Meeting planners can benefit from the ever-growing hotel social media platforms. The latest trend: social media rewards programs.
Several hotel companies launched social media rewards programs in 2014, offering hotel guests points every time they pin, post, snap, tweet, like, check in—or whatever other social media function they can use to promote the hotel. The points can then be redeemed for hotel stays, room upgrades or even flights.
Starwood’s launched its SPG program, offering Starpoints for enrolled travelers who link Facebook or Foursquare pages with their Starwood accounts and then post check-ins to Starwood properties. Marriott’s PlusPoints rewards program is similar and even has a helpful chart that tells how many points each post is worth. Kimpton’s Karma rewards program also encourages Facebooking and tweeting, and program members automatically get complimentary Wi-Fi and a $10 minibar credit during each stay.
AMResorts’ Secrets Resorts & Spas brand is the latest to join the social media-rewards bandwagon. The hotel brand encourages guests to join the Secrets Society and complete social media “missions” to earn prizes. Prevue speaks with Colette Baruth, vice president of sales and marketing for AMResorts, about the program and how it can help meeting planners build an online presence for their next Secrets event.
Q: Will you describe exactly how the program works?
Baruth: Secrets Resorts & Spas wants to directly connect with passionate fans—guests, meeting planners, travel agents, etc.—and the Secrets Society platform helps encourage online conversation to meet this goal. Dedicated fans are invited to create a login or to link their social networks to the Secrets Society platform, and then they are sent social media missions to earn virtual currency for prize redemption.
Q: What “missions” are involved and what points or prizes can members earn?
The idea of the Secrets Society missions is to reward people for things they were already doing and amplify that further. Offered across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Trip Advisor, sample tasks include proactive posts about Secrets Resorts; status updates that reflect brand advocacy or raise awareness of sales promotions; sharing information about vacation bookings; photo uploads; repining recipes; and posting a review after completing a stay. By completing missions, Secrets Society members can then redeem their earned points for prizes ranging from branded apparel and spa treatments to vacations.
Q: How can the social media society work for meeting planners or groups?
Secrets Society is a great tool to create excitement with groups pre-, during and post-trip. Prior to travel, meeting planners can work directly with AMResorts and Secrets Resorts & Spas to create custom missions and co-branded rewards, and then, using dedicated hashtags to help track participation, leverage the missions to engage with attendees and offer a truly unique, interactive experience.