Concorde Hotels & Resorts, Paris, launched a new digital strategy in July, and has seen a substantial increase in its social media followers since then.
Concorde, a brand within the French hotel company Groupe du Louvre, harmonized all the Concorde pages on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter with the help of the Paris-based social media marketing agency Influence Digitale. It distributed social media guidelines and standard operating procedures manuals to each of its properties.
To see how the initiative was progressing, HOTELS talked to Françoise Houdebine, vice president of sales and marketing for Concorde. In addition to this interview on the web, HOTELS is examining how other hotel companies are engaging social media users in an article in the November issue of the print magazine.
HOTELS: How is the social media portion of Concorde’s digital strategy performing? Are you getting a good response from users?
Françoise Houdebine: We have had an increase in our number of Facebook fans at both corporate and individual hotel levels. At the end of September 2011, we had 21,901 fans in total (including Concorde brand & hotels pages). Our corporate Concorde Facebook page had 897 fans in January 2011 and by July when the digital strategy launched it had grown to 4,632. Since then it’s grown more rapidly — as of September 30th we had 9,608 fans. We have also enhanced our interactions with fans, resulting in an increase in fan messages, likes, and wall comments.
HOTELS: What type of content do you post/feature on your social media account pages?
Houdebine: There are three main content areas:
- Photos, as at the Concorde brand-level our albums have featured our hotels’ best terraces, best lobbies, best spas, best suites, etc. Hotel pages post a variety of albums featuring property photos.
- More and more videos, as now online videos have included an interview with Hotel Lutetia’s head concierge; chef recipes; exhibitions & live events at Concorde hotels, etc.
- A monthly contest to win a stay at a Concorde Hotel.
HOTELS: Who handles the actual posting of content on social media websites, Concorde staff or a third party company?
Houdebine: Each hotel’s social media manager and/or e-commerce managers, or a dedicated social media person from the marketing/PR departments. We are also working with an outside company (Influence Digital), which supports Concorde hotels on a monthly basis to assist in creating future content.
HOTELS: Are the individual property’s social media manager/e-commerce managers working only on social media or do they have other duties as well?
Houdebine: The social media/e-commerce manager’s role and responsibility is to focus on social media and on traffic building to Concorde-hotels.com. They are managing the different social media platforms and are working closely with the e-commerce department to optimize their search engine marketing campaigns, to optimize their web content and to enhance their global visibility.
HOTELS: What is the publishing rate of content per platform?
Houdebine: Frequency of publishing depends on hotels and group news. At the corporate level we publish three posts per week on Facebook. For Twitter, we monitor and reply. The next step will be to become more proactive. Each new video is also added to YouTube hotel and corporate channels.
HOTELS: What are the policies for interacting with a positive or negative customer post?
Houdebine: We do reply to customer posts as quickly as possible. We have recently noticed our customers using Facebook more and more as a tool to get information (such as location, phone number, individual bookings). Negative customer posts are very rare. Our fans that are also our customers do interact on our wall to share positive comments about staff (for example, the concierge team at the Hotel du Louvre) or about content.
HOTELS: What has the ROI been for your social media efforts?
Houdebine: ROI is mainly assessed in terms of communications, specifically by measuring the amount of social media interactions and referrer site for Concorde hotels’ websites. As of September 2011, Facebook is among the top five referrer sites for most of our hotels’ websites.
HOTELS: Are there any plans to install a direct booking widget on your Facebook page?
Houdebine: We currently have a booking form that redirects Facebook users to Concorde booking engine. We are considering implementing a direct booking widget with viral/social features allowing people to share and organize their trips with friends.
HOTELS: How many bookings did the “Summer Private Sale” for Facebook fans only yield? Are there plans to have more sales promotions directed at social media followers in addition to the contests you already mentioned?
Houdebine: Yes, we do plan to offer exclusive packages first on Facebook before selling them on other distribution channels to reward our fans and encourage people to join the Concorde fans community. On top of this, Facebook private sales will be organized during different times throughout the year.
HOTELS: What are Concorde’s future plans for social media initiatives?
Houdebine: Future plans include further developing the content and interactions on Facebook, including the revamping of the contest and photos contribution games, becoming more pro-active on Twitter and increasing our presence on Foursquare.