We recently stayed at a hotel property in Northern California and just by liking them on Facebook, we received a free bottle of Napa wine. Now, in case you think we did it just for the wine, we did enjoy our stay and it wasn’t any effort to like them on Facebook. Hotels and timeshare resorts are more than ever before using social media to connect with guests and to reward their loyalty with various perks and points when they use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition, it’s great advertising for the resort or hotel. Guests and members posting positive reviews and pictures they've taken at the resort, are often viewed as more authentic and believable than more traditional types of advertising.
Major Chains Embrace Social Media
Major hospitality chains are expanding their rewards programs beyond just the reserving of a room. Members and guests are now more likely to be rewarded for certain behaviors and actions. Many of these hotel groups have coordinating programs with their vacation ownership arms.
Starwood’s Preferred Guest Program and Caesars Entertainment's Total Rewards programs have come together in a strategic partnership. Members of both programs have the ability to both earn and redeem Starpoints and Total Rewards when staying at either of the chains’ resorts. Mark Vondrasek, Starwood’s SR VP of Distribution, Loyalty and Partnerships, explained that through the new partnership, "we can fuel our members’ passions by creating exclusive opportunities that allow guests to experience the best of Vegas and beyond, from world-class restaurants to famous shows, shopping and nightlife."
With Marriot Reward Plus Points, members can earn points by doing what they were probably already doing anyway. Rewards are earned by checking in on Facebook, uploading pictures to Instagram and tweeting about their resort stay. Extra points are added for following participating hotels’ Twitter and Instagram accounts or re-tweeting content form the Marriott Rewards Twitter account.
Social Loyalty Platforms
If a resort or hotel would rather, there are companies that can handle the setup and maintenance of the resort’s loyalty program. These companies include I.C.E. and Leisure Loyalty.
Timeshare Advisor advertises itself as one-stop website for the resort industry and timeshare developers and managers. It provides them the opportunity to showcase their properties to current and potential timeshare owners. On the Timeshare Advisor site, you'll find more than 5,000 worldwide timeshare resorts with pictures and reviews. Their Go and Tell points program, makes it easy for members to share their personal resort experience with their own reviews and pictures. Members receive points for participation which qualifies them for prizes.
The Loyalty Marketer's Association, Loyalty 360, sums it all up best with this quote, "As companies continue to strive for the ultimate customer relationship, loyalty marketing is continually evolving to include engagement marketing, customer relationship management, experiential marketing, voice of the customer, data analytics and more. No matter the industry or size of a company, a loyalty strategy should be a top priority."