BRAGGING about your holiday on social media might irritate a few friends back home… but it could also bag you a bunch of freebies.
These days hotels are so keen to get their faces on Instagram and Facebook that they are willing hand out perks for it.
In the last few years, as companies learn more about the value of social media, new reward schemes have cropped up for guests who share their pictures online.
Marriot – one of the biggest hotel groups in the world – was one of the first to reward customers who post on social media.
The group launched a points system called PointsPlus, where members could earn points for posting on Twitter, checking-in on Facebook and sharing a snap on Instagram.
The business even has its own social media control room, where staff scan Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for posts.
Guests could then be sent a surprise gift by the hotel during the stay on top of the 25 points they earned for each post, which can be exchanged for “experiences.”
Rich Toohey, vice president of Marriott Rewards told USA Today: “It was a cool opportunity for them to take advantage of and participate by doing what they’re already doing.”
Marriot isn’t the only hotel group offering perks for social media posts – Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants has also launched a scheme called Kimpton Karma Rewards.
There are four tiers of rewards – the first, free wifi, is given simply for signing up to the programme.
Guests move up the different tiers based on how much the engage with the hotel on social media, with perks including free in-room spa treatments, wine tours and free meals at the hotel restaurant.
Maggie Lang, senior director of guest marketing at Kimpton said: “Loyalty as a concept is not just about transactions, Karma is rewarding engagement.”
It makes sense for the hotels to start doing this – social media is a powerful tool that can result in millions of pounds in extra bookings.
By sharing photos online, guests are advertising the property to people who otherwise probably wouldn’t have heard about it.
But whether the posts become less effective if hotels are bribing guests to post them is yet to be seen.