We’re entering a new age in luxury hotel marketing. Top-tier hotels are now using Twitter for concierge services, social geo-locating platforms to unlock free gifts, Facebook for customer service and YouTube to showcase unique properties. They are finding new, large and responsive audiences across the social web. No doubt, luxury travel’s latest destination is online.
Yet who is leading the charge in this recent wave of innovative hotel social media strategies? What are their methods and how are they finding success? In our ongoing series “Luxury Hotels & Social Media,” Pursuitist is interviewing the top luxe hotel leaders (Four Seasons, The Peninsula, Waldorf Astoria and many more) to gain insight into the online strategies of the industry’s elite.
Today’s interview is with Laura Troy, Social Media Manager, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
Q. Why is Social Media important for your company?
A. The Ritz-Carlton cares deeply about how our guests interact with us even when they are not in our hotels, which is why we have paid special attention to the role of social media. Digital programs and social networks further support our efforts to stay with our guests and add value to their lives at home or when they are traveling. We also ensure our brand remains relevant to the consumer and that we reach them in the ways they have told us they would like to be reached.
The Ritz-Carlton continuously leverages efficiency and impact of marketing efforts through global planning and digital activations, with an end goal to create guests for life through thoughtful touch points along their continuous guest journey.
Our primary objectives are to deepen our connection to existing guests and cultivate the next generation of guests. Both of these serve higher-level objectives such as increasing customer loyalty and increasing word-of-mouth recommendations. These objectives are achieved through the systematic use of various strategies that range from engaging our guests on platforms they are already on, to being curators of the social experience by tailoring our content around their interests, and using our expertise to enhance their total experience.
Q. How many people manage your social media channels & what types of tools do you use?
A. We have a global team of Ritz-Carlton communications experts with social media expertise that work with a Social Media Manager at the brand level. The discipline falls under the Vice President of Global Public Relations, and the Chief Marketing Officer. We also partner with a social media agency in Boston, Pandemic Labs. They act as our strategic partners in the space and build our brand appropriate assets.
The Ritz-Carlton Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels operate on a hub and spoke model, with our brand’s assets at the core. The 77 hotels all run and launch assets that complement their unique characteristics. We don’t mandate that our hotels all activate these social channels, but rather pursue the ones that make sense for their property and the destination in which they are located. The brand assets represent our portfolio as a whole.
On networks such as Foursquare and Pinterest (on which we launch in March), we employ a single, brand presence to curate experiences, and stay with guests as they live, travel, experience and share with their friends.
Q. What has been the most effective content to engage users?
A. We believe in the old adage, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. We have consistently found that strong images which showcase the exciting destinations our hotels are located in are crucial to our social media engagement strategy. Virtually all our content incorporates high-quality, rich media that amplifies the expertise of our Ladies and Gentlemen, the core of all our social content and of who we are as an organization.
We have also seen much success and received much acclaim for the Foursquare World Concierge service The Ritz-Carlton extended the exclusive services of our concierge to a mobile public audience. Five new tips are populated every week by concierges from all 77 Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world, providing a knowledge-base that grows and evolves every week.
Q. What measurable results or successes have you seen due to Social Media?
A. Use of social media strategies has increased engagement with existing guests, which in turn has increased their likelihood to return and to share information about The Ritz-Carlton with their friends. Additionally, these social assets increase ability to be organically discovered. Presences on social networks effective expand the digital profile of Ritz-Carlton hotels and increase visibility in the digital world.