Last week we took a family vacation to Southern California and spent a couple of days at Disneyland. I noticed that the hotel where we had a reservation, the Hilton Anaheim had a Twitter account and was even advertising a special Twitter rate.
We changed our reservation and were able to save some money thanks to the great offer. In appreciation for the discount, I followed the hotel and tweeted that we would be arriving the next week.
Having been on Twitter awhile, I knew what was supposed to happen. I’d get a follow from the hotel and a response to my tweet. Perhaps even a note from the hotel at check-in. So I waited and waited, but nothing happened.
While at the hotel, I tried again. The accommodations were lovely and the hotel staff provided great service, so I wanted to let people know. But the same thing happened.
As you can see from their tweets, the Hilton Anaheim is using Twitter as a one way stream to send out updates and special offers. Obviously, it can be effective as witnessed by my stay. But of course, we know that Twitter can be so much more. As Twitter has grown in usage and become more mainstream, some best practices for brands have emerged. People want to be engaged and have relationships with brands. In a survey that Peter Sorgenfrei and I did of 208 Twitter users in May, 97% of respondents agreed that brands should engage their customers on Twitter. They certainly want to know about discounts and coupons (71%), but they want more – a relationship. There have been many other studies which have demonstrated this. This is why you see brands following the best practices of following, responding and engaging with their customers. That is how they get so much more out of Twitter. In the hospitality field, two hotels that do a fantastic job in this area are the Roger Smith Hotel in New York and Seattle’s Hotel Max. As a result of his customer engagement and relationships, Brian Simpson of the Roger Smith has been recognized as a leader in using social media in the hospitality industry. And not only does Jen at the Hotel Max send out offers and hotel news on Twitter, but she is very responsive to guests and is a vibrant member of Seattle’s Twitter community.
The glass is half full for the Hilton Anaheim, you can advertise your specials on Twitter or you can engage with guests to turn them into evangelists. Which one do you think the guests would choose?