Hospitality Chains Get Social with Guests

Major hospitality chains are jumping into social media like kids in an over-chlorinated pool, including new initiatives to reward guests for social media activity that helps promote their brands. No surprise, all these hospitality chains are trying to win market share among Millennials, who represent a growing proportion of business and tourist travel.

This week Radisson Blu, a specialty brand of the hospitality chain, announced a contest called “Social Eyes,” which will reward travelers who share inside travel tips on the Radisson Blu blog about destinations where Radisson Blu hotels are located. Each week the traveler with the best tip will earn a free room night at any Radisson Blu hotel worldwide.

While the Radisson contest is a limited offer, other hotel chains are setting up permanent social rewards programs. That includes Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, whose new “Kimpton Karma Rewards” program will give guests perks and freebies for a variety of activities, including mentioning a Kimpton hotel or restaurant on social media.

Back in May Marriott launched a new “PlusPoints” loyalty program, which awards redeemable points for social media activity including retweeting posts from the Marriott Rewards Twitter account, following hotels’ Twitter and Instagram accounts, checking in on Facebook, or posting photos of a fabulous Marriott stay on Instagram with an enthusiastic caption, among others. Currently over 360 Marriott hotels are participating in the social rewards program.

Meanwhile new services are launching to help hospitality businesses of all sizes keep track of their guests’ social media activity. On such startup, Voyat, tracks mobile (and laptop) social activity via Wifi and stores this information alongside transaction data to create detailed customer profiles. Hotel managers can then use these profiles to craft personalized marketing messages and customized loyalty rewards, which in turn should lead to return visits by customers who feel a more personal connection to the hotel.

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