Marketing executives at DoubleTree by Hilton use the brand’s tagline to drive guests to their social media platforms—and ultimately their hotels.
RALEIGH, North Carolina—Marketing executives at DoubleTree by Hilton are drawing from the brand’s heartfelt tagline—“Where the little things mean everything”—to drive campaigns and conversions on various social media platforms, said Diana Plazas, director of global brand marketing for DoubleTree.
“We know that everyday there are little things that our team members do on property with guests that really kind of make that difference, so we asked people not only to tell us what things will make their day better or their stay with us better, but also what little things they have seen team members do for them,” she said.
DoubleTree’s social media team encourages guests to highlight those efforts on Twitter with the hash tag “LittleThings,” for example.
And last year, they took the Little Things Project a step further by embarking on a cross-country tour to deliver some of these little things that people mentioned on social media. For example, Plazas said one guest really loved DoubleTree’s banana bread, so brand representatives delivered some in person to that guest’s place of employment.
The project generated 3.2 million media impressions via 2,511 placements in national and local media and wire distribution. It resulted in 16% growth in Facebook fans and 20% growth in Twitter followers, according to Plazas’ presentation at Expion’s Smart Social Business Summit.
That engaged following has translated into increased revenue for the brand, Plazas said.
“We know that people don’t want us pushing offers all the time, but they do want to know that if they are our fans that they can get those sneak peeks or special offer that might not be on every other channel just because they’re a part of our social media community,” she said. “So we do see revenue coming in from that and also on Twitter if we do things like flash sales.”
Keys to success
The Little Things Project was not the DoubleTree team’s first successful foray into social media. During a 10-week period last year, executives traveled more than 10,000 miles to 50 cities and delivered more than 250,000 of the brand’s much-loved cookies. This Cookie CAREavan Tour Campaign, which included prizes such as tins of cookies, Hilton Hhonors bonus points and other prizes, generated more than 2 billion media impressions through the chain's Facebook site.
Such efforts are earning accolades from the advertising and marketing community. The brand recently won an Adrian award for its Instagram summer travels campaign, for which the DoubleTree team asked users to share photos of their summer travels.
DoubleTree has a presence on a vast array of social media platforms—Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Foursquare—but Plazas said Instagram is showing the most growth.
“Instagram is (a platform) where we’ve seen a lot of success from an engagement perspective,” she said.
No matter the platform, Plazas suggested three things to keep top of mind when planning a social media strategy:
- don’t try to be a different business in social;
- be there: listen, respond, engage; and
- make it yours, make it personal.
Social media champions
During summer of 2011, the DoubleTree team launched a guest service assistance program, which monitors the brand’s social media streams 24/7. Since its launch, Plazas said DoubleTree has decreased negative sentiment by 12%.
Continued education is another big component of the brand’s social media strategy. Plazas said the brand works with Digital Royalty University, a company that specializes in developing customized curriculum for every level and position within a company, to help train social media champions.
There are 12 different training modules, platform updates and one-sheet tutorials that help keep employees proficient in social skills, she said.
Plazas added the biggest challenge, in terms of increasing engagement, is global growth—specifically from a language perspective.
“There’s huge potential in China, but how can we assure that we can respond accurately and that we understand what they’re going through?” she said.