Over the last year, our goal with the Hotels.com Twitter handle was to enhance content strategy – stepping away from merchandising content and repositioning the output to focus on fostering engagement with our followers. To achieve this, our team developed content and activations that extended the @hotelsdotcom brand hospitality to Twitter while cementing its position as a travel industry expert.
Our tactics strengthened engagement with social influencers and loyal followers, cultivating a community of active, excited travelers. At the heart of our strategy was a focus on the follower and their best interests, regardless of customer status. We established a rapport with @hotelsdotcom followers by creating programs that both tapped into their areas of interest and worked alongside ongoing merchandising and reactive engagement tweets.
Pop-up social events like contests and challenges created a steady drumbeat of success for @Hotelsdotcom engagement this year. We hosted weekly retweet contests that offered our followers small-scale motivation to keep tweeting with us, while larger surprise and delight giveaways showed that we "have their back" on a broader scale. In addition to contests, we hosted monthly Twitter Chats with topical travel themes to give our followers a space to share timely travel tips and ideas.
Within the entry period, @Hotelsdotcom grew by 9,993 followers and generated 6,377 original tweets that garnered 43,437 retweets of original tweets, 15,566 replies of original tweets, 14,910 favorites of original tweets and 13,778 follower mentions for a total of 97,316 social engagements and 363,282,361 potential handle impressions.
In order to strengthen and expand the @hotelsdotcom Twitter presence, the team has created incentivized opportunities to reward and benefit the brand's Twitter followers and extend the brand's hospitality. Each tactic was carefully crafted to ensure that it aligned with the brand's "Obvious Choice" messaging and benefitted the customers individually and beyond the brand.
Below are some of our top programs:
1. Monthly Twitter Chats – Each month, we host a Twitter chat on the @hotelsdotcom handle with our general audience as well as travel industry influencers. The topics change every month based on relevant or seasonal trends, and include giveaways for the participants. Many of our chats have trended, and on average, a @Hotelsdotcom Twitter Chat generates a total of 20 million hashtag impressions, 5 million handle impressions, and over 1500 social engagements (RTs, replies and favorites).
2. #FilmItFriday and #TechieTravel – Each week, the @hotelsdotcom handle hosts a retweet to win contest. From January to September, the contest was #FilmItFriday, in which a random retweet-er was chosen as the winner and received a FlipCam video camera. As of mid-September, the contest has changed to #TechieTravel but follows the same premise. The team partnered with Logitech for this contest, in which a randomly-selected winner is given a travel-related Logitech accessory as a prize. The highest performing tweet in the entry period was a #FilmItFriday tweet from February 14, 2014 that garnered 920 RTs, 98 favorites, 139 replies, 18 direct replies, and 296,872 potential impressions. In addition to the retweet entries, these weekly contests generate a strong number of mentions and replies with positive, personal anecdotes from our community.
3. #SkiptheLine at SXSW – At SXSW in March 2014, we launched a hybrid campaign – one that was rooted in online and on-the-ground activations – for which participants at the festival would tweet at @hotelsdotcom using the #SkiptheLine hashtag to request line-waiters at various free events around Austin. A street team member held their spot for up to 30 minutes, giving the participants an opportunity to recharge. In total, there were 229 #SkiptheLine requests and 12,340,226 impressions on @hotelsdotcom's tweets surrounding the three-day promotion.
4. #TravelHaunts Contest and Twitter Chat – For the month of October, @hotelsdotcom held a retweet to win contest and corresponding Halloween and travel-themed Twitter chat. Each day for 13 days – playing on the superstitions around the number 13 – we tweeted a global Halloween fact and one random retweet-er was chosen as a winner of a $20 gift card. We also hosted a Twitter Chat towards the end of the month with the same hashtag that focused on spooky travel and haunted destinations. The chat lasted one hour and had 46,434,807 hashtag impressions 2,187 tweets, 958 replies to @hotelsdotcom tweets, 827 retweets of @hotelsdotcom tweets and 491 favorites of @hotelsdotcom tweets. The entire #travelhaunts campaign had 270,507,820 hashtag impressions.
5. The "Got Your Back" Program – This program came to life as a way to reward our audience for their loyalty, and to show that we're listening to them beyond the brand. Each month, we tweet a broad question or statement to start a conversation with our Twitter audience and to source participants. The questions are typically themed to a larger trend. For example, our inaugural push was around Father's Day. From the respondents, we select 3-4 winners and gifted them with prizes tailored to the conversations we had with them. The results were extremely favorable, as some of the more high-profile winners have continued tweeting about the brand in a positive way and all participants have become active engagers with the brand beyond contest content.
These tactics have collectively built a strong ongoing campaign framework for our work with Hotels.com on Twitter. Beyond impressive metrics, the corresponding anecdotal feedback we received from our followers has been overwhelmingly positive. We consistently receive praise from our loyal community, often times converting social followers into customers. Many of our Twitter Chats trend, and continue to garner responses following the close of the chats. We have also established unique partnerships with a variety of travel relevant brands, ranging from large companies like Logitech to individual hotel properties, extending our range of content, as well as our range of followers.