Social Loyalty and Loyalty Programs Part 1: Twitter Usage Among Hotel Loyalty Programs
As part of our Loyalty Data Services we are updating the usage of Social Media/Loyalty and Gamification efforts for the Loyalty Programs within the following market verticals
- Hotel Vertical
- Airline Vertical
- Financial Services Vertical
- Retail Market Vertical
For each of these market verticals we are assessing how loyalty programs ( we assess over 100+ loyalty programs in these verticals on an ongoing basis) are using and leveraging social media to advance the loyalty efforts of their brand(s).
We assess social loyalty efforts on a quantitative and qualitative basis. The first step is to evaluate the social media tools/programs which each loyalty program utilizes. For example:
- Usage of Facebook: How is Facebook integrated and used in the overall loyalty strategy/tactics
- Usage of Twitter: How is Twitter integrated and used
- Location Based Tools: How are location based tools (FourSquare, Facebook, etc.) integrated
- Gamification: How is “gaming” and Gamification utilized within the overall social loyalty strategy
Hotel Loyalty Programs Usage of Twitter
As part of our 1Q 20012 Data Refresh we are including here a sample of our Hotel Market Vertical Data which consists of 9 Domestic Hotel Loyalty Programs and their usage of Twitter within their social loyalty efforts. In order to measure each hotel and their use of Twitter in promoting their loyalty program efforts we reviewed all the “tweets” for each hotel brand during the month of January only.
Dynamic Dashboard: Hotel Loyalty Program Usage of Twitter
Within the Dynamic Dashboard that we have included below the user can click on the “drop down” boxes to select the loyalty programs they are interested in comparing. The relevant data for each loyalty program will then be pulled from our database and the dashboard will be populated.
Analysis and Findings:
Based upon a review of the Hotel Loyalty Programs and their usage of Twitter as a social loyalty tool our observations our as follows:
1. Roughly half of the programs in this small sample above have Twitter accounts “dedicated” to their loyalty program. That is the Twitter account is specifically targeted at Loyalty Program Members.
2. Use of the Twitter “channel” for most of the hotels in this sample is predominantly that of a “customer service” tool. This is interesting in that hotel loyalty programs have dedicated customer service numbers specifically for their loyalty program members. We feel that in the long run, once a hotel loyalty twitter account has sufficient followers (lets say hundreds of thousands or millions) that the use of a Twitter account for a customer service channel will be impossible to manage. Something to think about.
3. Less than half of the Twitter accounts in this sample above are “Verified” accounts. Something for those Hotel brands which don’t have verified accounts to think about. Most likely the Twitter accounts in this sample that are verified were in fact “verified” before Twitter “closed” their public verification process. There are ways to get accounts verified (i.e., spending money, having the right connections, or proving that your account is being spoofed, etc.). This is something to think about for those Hotel brands which don’t have verified accounts.
4. For the most part, the Hotel Brands in the sample we have provided do not appear to have developed any set of formal Twitter tactics or strategy. For example, for the most part, when the Twitter accounts in this sample “ask questions” of their followers they do not provide a “#hashtagline” for followers to respond with. Providing a #Hashtag for followers to respond with is a relatively simple way to manage responses from followers and to provide for future gaming opportunities (social gamification).
5. Again, for the most part, the Twitter accounts in this sample do not promote redemption via their Twitter accounts. Even more important, they don’t promote the type of social interaction and “social proof” that can be easily accomplished by having followers “tweet” about their recent Reward Redemptions. For example, a hotel brand could ask to followers to tweet “StarpointRewards” when they redeem a Room at a Starwood Property.
In summary, the hotel brands in this limited sample that we have provided here have not developed nor implemented a basic strategy for the use of the Twitter channel as a tool in promoting and enhacing their overall loyalty program efforts. Most likely they don’t view twitter as being a significant channel (size, demographics of customers, etc.) in terms of their overall loyalty program strategy.
However, a basic Twitter strategy could be developed and implemented at a relatively low cost simply by developing an overarching strategy regarding how Twitter is used.
We will be publishing more data on this blog in the next few weeks regarding Twitter and other vertical usage as well as usage of Facebook, Location Based Social Media and Gamification efforts.