Social Media Minus A Budget!

This from Hotels Mobile by Adam Kirby made me really sit up and take notice!

“Just because an individual hotel lacks a big budget for social media does not mean it cannot compete for followers and fans—even in a hyper-competitive market like Las Vegas. The marketing budget for Las Vegas Hilton is miniscule when compared to multi-property powerhouse rivals like MGM Mirage, Harrah’s Entertainment and Wynn Resorts. And despite being relatively late to the social media party, the hotel has picked up enough incremental business from Twitter and Facebook to convince once-skeptical executive management to fund a full-time social media coordinator position.

The Hilton’s first “tweet-up” last year drew 130 participants to the hotel—the vast majority of them as first-time guests. “It caught the attention of our executives—they said, ‘Wow, you did this with nothing?’” says Peter Arceo, executive director of casino marketing. “These have become loyal customers spending money at the bar, talking about the hotel. That was the buy-in [the executive team] needed to fund this.” Monthly tweet-ups keep growing in size.

In less than a year, @LasVegasHilton has accumulated more than 23,000 Twitter followers. While other properties in Vegas complement social media marketing with heavily promoted contests, viral videos and even digital Twitter billboards, the Hilton has no social media budget, so it instead focuses on building personal relationships with brand advocates that extend beyond the computer screen into real life. “We’re trying to build solid, loyal fans and followers—people who want to come here,” Arceo says.

A shoestring budget is no excuse for a hotel not to jump into social media, Arceo says. Very likely, an existing hotel employee would be willing or even eager to champion the property in the social media realm. “Nine times out of 10, I promise you there is someone on property—it could be a housekeeper, your greenskeeper, your valet—they could be your best voice for your property, and they might not even want to be compensated,” Arceo says. “They might just want to be known as the social media voice on your property.”

Why did it make me sit up and take notice?
– It shows that working with Facebook and Twitter can eventually bring you business.
– We’re a small lodge with no budget for things like social media.
– 23,000 followers on Twitter? And I thought we were doing well with 500+!
– I love the idea of “Tweet-Ups” and have a new goal to host the first one in Livingstone!
– I like the idea of one or two of the Chanters Girls being involved in our social media thing!

The picture?
Alice (centre) Acting Head Cook, Shupiwe (left) her number two, and Sandy (right) a trainee, having fun at Chanters Lodge in Livingstone.