Hyatt unlocks branded social media hub to inspire undecided travelers

Hyatt is showcasing guests? photographs on a new social media site replete with experiential filters in a big bet on the power of user-generated content to drive discovery for travelers in search of their next destination. 

The site, which hinges entirely on user-generated content, is powered by marketing content engine Olapic, and currently showcases more than 89,000 social media photos. Consumers considering a vacation to a new locale can search the mobile-optimized hub with experiential filters ? such as "beach," "golf" and "family-friendly" ? to stumble upon previously unheard-of destinations, in turn driving more traffic to Hyatt?s properties.

?We want to build long-term relationships with our guests, and that means offering them digital and physical experiences that keep them coming back,? said Ellen Lee, senior vice president of global digital at Hyatt. ?If you don?t know where you want to go, but you do know you want sun and sand, the ?beach? filter showcases real guests? experiences in beach destinations around the world."

Tapping branded assets
Instead of relying on purely promotional material to entice more guests to stay at its hotels, Hyatt is leveraging the power and influence of social media to bring user-generated content to the forefront of its marketing tactics. Consumers may visit on their mobile devices or desktops to view the social photo hub.

The site boasts more than 89,000 Instagram images uploaded by guests staying at one of Hyatt?s 575 hotels around the world. Travelers can browse the site to seek inspiration for their next trip by using the experiential filters. Visitors can search images with terms such as ?golf,? ?beach? or ?wedding? to view the aggregated photos for each subject.

For instance, if an individual wants to book a golf-centric vacation but is not decided on a particular location, he or she can peruse other travelers? golf course photos and discover Hyatt properties in new destinations.

This could be the very push that an individual needs to book a stay at a Hyatt hotel in golf mecca Palm Springs, California, or even Hawaii. Similarly, if an event planner is tasked with booking a resort for a company-wide conference, he or she may opt to filter photos by the term ?meeting,? and catch a glimpse of where other companies have stayed and how the venues looked.

?Implementing experiential filters such as ?beach,? ?meetings,? or ?weddings? was key to effectively engaging and converting consumers, directly mirroring how Hyatt guests think about and book their travel,? said Pau Sabria, co-founder and CEO of Olapic. ?As social media platforms like Instagram continue to explode, we expect to see new content generated on a regular basis.?

The new hub also furthers Hyatt?s decision to move away from transactional digital offerings and toward experiential ones.

Last November, Hyatt Regency?s Hyatt Gold Passport brand teamed up with Comedy Central for new digitally driven content to augment the hotel chain's latest marketing campaign, which included custom, humorous advertisements on the network?s Snapchat Discover channel (see story).

Highlighting authentic content
Hyatt guests are encouraged to upload snapshots of their experiences via the #InaHyattWorld hashtag. Social media users may also upload photos directly onto the site.

Olapic recognizes that the demand for fresh content is growing, meaning that brands with large followings ? such as Hyatt ? must display authentic experiences in a bid to connect with mobile-savvy travelers.

The process of layering user-generated content into the purchase funnel will likely keep consumers on the buying path and also bolster customer engagement.

Olapic has worked with a slew of other brands on similar digital offerings.

Last year, home furnishings retailer West Elm was one of the first brands to tap Olapic?s new consumer-generated Facebook advertisements, which enable marketers to grab user photos from Instagram and other social networks in retargeting and display ads to bolster performance (see story).

?A fully functioning social hub is key to building any brand?s unique voice and identity,? Mr. Sabria said. ?With the rise of ad-blockers and increased backlash against techniques like retargeting, it?s more important than ever that brands engage directly with customers and provide authentic, interesting experience on the channels potential guests trust.

?More specifically, Olapic?s technology enables Hyatt to deliver more authentic content to audiences ? the potential guests who are eager to visualize an experience before it happens. One of the most valuable tools in contemporary marketing is to showcase authentic, relatable consumer experiences and Hyatt is leading this charge in the industry.?