It’s hard to believe 2014 is almost over! We’re into the winter season and all our favorite stores and venues are inundated with holiday swag and music, the air is filled with the aromas of holiday beverages, and we are all looking forward to a few short weeks at the end of November and December!
As the holiday season approaches, the hospitality industry is taking to social media with a variety of interesting themed campaigns. Last year, a video surrounding WestJet Airlines’ coordinating and executing a Night Before Christmas campaign was making the rounds throughout the web and was able to gain legs primarily through the viral nature of social media sharing.
The WestJet Christmas surprise literally gifted travelers with their Christmas wishes and there was much to be taken away from this initiative. They had hoped their video might amass 200,000. As of the end of the 2013 holiday season, it’d acquired 14 million views. And now, a year later, it’s at over 36 million.
We haven’t seen anything of WestJet caliber yet this year, but there are several others setting good examples, too. Here are some of the unique social media holiday marketing campaigns by brands in the hospitality industry.
Trump International Beach Resort in Miami just wrapped up their annual holiday recipe contest. Running from early October through early November, the Miami resort encouraged users to submit their own original holiday recipe in numerous categories for the chance to win the ultimate family vacation.
The categories included best appetizer, best entrée, best side dish, and best dessert. Trump Miami’s Executive Chef, Kurtis Jantz, and his team of culinary experts will select 12 category winners to be featured on the Trump International Beach Resort holiday brunch on December 25th, 2014. The grand prize winner will receive a five-night stay in an ocean-room suite along with breakfast, massage, tour, and more.
Now that’s a great prize! This genre of contest is effective as it appeals to users’ emotions. It asks them to submit a recipe of their own that is likely linked to family tradition or memories. Having multiple categories allows for multiple smaller winners which is also useful (if there’s only a single winner, people may be less inclined to enter since they don’t feel they have a huge chance of winning) and the grand prize is substantial and also family oriented.
Gaylord Hotels got started a couple months early as well. In October, they launched a #4TheLoveOfChristmas Holiday Getaway sweeps. Users were simply required to like the hotels’ social media pages and enter to win a trip that included round-trip airfare, room, and tickets to a holiday show.
Further investigation of the Gaylord Hotels Facebook page, which boasts over 60,000 fans, displays that the Marriott hotel chain planned far in advance for the holiday season. Going back several months, they’ve been sharing festive photos, holiday offers, countdowns to Christmas, and more. They had Christmas swag up even before Halloween and offered a behind-the-scenes look at two million pounds of ice arriving for their renowned holiday show back in early October.
The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY, hosts an annual celebration entitled “Christmas at the Galt House Hotel” which regularly features a Gingerbread House contest. Amateurs and professionals were encouraged to put their baking hats on, with $ 1,500 in cash prizes on the line. Again, there were different categories incentivizing various winners from kids to adults alike. Holiday-themed photos resonated on their page as far back as August.
The Galt House Hotel also integrates social media into their holiday festivities with details like a customized Christmas Pinterest board and authentic Christmas videos featuring Pam Tillis posted to their YouTube channel.
The year before, Visit Birmingham, the destination marketing organization for Birmingham UK, joined forces with over 15 partners to launch their ‘Open for Christmas’ integrated marketing campaign.
A dedicated microsite was created and is thriving again this year. Birmingham hotels enjoyed occupancy rates of over 80% throughout the festive season – peaking at 85% in mid-December – with revenues up by 11% compared to the same period the previous year.
A range of promotional offers and competitions helped grow the social media base by over 10% in just three months. A current review of the #ChristmasinBham hashtag on Twitter, produces an array of results highlighted good-spirited Birmingham visitors showcasing an array of fun winter experiences. This is an excellent example of the power of social media and how you can have your audience do your marketing for you with the right activation.
What other hotels have you noticed taking advantage of holiday campaigns on social media?