In today’s digital era, mobile has revolutionized travel, shifting consumers’ behaviour and expectations. Social media is currently one of the trendiest and most effective ways of promoting a business online, allowing brands and customers to communicate directly and build strong, trusting relationships.
Meliá Hotels International is a perfect example of a hotel brand that actively engages with and utilizes social media, successfully promoting their 370 properties around the world. With more than 6.5 million fans across their online profiles, they have been able to truly understand their audience and create a social media culture that drives growth.
According to a recent study by Nielsen, earned media continues to be the most trusted ad format, ahead of owned or paid media. It is therefore not surprising that Meliá Hotels has introduced user generated content (UGC) into their marketing strategy. By giving added focus to this approach, the brand has increased the number of people who are coming from social media to their transactional website, today accounting for 16% of their traffic in Europe. However, UGC is not only limited to their social media strategy, it is also featured in their email campaigns, digital advertising and their website.
User generated content on the Meliá Hotels International website
With the aim of being more approachable, getting closer to and interacting with their audience, they created the initiative #AskCEOMeliá. Using this hashtag, customers can ask Gabriel Escarrer, Meliá’s CEO, whatever they want. The questions are then answered once per month via videos, where he interacts with team members. It’s a textbook example of an innovative way of communicating with guests to differentiate your brand from others.
Twitter account of Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Meliá Hotels International
In an effort to create a more transparent and credible image, Meliá employees have become social media ambassadors, turning out to be some of the brand’s biggest advocates online. By sharing Meliá’s content through their own personal profiles, they have been able to create an impressive 58 million impressions.
Meliá’s Sol House brand has been one of the pioneers in the integration of social networks within the customer experience, in line with the digitally savvy profile of their guests. During a recent stay at Sol House Costa del Sol, one of my colleagues experienced the phenomenon first-hand. What stood out for her was the friendliness and openness of all the staff throughout the hotel. And so it seemed totally natural when one of the barmen suggested to take a selfie with her and her friends before asking permission to post the photo on social media. The post was liked and shared extensively and also generated spontaneous positive comments from the rest of the guests in her group about just how incredible the service at the hotel had been. Powerful UGC.
Influencer marketing is another important part of the brand’s social strategy. As Santiago Garcia, Global Director of Social Media at Meliá Hotels International, shared in a recent webinar hosted by Hootsuite entitled “Future of Social”, they are overwhelmed by the amount of influencer requests they receive on a daily basis. As a result, they have switched to a system-based approach, driven by Traackr, to streamline the process of influencer sourcing and validation. By analysing the influencer’s audience and outreach as well as other factors, they are quickly able to identify the most appropriate partners to communicate the values of each hotel brand. Thanks to integrated reporting, the team can see the coverage and engagement each new influencer campaign generates as well as the content that works best on each social network.
Spanish influencer Dulceida promoting ME Mallorca on Instagram
The secret of Meliá’s success relies on the creation of a social media culture where absolutely everybody is part of it. Thanks to this forward-thinking strategy, they are ranked in the top 10 companies in Spain with the most social media influence.