Who’s winning the social media engagement game
Who’s winning the social media engagement game
18 MARCH 2016 7:13 AM

What hotel brand engages the most with its guests? A recent report gives some insight on engagement, impact and responsiveness. Let’s dissect.

When you have five hours to kill at the San Francisco International Airport, you start to ponder unthinkable things. Like hey, maybe I’ll finally buy that book on meditation and learn it while I sit here.

Yeah right. No sense of relaxation at that airport.

What I did find myself doing is hopping back and forth between my three most frequently used apps on my smartphone: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

After the fourth time I opened my Instagram app, I saw an advertisement for Hilton Hotels. And that wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a hotel company marketing itself on the image-sharing network. As I sat at the airport eating one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life (shout out to Union Street Gastropub), I started contemplating the state of social media marketing overall as it relates to hotels.

Quick refresher: I spend a large portion of my daily duties managing Hotel News Now’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, in addition to Instagram and LinkedIn (although those two on a more irregular basis).

As you can suspect, I’m always watching what hotel marketers are doing on the channels. But I’m always taken by surprise when a social media ranking study lands on my desk (OK, in my inbox. No one delivers paper reports anymore.).

Take for instance Engagement Labs’ latest news release divulging the top United States’ hotels on social media (and through word-of-mouth conversations, but for today, we’re just going to focus on the social media side). Here are the Top 10 hotels:

Let’s talk about these results.

Before we dive in, here are the three eValue (Engagement Lab’s proprietary data technology) subcategories: engagement, impact and responsiveness. The scores are measured on a 0 to 100 scale.

It makes sense that the more “luxury-focused” brands such as Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont Hotels and Ritz-Carlton sit at the top on Facebook and Twitter. The success of the hotel industry on social media relies heavily on the guest experience, which is something that your 4- and 5-star properties have a laser focus on.

But when we look at the different subcategories, the winners seem to shift. For example, Waldorf Astoria ranks top on Facebook with its overall eValue score for engagement. However, Hilton Hotels takes the top spot for impact, and Days Inn takes first place for responsiveness.

The top three hotels in responsiveness overall also had the highest response rate percent average:

  • Days Inn=60.53%
  • Microtel Inn=54.5%
  • Choice Hotels=62.74%

When you look at where Hilton and Days Inn sit in the top 10 in terms of overall eValue score, Hilton claims the No. 4 position and Days Inn doesn’t even break the top 10.

See what I mean by surprise?

Then I got to thinking as to why Days Inn would be first in responsiveness, and I came to the conclusion that the economy guests probably have more immediate needs. Often, they’re road tripping and quickly need to know the answers to a question. Or perhaps Days Inn has the most complaints? I can’t be certain, but either way, it’s great that they’re on top of it!

On Twitter, Ritz-Carlton notched first place with the highest eValue score and also the highest impact score of the top 10 U.S. hotels in the Twitter category. Rounding out second and third place for the highest eValue scores were Marriott Hotels and Hilton Hotels, respectively.

Highest engagement was generated by Radisson; highest impact goes to Hard Rock; and Fairmont Hotels scored the highest responsiveness. Why did these three win? Radisson posted numerous user-generated images showcasing amenities at various locations, earning it high engagement rates, according to the report. Fairmont Hotels took the time to respond to follower tweets, positive or negative, with a thoughtful response addressing the question or concern. There was no color provided as to why Hard Rock earned a top spot in impact.

It didn’t surprise me that Radisson took the top spot for engagement because it shared user-generated content. Of course travelers are going to engage with a brand that shares images and praises. I’ll use myself as an example. When I honeymooned in Jamaica, I got all excited because the hotel favorited my tweet of the pool at night. It made me want to engage with the hotel even more during my stay.

Circling back to my earlier story about Hilton Hotels taking over my Instagram feed, the hotel brand notched first place in overall eValue score and engagement on Instagram. Rounding out second and third place for overall eValue score were Waldorf Astoria and Ritz-Carlton, respectively. When it came to impact and responsiveness, none of the top three claimed the No. 1 spot. For impact, Four Seasons took the cake. For responsiveness, Renaissance Hotels won best in show.

It’s also important to mention that Waldorf Astoria and Hilton Hotels tied for the highest engagement, with Waldorf Astoria boasting the highest likes per 1,000 fans. Why did Hilton have such great engagement? User-generated content!

Once again, sharing user-generated content to showcase beautiful views from various locations helped Hilton Hotels claim the No. 1 spot for engagement. The brand also did a great job attaching itself to popular hashtags such as #travel and #travelgram.

The highest impact score went to Four Seasons, while Renaissance Hotels scored the highest responsiveness with a score of 92 out of 100. Wow, that’s pretty impressive.

I could go on for hours talking about these social media rankings. And every single report that comes through my inbox is always different. That’s what makes my job (and hotel marketers’ jobs) so interesting. One day you can be the top dog on social media and the next, you’re not. The importance of it all is to always remember to respect your audience and let them know you’re listening. Let them know you care about their stay at your hotel because I guarantee they will become loyal guests.

I know it’s not always easy to allocate the resources to managing social media 24/7, but it MUST be a priority if you want to win over the next generation. Members of Generation Z do everything on their phones. With some millennials, you can get away with not trying to reach us on social media because some of us feel “meh” about it all. Especially since our parents took over Facebook. But you cannot be absent with the generation after us, especially because they’re going to be even more frugal than us.

Do any of these results surprise you? Let me know in the comments below.

Email Samantha Worgull or find her on Twitter.

The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.

1 Comment

  • Charlotte March 22, 2016 4:55 AM Reply

    These results don't surprise me however what wasn't mentioned was that a lot of hotels are using social media to deliver services such the concierge department, i.e. recommending restaurants online based on personal experiences helps drive customer engagement which is a smart way to increase number of tweets and awareness!! Please comment

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