- Meliá Hotels International, the hospitality chain whose properties include 380 hotels in 43 countries and whose social media presence includes more than 400 accounts managed across operation multiple organizational levels and regions, boosted its social media following 15% to more than 6.7 million people in the first half of 2018 with several strategies, per a case study that social media dashboard Hootsuite shared with Mobile Marketer. The overall goal was to centralize content management without hindering each group's communications with customers and followers.
- Recognizing that travel is a major source of user-generated content on social media, Meliá worked to capture images of its products and services taken by guests. The brand used that imagery in email marketing, digital advertising or as widgets on its website, along with a feature to let guests make reservations with a single click from user-created content.
- Meliá also collaborated with influencers to generate 1.7 million interactions among a potential audience of 74.7 million social media users in 2018, including 40 influencer marketing activations for its Me By Meliá luxury brand. The visual strategy leaned towards mobile-friendly and interactive content.
The Meliá Hotels case study underscores the challenges faced by multinational brands in efficiently executing a social media marketing strategy when there are numerous brand accounts managed independently across different locations. Because the chain has more than 400 social media accounts, including 165 social media profiles for individual properties, centralizing content management was a significant challenge. Meliá worked with HootSuite to develop a library of pre-approved content that a central team could distribute globally or locally while ensuring messaging and branding were consistent.
While the chain worked with influencers to raise its social media profile, Meliá CEO Gabriel Escarrer helped to humanize the brand with a higher-profile presence on Twitter and LinkedIn. He uses the platforms to engage with followers and to answer questions about travel and tourism in posts that show the #AskCEOMelia hashtag. Letting social media users have direct contact with a CEO can help boost consumer perceptions of brand authenticity, which is important in the hospitality industry amid competition from Airbnb. The home-sharing pioneer aims to differentiate itself from hotel chains by offering guests a unique experience that doesn't feel generic or fabricated.
As part of making the brand more authentic for customers, Meliá also urged its employees to act as brand ambassadors by engaging with people on social media. Employee advocacy drove more than 142 million impressions on social media in 2018, attributed to more than 61,000 posts shared by company ambassadors. The strategy helped to increase the number of applications the company received per job posting, per its case study. Hotel chain Hilton last year started using a similar strategy to make its properties more inviting to prospective guests. The company added a feature to its Hilton Honors mobile app to give the hotel chain's loyalty members access to employee suggestions of restaurants, attractions and neighborhoods to visit.
Tech-savvy young adults especially want experiences they can share on social media, a phenomenon that Hotels.com once described as "travel bragging." Hotel chains like Meliá are responding to that trend with a focus on social media. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants this year started expanding its interactive Room 301 experience based on a pilot program that included a hotel room transformed into an "Instagrammable space." Its Kimpton Stay Human Project consists of guest rooms in 20 cities designed around the idea of "staying human," with local themes and activities.