InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has become the first hotel group in Australasia to use interactive social media platform Shuttlerock to engage with its customers.
Shuttlerock was successfully launched last week for IHG hotels Crowne Plaza Auckland and Holiday Inn Rotorua, and is due to be launched for Crowne Plaza Queenstown and Holiday Inn Auckland Airport next month (January 2015).
Already used by social media savvy superstar Lady Gaga, New Zealand-owned Kiwibank, Flybuys, one of the biggest loyalty brands in the Southern Hemisphere, and fast-growing tourism brand Jucy, IHG is the first hotel group to use the platform.
Shuttlerock enables businesses to interact with and share user-generated content. The Christchurch-based business has grown since starting in 2011 to have more than 100 clients across the globe, all using Shuttlerock to share customer pictures, videos and comments uploaded to social media.
Franck Hesse, Area Director of Sales and Marketing at IHG, said the group was “very excited” to be leading the way in customer engagement and social media innovation in Australasia.
“With 87% of online users reporting that social media recommendations impact hotel choice, it’s clear that social media influences the travel planning process,” he said.
“We believe Shuttlerock will help us to offer non self-promotional, engaging content that increases engagement with existing and potential customers.”
Through a wide range of rewards and incentives, IHG’s customers will be encouraged to share their material directly, while hashtags and keywords will direct relevant posts to the hotel’s channels.
It’s the electronic version of ‘word of mouth’, a powerful tool which has been recognised worldwide as the most valuable form of marketing as over 90% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
“Shuttlerock enables IHG to easily share customer stories about their experiences of a specific region, event or hotel on their own webpage or social media hub, and as it is user generated, it’s not biased or sales directed,” said Mr Hesse.
“Our ‘new’ content will expand our reach, because it’s directly created by customers, based on their experiences, about the region and hotel.”
Content is created by competitions requiring a customer to upload their photo directly or send via a dedicated email address. It will be collated through advertised hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr.
“We really do value our customer fan base and this way we can ‘talk’ to them, listen to them and offer rewards and initiatives that are relevant and timely,” said Mr Hesse.
“For IHG we can gain an insight into our customer base and ‘humanise’ the face of the company.”