Hilton taps Live Nation, Facebook to ramp up hotel stays
Hilton Worldwide is marking a new five-year partnership with Live Nation by offering Facebook users a daily opportunity to win prizes including a vacation, hotel stays and tickets to the Grammy Awards, proving that partnerships leveraging social media are key for driving brand awareness and sales.
The hospitality brand is aiming to promote a healthier mindset among consumers by inspiring them to appreciate new points of view and learn from travel moments, which is the message behind its “Hilton at Play” global campaign. The campaign is launching in conjunction with Hilton’s unveiling as the “Official Hotel Partner” of Live Nation, which will enable the brand to reach a wider audience of customers and offer members of its Hilton HHonors rewards program access to exclusive digital media, hotel concerts and ticket booking links.
“Music and travel make for a powerful combination, something our guests have experienced through our history,” said Mark Weinstein, global head of loyalty and partnerships at Hilton Worldwide.
“Nowhere is this more evident than our relationship with the Grammy Awards – from hosting the first awards at the Beverly Hilton to our 25-year relationship as the Grammy Awards official hotel partner.
“We are once again breaking the mold in how we connect with our customers – asking them to go travel, experience the world and play,” he said. “It all starts with our new Hilton @Play program.
“This program and campaign is designed to inspire travelers to break away from their daily lives, to seek out the unfamiliar, to appreciate a different point of view and to learn from everyday experiences and travel moments. With Live Nation, we hope to bring people closer together and encourage play.”
The “Days of Play” promotion, which began on Jan. 12 and runs through Jan. 31, invites Facebook users to visit Hilton’s page on the social media site or mobile application and comment on the daily post, featuring a travel-related question.
Each guest’s personal response counts as a free entry, which may culminate in a prize of a Hawaiian vacation, a weekend getaway at a Hilton property or tickets to the upcoming 57th annual Grammy Awards, among others.
Winners are chosen at random and notified the business day after the question has been posted.
“It is always our goal to connect with our customers in the easiest, most convenient methods for their busy lives,” Mr. Weinstein said. “For many of our guests, social media and mobile methods are popular… especially when they are on the road.
“Ultimately, it’s about empowering our travelers with the information they want, when they need it…in whatever format is most useful, which does often include traditional customer communications such as email.”
Live Nation will be anchoring the campaign and helping extend the message to a greater amount of potential clients that may select to stay at one of Hilton’s 4,250 hotels worldwide in the future.
Hilton is also receiving access to exclusive content from concerts held at its hotels, a digital media plan on Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s Web sites and “Where to Stay” booking functions integrated onto their venue pages around the world.
Sharing locations and platforms
Both brands are organizing play dates with artists at Hilton locations worldwide to celebrate the partnership and drive more hotel stays with fans, with the first event occurring on Feb. 23 with Grammy-nominated band Paramore at the Conrad New York hotel.
“While every customer has his or her preferences when it comes to communication, we have found that our music fans go for mobile,” said Russell Wallach, president of Live Nation media and sponsorship. “Eighty-four percent of concert attendees have smartphones and more owners use their smartphones to search for information on live events and buy live event tickets than ever.
“The mobile Web is still used more often than apps for these activities, although the percentage who use both is growing. Mobile is of course great at the show, as they’re able to share their moments in real-time with other fans who could not attend and make memories that last a lifetime.
“They also communicate across social media, which is a great opportunity to amplify the memorable content we produce,” he said.
Members of the Hilton HHonors loyalty program will also be encouraged to redeem their rewards points and bid on exclusive experiences such as meet and greets and sound checks with popular musicians. Hilton hopes that the partnership will result in more individuals taking well-earned vacation days and will also inspire the world to stop and enjoy the music.
Live Nation and Hilton Worldwide’s shared missions will likely result in increased sales, as well as augmented awareness for both brands.
Hilton has also recently been bolstering its mobile strategy by creating mobile keys that allow users to bypass the check-in desk at the hotel lobby and unlock their rooms with their smartphone (see story).
The feature is enabled via a Bluetooth connection, and is expected to be a foremost marketing tactic for many major hotel brands in 2015, including Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International.
“We are always looking for ways to make travel convenient and seamless for our customers – especially members of our award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton HHonors,” Mr. Weinstein said. “In July, we enabled our HHonors check in via their HHonors profile on desktop, mobile or tablet and choose the exact location of their room – right down to the room number – the first global hospitality company to offer this capability all across the world.
“The next step is mobile-enabled room key. Mobile-enabled room key will allow travelers to check-in, choose their room and access their room upon arrival entirely via the HHonors app on their smartphone,” he said.
“It will available in late spring, at the U.S. properties of Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton.”
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York