By Nick Vivion and WAKEUP CALL
Hotels are eager to garner organic social media attention from guests, as this is one of the most valid means of social proof across networks. Rather than pay for access, these social shares are direct influencers of guests’ friends, family and contacts.
Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants is getting in on the social sharing game by offering points to guests who share photos. To incentivize this sort of organic sharing, the brand is offering points via a new program called Kimpton Karma Rewards.
This program replaces the previous “InTouch” setup, and will include the social sharing benefits. The tiers are laid out here, with the first tier offering free WiFi – and that’s simply for signing up to the program.
In addition to the social sharing rewards, the program will also reward guests for various activities like joining a property wine tour and dining at an on-property restaurant.
Boutique hotels have thrived within a particularly connected demographic simply by providing organic experiences worthy of sharing. By designing spaces in an unusual way, by considering how the space photographs, and by generally infusing social-ness in every aspect of the hotel, these highly shareable brands have enjoyed this sort of sharing for years.
Muddying the waters by tying points to the experience seems to be a departure from just building spaces people want to share on their own. By commercializing the sharing, the risk is dilution of the word-of-mouth and trust impact of social networks – which would further diminish future efforts from these brands to leverage these networks for marketing. A risk worth noting, as not everything needs to be incentivized – especially if the natural incentive can be created by focusing religiously on the brand experience.
Marriott has also created a new means of earning points, PointsPlus, which rewards social behaviors with points. That brand is also offering new means of live reward redemption with FlashPerks, a real-time redemption platform for special experiences.