This is a guest post from Vanessa Sain-Dieguez.
It all started when we connected two observations about the behavior of Hilton Worldwide* guests both on-property and online:
- Every day, Hilton Worldwide guests ask the front desk or concierge in their hotels to give local recommendations for activities and sights to see.
- Every day, people all over Twitter ask questions about where to go, what to do and what to see when visiting a particular city.
In 2009, Hilton Worldwide used the insight gained from listening and the interests of their customers to launch a new Twitter account dedicated to offering the same standard of service available on property. While it used to be that staff could only offer advice and suggestions if guests were already standing in the lobby, Twitter offered the opportunity to engage with a whole new level of community members. Through Twitter, Hilton Worldwide could bring their mission to fruition by filling “the world with the light and warmth of hospitality” for anyone, anywhere, anytime. It was a perfect match and became the impetus for @HiltonSuggests.
While the idea is simple, executing it on a global level while maintaining local authenticity was a challenge. Hilton Worldwide knew they couldn’t tweet recommendations for what to do in London or Los Angeles from headquarters in McLean, VA. Those recommendations would be seen as inauthentic and possibly hurt the brand. Instead, Hilton Worldwide decided to give a voice to select employees in key markets and set out on a mission to build their very own Hilton Suggests team.
Not only do the team members enjoy sharing their love for their cities, the Hilton Suggests team has turned into an amazing growth opportunity for both the employees and the brand. For some members, the formation of the team meant learning Twitter for the first time, but through training they’ve learned the fundamentals of social media and how to engage on behalf of Hilton Worldwide. And while they’ve appreciated the opportunity to speak directly to guests, they’ve also gained additional job skills in social.
The team knew when they launched Hilton Suggests that it was fulfilling a need in a creative way and extending Hilton Worldwide hospitality, one tweet at a time. But it has still far exceeded what they thought it could do. Watching the team learn essential new skills and use them to facilitate “experiences worth sharing” has been a powerful journey to witness.
Vanessa Sain-Dieguez is Director of Social Media Planning & Integration at Hilton Worldwide and leads the company’s social strategy, working closely with the company’s ten brands, loyalty program, and various departments looking to have a social presence.
Shopping woman photo courtesy of BigStock.
*Hilton Worldwide is an Edelman client.