Commentary

Hotels Are In The 'Hood

Every hotel and hotel brand now realizes that an important goal is not only to be a base for exploring the destination in which they’re located, but to really be the guest’s guide to the area – in any way possible. The reasons are many: associating the property with the destination; creating a stronger relationship with the guest; and building up the destination so people will travel there and perhaps stay at the hotel.

A couple of hotel brands are deploying interesting ways of becoming local icons for travelers. Ritz-Carlton uses its Twitter handle to go local but with, as the brand’s social media manager Laura Troy puts it, “a global lens.” Rather than it being a top-down brand account, Ritz-Carlton’s Twitter account is rotated daily among its 87 hotels. Each of them gets a chance to promote what it wishes as long as it’s relevant to users, and Ritz-Carlton-appropriate. It might be a seasonal event in the destination, something new at the hotel, a food and wine festival, etc. Or they might promote a theme – like weddings, Of course, it’s flexible; a hotel with a lot going on might host more frequently and vice versa.

The approach has proven popular with Ritz-Carlton now boasting over 100,000 followers globally and powerful interaction between travelers and the brand on Twitter. It’s all about inspiring people to travel and to position Ritz-Carlton – and its individual locations – as being the experts in the place in which they are located. Of course, if there is major corporate news, the brand itself will host the account – but that does not happen often.

This works so well for the hotels that very few have their own Twitter accounts, but get what they need out of Ritz-Carlton’s. Troy says the point of that is to simplify communication by using a single channel.

It’s important to note that while this approach works for Ritz-Carlton on Twitter, the brand behaves differently in other social media. For instance, Instagram is totally user-generated while most hotels have their own Facebook pages – whatever fits the platform.

Meanwhile, Hyatt’s extended stay brand, Hyatt House, has teamed up with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to create new Neighborhood Guides at all 58 locations offering experiences personally recommended by the folks at Martha Stewart, which celebrates “local American makers.” The guides feature small businesses and best places to eat, shop and visit. All these businesses are close to the hotel, and usually accessible via free hotel shuttles. 

Building on that effort, Hyatt House celebrated National Good Neighbor Day on Sept. 28 with in-hotel events at some locations that offered a complimentary taste of the neighborhood.

It’s all part of a marketing campaign that features the hotel experience through he eyes of actual Hyatt House guests and with the tagline, “Make our neighborhood yours for a while.” 

Mr. Rogers would feel right at home.

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