Going Global With Hyatt: How the Hotel Chain Checks in With Social Brand Management

April 6, 2012

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has a consistent global brand presence with 112 Facebook pages.  As major worldwide consumer brands expand their marketing strategies to integrate a wider social presence, Hyatt hotels faces the complexities of social global brand management.

The company had to learn how to collaborate socially with each branch and centralize the company message while also ensuring a consistent brand and enabling the right local content and contributions.

During a Social Media Week session at Big Fuel Headquarters in New York on Feb. 14,  Ellen Hahn, vice president, brand communication and advertising, Hyatt, discussed the challenges and best practices for maintaining a global social presence that is locally relevant and engaging.

“Our goal is to inspire travelers to get the best out of their experience,” Hahn said. Hyatt has found success by reaching out to guests and consumers through Facebook. On June 30, 2011, the hotel chain had 290,899 fans, and by Dec. 31, 2011, it had 863,086 fans. It had to decide how many pages to have and who will manage the content on each.

The hotel chain also has several  Twitter handles for PR, customer service and social media purposes.

Corporate traditionally wants local properties to own their particular pages. However, corporate also distributes social media campaigns to each property. In addition, she said that the local general managers should be looking at other outlets each day to see what else is happening.

Making people happy

Communicators must also keep an engaged, passionate voice and respond to fans in a human way, she said.

“It’s an opportunity to make people happy,” Hahn said. She also said to post quick and engaging questions to consumers that get people involved and help them adjust to their properties (such as “What do you forget on a trip?”).

Hahn recommended using Social Media Suite for monitoring and Foursquare at a local level, and that there are a lot of  location-based services that are popular overseas for Hyatt.

She admitted that there are many challenges for communicators to continuously connect with consumers online.

“Social media is a lot to manage with just a few people,” she said. “Have data in place to figure out what you don’t want. We’re still struggling with globalizing our content and being able to localize it.”

Ultimately, she said, you have to decide where you want to be present, mentioning other social media platforms Pinterest and Google+.

Social media should positively impact the brand. “How do we give and get more and share more? How do we get people to share experiences?” she asked.

If someone is a fan of the hotel, then your goal is for them to say that they had a great time and recommend it to friends.

Hahn also said that when managing social media for a global brand, it’s important for everyone to “post back and forth and keep conversation open. Make sure you ask more questions. Err on the side of under-communication — and then over-communicate.”

Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.


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