Picture a room in Omaha with Hyatt associates looking at screens filled with social media home pages, with a focus on Twitter. In shifts, they watch 24/7 to see what guests, past guests and potential guests are saying to each other, to Hyatt and to their friends and family about their experiences with or opinions of Hyatt hotels.
mThe job of those folks – and folks in similar Control Rooms in Melbourne, Australia, and Mainz, Germany – is to get involved in all that online activity. And getting involved does not mean just responding to complaints, but being proactive in any way they can. Interestingly, Omaha is where Hyatt’s telephone call center has long been located – and where it remains. And some of those call agents have moved over to the Control Room where they can use their long-honed communication skills on the new platforms.
Their job, according to Karen Dawson, vice president of digital strategy, is not to sell but to optimize the experience by solving problems, thanking guests for praise, sending people flowers on Valentine’s Day and a lot more. The Control Room was launched in 2009 to serve as a virtual concierge and to change the company’s previous online approach, which was as one of reactivity. The classic example offered by the hotel was of a guest at a Hyatt resort who tweeted that he could use a mojito; within minutes that desire was met as a result of Control Room response.
Hyatt makes these facts known about its Control Room activity:
1. Since the launch of the Control Room, @HyattTweets has joined more than 50,000 guest conversations on Twitter. That’s everything from welcoming a guest to helping with reservations to lending a hand with service issues.
2. Recently, the average response time was 10 minutes and 54 seconds.
3. Cupid manned @HyattConcierge this past Valentine’s Day. Many guests were surprised with acts of kindness, ranging from a free night at the closest Hyatt hotel to lots of complimentary champagne and strawberries for more memorable celebrations.
4. When a guest
commented on Twitter to a friend about needing a makeup mirror like the one at a specific Hyatt hotel, the Control Room staff researched and provided the actual make and model to help her
A recent change in the Control Room model was a result of the pride the associates took in what they were doing; they are now able to initial their communications so their colleagues (and superiors) can see who is the initiator.
Ambitious as they are, the Control Rooms are just part of Hyatt’s goal of becoming a “social business.” Translation: everybody at every level in every hotel has to recognize the importance of communication through technology with consumers. An online guide is about to be published called “Social Is A Behavior” where employees at any expertise level will find chapters on everything from the Hyatt social strategy, in-depth overviews of social platforms, measurement frameworks and best practices. The guide will evolve over time and include case studies so everybody can keep learning as the social space evolves.
“We need to take social beyond marketing,” says Dawson, “and make it part of everything we do.”