Interesting story about the Las Vegas Hilton’s Twitter initiative, though the timing couldn’t be worse, coming on the heels of yesterday’s LV Sun article about the Hilton’s abysmal 4Q earnings. From hotelsmag.com:
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.
Here’s the Las Vegas Hilton Twitter stream. Seems like an awful lot of #hash #tags to me. Here’s a sample post:
Have you tried #Benihana? One of The Most Popular #LasVegas #Japanese #Restaurants around. http://bit.ly/2pAF0F
If Twitter is reaping such benefits for the hotel, that’s great, since this is likely the most challenging year the property’s ever faced, including the aftermath of the 1981 fire. Clearly, though, this isn’t enough to compensate for the bigger economic problems that are to blame for the Hilton’s poor performance over the last year.
I can see Twitter helping draw a few more FIT people in, but the Hilton will rise or fall based on its convention business.
Speaking of drawing incrementally more business, it’s worth saying that the September 2008 closing of Star Trek: The Experience has left a huge hole at the Hilton. With the new movie coming out last year, I can only imagine what kind of traffic it would be drawing right now.