Founded by the eponymous Conrad Hilton in 1919, Hilton Worldwide boasts over 4100 hotels in 91 countries, coming in at 38 in a Forbes ranking of private companies in the United States as of 2014. Hilton brands include the luxurious and the affordable alike, with properties ranging from Hampton Inns to Waldorf Astorias. For its part, Intercontinental is about 30 years Hilton’s junior, being founded in 1946 by Pan American Airways. The luxury chain operates over 4,600 in over 100 countries, and packs a punch with properties with rich histories like the Paris Le Grand and the Willard in DC.
Now that you feel like you need a vacation, let’s help you marketing professionals decide where to hang your hat on your next trip. Whose hotel content marketing is the most inviting?
Hotel content marketing: social strategy
Hilton: Hilton boasts visually attractive Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds. One smart move the company makes is to promote its growing Instagram audience on its more robust Facebook and Twitter channels. It also uses social media as a platform to express its beliefs: for instance, its stance against Prop 8. It’s been proven time and again that brands that promote a cause have a lot to gain in terms of consumer loyalty, or at least press. Well done, Hilton.
Intercontinental: Intercontinental deploys smart Twitter and Facebook hashtag campaigns like #ReelSummerContest, through which participants can win a lunch with a Hollywood actor for sharing their movie-worthy summer stories with IHG. After all, collecting UGC through contests is a great way to up the amount of content a brand has in its arsenal. On Instagram, the company boasts beautiful photos from all over the world. Many brands overlook a total Instagram visual strategy, thinking only about individual photos, giving IHG the edge.
By the Numbers:
Winner: Hilton, by sheer numbers and reach.
Hotel content marketing: website
Hilton: Hilton’s website is modern and easy to navigate. Its main image area features photos that include not luxurious rooms and specific, exotic Hilton locations, but most of which stress human relationships that could exist in most of its hotels: a couple kissing over a map, a family chasing an enormous beach ball. By being fairly location-agnostic, the main page appeals to as wide an audience as possible while also promoting deals.
Intercontinental: IHG’s site design is a little inconsistent in areas such as toolbar fonts, but has a great feature for searching hotels globally that taps into design formats that social media-savvy audiences are familiar with. The Explore Intercontinental page gives high-end travelers with large discretionary budgets the tools to get a Pinterest-style visual taste of properties around the world. The ‘About Us’ page is thoughtfully designed, with archival photos and footage as the centerpiece. Many luxury brands are grounded in their history and founders’ names, and Intercontinental makes up for their lack of last-name recognition by smartly delving into its historical ties to Pan Am.
Hotel content marketing: Twitter customer service
Hilton: On the customer service side, Hilton manages a Twitter account for client help that goes above and beyond, featuring not just responses to customers but also their photos. No doubt, when you’re an unhappy consumer the last thing you should be seeing is just a string of similar complaints on Twitter. The inclusion of photos gives the disgruntled something nice to look at while they gripe.
Intercontinental: IHG maintains a Twitter account that’s dedicated specifically to its Rewards Club. The account has 25.7k followers, with high engagement rates in terms of retweets and favorites. Not only is it reaching tons of consumers and altering them to specials and deals, it’s keeping them engaged with the Intercontinental brand as members of an inside club. Making your audience feel special on social? That’s a win.
Clearly, Hilton and Intercontinental both have hotel content marketing strategies that impress and engage. Both brands leave a digital doormat out that invites consumers to come for a stay — and companies across industries can take note of what they do to be so welcoming.