As one of more than 200 hotels in New York City, competition is fierce for winning the business of the nearly 50 million visitors annually, many of whom travel during the busy spring and summer seasons. While The New Yorker (www.newyorkerhotel.com) runs traditional advertising campaigns and relies on business from travel review sites like TripAdvisor, the marketing team saw an opportunity to tap the millions of people using social media. Travelers use social media to share information on their travel plans and to get recommendations from friends and family about places to stay. The New Yorker had a strong number of fans and followers on its Twitter and Facebook, but it was not necessarily converting them into customers.
Mining for fresh prospects viasocial media
The New Yorker’s Twitter strategy changed dramatically in 2013 when it began a location-based marketing approach using HipLogiq’s (www.hiplogiq.com) SocialCompass. After signing up for the social marketing application, the team immediately set up keywords and began listening for conversations on Twitter.
The keyword phrases, 15 in all, included “go to New York City,” “where to stay in New York,” and “a hotel in NYC.” Conversations that mentioned these keywords appeared in real-time on the SocialCompass software dashboard and management chose which conversations to respond to with a special offer for 20 percent off an entire stay.
When people clicked on the link in the tweet, it took them to an offer landing page (offer.newyorkerhotel.com) which featured The New Yorker logo, more information about the hotel, and details on why people should consider a stay. Visitors would fill in their first names, last names and email addresses to get the offer and then several days later they received a “refer a friend” email. This email led to a corresponding landing page (referral.newyorkerhotel.com) where they were prompted to provide an email address for the hotel to send a friend the 20 percent discount offer. If the friend downloaded the deal, the friend also received a voucher for complimentary drinks in the hotel bar.
SocialCompass allowed The New Yorker to monitor Twitter conversations, respond to tweets and create two landing pages all within the SocialCompass software. This was initially managed by a HipLogiq account representative.
From conversation to conversion
The campaign ran from April 11, 2013 through August 31, 2013 and responded to 843 relevant conversations relating to the selected keywords. The campaign brought 337 prospects that resulted in a 40 percent conversion rate. The “refer a friend” campaign resulted in a six percent conversion rate. While not all prospects became customers, The New Yorker reached hundreds of potential new highly-qualified customers that wouldn’t have previously been reached.
During this same timeframe, The New Yorker also created an eBook on “The Top Ten Things to do in New York City” (www.ebook.newyorkerhotel.com) as an additional way to target users who expressed an interest in traveling to New York City and to spike interest in the hotel. The eBook had 163 downloads resulting in a 13 percent conversion rate. Once someone downloaded the eBook, they were sent the offer for 20 percent off an entire stay.
Since the success of this Twitter-based marketing, The New Yorker is transitioning to HipLogiq’s white label solution which will allow the hotel to conduct campaigns itself.
By engaging with people who expressed an interest in traveling to New York, Social Compass provided the tools to raise visibility and reach hundreds of potential guests The New Yorker was missing out on before. It also provided an extremely high return on investment with double digit conversion rates unlike other types of previous marketing efforts.
John Yazbeck is the director of sales and marketing for the historic, four-star The New Yorker Hotel.