The Big List Blog
Hilton Worldwide: Social Hospitality: Beyond the Front Desk — Live from BlogWell
2:11 — Vanessa: We have 10 brands to test and trial new and exciting endeavors. And we are working on extending hospitality beyond the front desk. Vanessa says when you think about the travel industry, travel used to be luxury — now it’s a huge burden. You want to stay in the comfort of home. How can we enhance the experience via social? Vanessa says the reality is our homes have outpaced our hotels. You see beds that are in hotels in homes now. The idea of going to a hotel to relax isn’t there.
2:12 — Vanessa: How can we enhance the experience via service instead of features? Our mission is to fill the world with the light of warmth hospitality. How can social help us do that? We’ve always innovated. We’ve had a lot of firsts within the industry. It’s becoming more about service.
2:13 — Vanessa shares a photo of a man named Joe. He’s a frequent traveler and he arrives at a hotel and has bad experience at restaurant. He’s super connected and he’s going to share his experience online. We have the opportunity to step in and do something about it. How do we address things being said on social media?
2:14 — Vanessa: 70% of companies are still not replying to customer complaints. All of our guests are online talking about our experience so we need a team to address the complaints.
2:15 — Vanessa says the reality is someone is tweeting and the organization is uncomfortable. We’ve spent a lot of time educating team that feedback coming in is the same, it’s just on different channels. We have dedicated social media team. It’s doubled in size in two years and is actively monitoring Facebook and Twitter for all brands. They are a 24/7 team.
2:16 — Vanessa shares an ideal scenario: Someone checks in, published to Twitter, and is complaining. He’s not tagging us. The team was able to pick up on it and address it. They called hotel and helped him within 20 minutes. The more social media evolves, the better opportunities we have to get to where we address situations like this.
2:17 — Hilton took it a step further by understanding what makes Hilton stand out – @hiltonsuggest. Hilton Suggest is proactive, asking for help before people want it.
2:18 — Vanessa says every day in social people are asking for travel help. We are hospitality folks, we can offer them an amazing experience.
2:19 — Vanessa: We started scouring Twitter and started offering advice. It’s about filling the role in hospitality. We are able to offer them help and give them warm and fuzzy feeling we have in our mission. Not only do we offer recommendations, we suggest an item for them to try.
2:20 — Vanessa: How are we doing this? We are 4,000 hotels worldwide. We have advocates around the world, we recruit and train and they tweet for us. They come from a variety of disciplines. If you’re thinking about moving forward with social plans, don’t get distracted by shiny things. There’s so much going on, it’s hard to stay ahead of the curve. We take it back to our mission and what’s going to make us have a better service.
2:21 — Vanessa says the sooner you get legal and HR on board the better. Get with your departments, sit down, have a discussion, and you’ll be surprised how receptive they can be. All of these programs required a lot of process and development.
2:22 — Vanessa: Not everyone has to be a marketing expert or PR person. Think through existing responsibilities and where social can fit in that. Defining success: A lot of times we get hung up on hard metrics. We need metrics and ROI but don’t lose sight of qualitative.
2:23 — Vanessa: Have fortitude. All programs started with an idea. When I brought this up, I was met with a lot of conversations. Don’t be afraid to start small and think big.
2:24 — Vanessa: We get really hung up on having the perfect solution when we could be doing things along the way.
Q & A
Q: — How do you align governance and social when answering social?
A: — Vanessa: The great thing about customer response program is it’s run by social media response team. I ask them how they would you handle it if someone called. We tried to integrate into process that already exists.
Q: — What tool are you using to do all listening?
A: — Vanessa: I can’t tell you but we are using a combination of tools
Q: — How big is the team of internal advocates and what is the length of training?
A: — Vanessa: HiltonSuggest is ~100 team members. Training is flexible and easy to finish.
Q: — Are the people tweeting the same that are responding?
A: — Vanessa: Yes. That’s all they’re doing. Searching for people asking questions and engaging with them.
Q: — Is there any way you go about quantifying the effect getting ahead of conversation is having? Like brand loyalty.
A: — Vanessa: We have a variety of KPIs. Qualitative information is coming back vs quantitative.
Q: — In the demo you showed @hiltonsuggest, Hilton online, and local. Does your organization support all those?
A: — Vanessa: Our customer service team manages our brand handle as the majority of traffic is coming to our brand handle. HiltonSuggest doesn’t get a lot of complaints. Local services manage their own. We empower hotels to take ownership of their own handles.
Q: — Typically customer care has a cost. How did you convince management this was important?
A: — Vanessa: It is within the call center. They know how to handle service. I can teach people how to tweet but I can’t teach them customer service.
Q: — You staff is making recommendations every day. To what extent are you concerned about public recommendations being challenged or connecting with a brand that may be tainted?
A: — Vanessa: Valid point. Legal/HR had concerns but reality is we hired these people and we believe in them. Why would we treat them different in social? We give them extra trianing but for most part, if you train employees and loosen leash, they’ll impress you.
Q: — Are employee advocates internal or external hires? How did you select them?
A: — Vanessa: Hilton Suggest team isn’t dedicated but are existing employees.
Q: — What are you doing in competitive set in social? Monitoring and treating rewards guests differently?
A: — Vanessa: You see who super fans are but we aren’t treating them differently. It’s a tricky spot as you have to treat everyone the same.
Q: — Are there people you don’t want to join the advocate program?
A: — Vanessa: No, not really. I will teach anyone how to tweet, and those I taught in the beginning, are our stars.
Q: — How many people do you have covering social? What are guidelines for response times for Twitter?
A: — Vanessa: I can’t share those items, but our customer service team has doubled and we try to be as aggressive as possible for response times.
Q: — You mentioned reviews and other channels, how do you delegate people handling longer form review on a TripAdvisor?
A: — Vanessa: We have very formalized teams in place. Reviews are huge for us and an area of top priority.
Q: — For HiltonSuggest, is there an application process?
A: — Vanessa: There is a formal application process.
Q: — How often do you change those people out?
A: — Vanessa: We don’t change people out often. They stay pretty eager but we do have turnover like any role.
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