One gets the impression that with some careful scheduling of their social media activity, a savvy social media user could stay in hotels for the rest of their lives and never have to pay -- provided they don’t mind turning over their social feeds to posts about hospitality providers. In recent weeks even more hospitality chains have jumped on the social media rewards bandwagon, offering customers free rooms and assorted perks in return for posting about their experience on social media.
The list now includes Hilton, which has launched a new social media campaign offering free weekends to social media users who submit travel photos as part of Hilton’s larger “Our Stage, Your Story” marketing push. According to Ad Week, participants just have to post a cool travel photo to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, with the hashtag #HiltonStory. Each week Hilton will select one winner, who will get a free weekend at any one of 550 Hiltons around the world. The contest will continue through October 26.
Meanwhile Waldorf Astoria (a Hilton property) has announced a new luxury automobile promotion with a social media tie-in. Over the next few months visitors to six Waldorf Astoria locations will be able to drive some very fancy cars -- the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, McLaren MP4-12C, and Porsche 911 Turbo -- along scenic routes under the supervision of Belgian race champion Didier Theys. Concurrently Waldorf Astoria is asking social fans and followers to submit photos from their own memorable driving experiences, using the hashtag #WaldorfExperiences, for a chance to win a free stay at a Waldorf property.
A few weeks ago I wrote about some other big hospitality brands rolling out social rewards programs. 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.
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 Marriott stay on Instagram, among others.
Last but not least, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has created a 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.