager, thanking me for my social interaction, and giving my two complimentary drinks at the hotel bar.

Not only was this unexpected, but it was a fantastic effort from the hotel.  this truly is how channels like FourSquare, Facebook and Twitter should be used – this is how to make a guest feel wanted, and make them want to come back.  It’s the small efforts of a hotel with a clear social media strategy that make them stand out from the crowd.  Let’s be very honest – an airport hotel from a major chain like Holiday Inn – they are all the same (to most guests minds anyway).  In fact, even to me, I would not have expected this welcome and treatment from an airport hotel.

I know that IHG (the owning company of Holiday Inn) have a clear social strategy and encourage and give creative licence to their properties, but this is the first time I had experienced this kind of interaction, so I felt a post was just reward.

Thank you Holiday Inn Brussels Airport – I’ll come back to you next time I’m in town – you won a loyal fan!

 

 

Accor launches A-Club Places application on Facebook

Some hotel chains are only just waking up to the fact that social media channels equal booking channels.  Some are only just realising it could be an idea not to just have a presence on Facebook, but to let clients book on Facebook.  Accor have been ahead in the game for a while now, and this week announced that they had the first location-based application to reward a hotel group’s loyalty program members.

Accor launched A-Club Places, an innovative and unique Facebook application, available to A-Club loyalty members.  The launch of this application is part of Accor’s strategy to develop its presence on the Internet, on mobile phones and social networks.  Sales through these direct distribution channels represent close to 29% of the Group’s total sales.

The new service allows members to check in on the application on Facebook and rewards customers with a badge depending on the regularity of their stay and on the type hotels the stay at which convert into A-Club points.

This just shows how hotels are having to develop their online presence in social circles even more carefully.  Its important to offer as much of your baseline service on as many channels as possible, and Accor have plugged the gap with their loyalty program.

The top Irish hotels getting social

Outside of Hotel Insight, my role in the hospitality industry allows me to get really involved in the Irish market, and for that reason, I was speaking with my friend Christina, the owner of CG Online Marketing based in Ireland, about her thoughts on hotels using social media in her primary market.  We had such a good conversation, that Christina offered to provide her insights into this area – so this post is courtesy of Christina!

Christina: “According to Failte Ireland’s visitor survey, everybody loves the Irish hospitality. In my mind, this means that the Irish charm and warm nature is perfect for social media – so here I’ve compiled a list of the top Irish hotel social media pages and campaigns and together we can you can judge if the Irish brand of hospitality translates as well online.

1)     First up is the Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford

A stunning location on the south-east coast and close to Ardmore Bay, the Cliffhouse Hotel are lucky to have the ocean as a backdrop.

Twitter: @cliffhousehotel

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheCliffHouseHotel

These guys were born to tweet and never miss a chance to respond (great customer service).

Practically 4000 Twitter followers and high engagement levels. They have been known to tweet and serve simultaneously.

Their Facebook page is just as busy – plenty of pictures, updates and they even shared a few mentions on third party blogs – nice!

Not one question was left unanswered and the tone was consistently upbeat.

An encouraging start!

2)     Next we have, The Clanard Court Hotel, Athy, Co Kildare

Set on the outskirts of Dublin city, the Clanard Court is a popular local for those living in Athy.

Twitter: @ClanardCourt

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ClanardCourtHotel

Let’s look at their social media

This hotel set hearts aflutter with their ‘Love Match’ Facebook campaign to win a wedding

(the one of your dreams, of course).

The competition stages:

  • Couples upload their images
  • Four then progress to stage two
  • Each couple is filmed discussing their prospective partners
  • Fans had to guess the couples.
  • Winners crowned (Love match)

Full coverage here

What I loved about this campaign was the innovation and personalisation of it. Interactive, multimedia-driven (upload images and video interviews), personality (some cool questions like ‘What celebrity does your partner look most like?’) and the amount of time and commitment a campaign of this magnitude must have taken. This is more of a free-fall into social media, as opposed to a side-step and it is a testament to what social media can do for a hotel.

3)     In at 3 is The Maryborough Hotel, Douglas, Co. Cork

The Maryborough hotel (a client of mine, incidentally) is well-known for a warm and friendly service. They are constantly adding to the hotel (Pet Farm, Team Building and Dome) and are dedicated to their guests.

Twitter: @TheMaryborough

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maryborough.cork

Let’s look at their social media

The Facebook page has personality! Sales carries this function and it’s updated almost daily – sometimes with offers, something with links, and sometimes a just a feel-good shout out.

You may not note the strategy at play, in fact you might be forgiven for thinking there isn’t one at all…but, there is! The updates are all goal-driven – Talking about Santa’s visit, buying Christmas vouchers, Spa offers, etc. Mostly, there’s a sales message at play, but it’s packaged behind an energetic and happy voice, so fans respond.

#leaders11 Have to say the Energy is just Electric here in the Sherrard Suite Tonight!!!’

Plus – they use #tags for tweets and create a nice buzz for their offerings.

There are countless hotels in Ireland worth a mention, like The Cork Airport Hotel – winner of a number of marketing awards and promoters of an edgy, creative vibe (vibrating seats  – need we say more?) http://www.facebook.com/corkinternationalairporthotel, plus The Burlington Hotel in Dublin http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Burlington-Hotel-Dublin/102643726883 where every status update gets a picture (for those not in the know – this increases your chances of being seen by your fans).

Bio

Christina is owner of CG Online Marketing (www.cgonlinemarketing.com) and has ten years experience in online marketing communications from working with Premier Recruitment Group, LA Fitness, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Travel and a host of other companies. Christina is dedicated in providing unique online marketing solutions tailored to individual client needs, and ensuring that all online activities run smoothly and obtain the best ROI possible. Specialties:Online marketing Online media Social Media/Social Marketing SEO / PPC Google analytics (qualified in GA IQ) Web trends + insights, Data segmentation and targeting, Customer Behavior analysis, Digital design, Writing, Ethical marketing Green marketing / Sustainable tourism and Hotel + travel online marketing.

 

Using Twitter to add value to your guests experience

In such a competitive marketplace, hotels have to stand out from the crowd, not only to attract customers, but to retain them, whilst ensuring that they not only come back to stay with you, but pass a good story on to their friends.  Using social media channels is the perfect way to create a connection with a prospective guest or customer, but this has to be thought about clearly.  Too often I see hotels mis-using social channels and instead of conversing with customers, they frustrate them and drive them away from connecting.

Twitter is at the very heart of this.  Hotels that purely send out special offers and promotions quickly find people hitting the unfollow button.  Twitter should be about creating a personality for your hotel or brand and engaging with people, and making sure they know what you’re doing.  For me, there is one perfect example of how hotels have been inventive with Twitter and done exactly that, and it’s the Hyatt Concierge.

Hyatt have been very clever and even been the pioneer of the online concierge service.  Quite simply, they have created a Twitter account called @HyattConcierge as a way to interact with guests and provide all the services of the hotel concierge desk over Twitter.

And it’s working fantastically well.  With over 16,500 followers, you can see guests interacting with Hyatt on all kinds of levels.  From recommendations for restaurants nearby to their hotels, to post check-out comments on service and suggestions.  This has opened a whole new way for guests to communicate with Hyatt.

Remember, this is not new.  I’m not telling you about a brand new concept.  This account has been in existence for a number of years and is widely used.  It just goes to show that you can truly add value to your guests experience in such a simple way.  Think outside the box, think about what you customers want, then find a way to do it – before they disengage altogether.