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Hotel Chains Recognize Benefit of Guests' Social Media

Leading hotel chains are rewarding guests who use “braggies” to share their experiences on social media, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2014, in association with Euromonitor International, released at World Travel Market.
The "selfies" craze from 2013 has moved on this year, giving rise to the “braggie.” “Braggie” photos are taken by guests then uploaded to social media within 10 minutes of arriving at their recognized this trend last year, the report reveals. It found that the most photographed and shared subject matter for braggies were the view from the hotel window, the room’s bed and the surrounding landscape.
Leading hotel chains are now actively encouraging this trend by linking social media activity with their rewards scheme. Kimpton Hotels' Karma Rewards uses a proprietary formula to quantify a guest's social media interaction in terms of benefits, such as mini-bar credits or room upgrades.
Marriott trialed a PlusPoints program this summer, giving Marriott Rewards members points when they used designated hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, or liked a Marriott property on Facebook.
The WTM Global Trends Report 2014 reports that hotel chains could use this trend as a way of engaging with guests in markets such as "China, Brazil, Argentina and the Middle East where social media usage is growing very fast."
The report points out that in 2013 more images were uploaded every day to Facebook's recently acquired instant messaging service WhatsApp than to Facebook itself - 400 million compared to an average of 350 million.
Global hotel sales have been "boosted by a persistent recovery", the report claims, with 2013 marking the fourth year of consecutive growth of over 5% increase on the previous year.  2014 is expected to see further growth of 6.5%.
World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said; "Braggies are another example of how social media is now seen by many big travel brands as a mainstream activity while offering new and exciting ways to engage guests. It was only a matter of time before travel companies jumped on the trend of selfies to engage and encourage loyalty and repeat bookings amongst their customers.”
Euromonitor International, Head of Travel and Tourism, Caroline Bremner added: "These trends also create a new challenge for operators: customer reviews and spontaneous uploads mean service needs to be flawless in order to maintain a strong reputation."
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