Instead of simply earning rewards for booking a room, more hotels are offering rewards for guests who Instagram a picture of the hotel, or tweet about their stay.
Today, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants introduced its new rewards system, Kimpton Karma Rewards. The new loyalty program recognises guests for their behaviours — including mentioning a Kimpton hotel or restaurant on social media, reports USA Today.
Guests might not get points with Kimpton, but they will receive personalised perks like an in-room spa treatment or other amenities.
“Loyalty as a concept is not just about transactions,” said Maggie Lang, senior director of guest marketing at Kimpton told USA Today. “Karma is rewarding engagement.”
Kimpton is just one hotel and restaurant chain to acknowledge and reward its customers for what’s basically free public relations and marketing.
Marriott introduced a rewards program called PlusPoints, allowing members to earn points for “everyday social behaviours” — posting on Twitter, checking in on Facebook, or posting a picture on Instagram with a Marriott-specific hashtag.
It’s a clear reach to millennials, who are increasingly getting to the age where they have both disposable income and social influence. People are likely to be influenced by what their friends post on social media. If you post a gorgeous picture of your hotel room’s view of the sunset over the Chicago skyline, your friends will take note, and now your hotel will, too.
Hotels benefit from the marketing, which costs substantially less than a PR firm. And it’s easy enough for customers — in return for posting a picture and tagging it on Twitter or Instagram, they get pretty great rewards. Whether they recognise themselves as unofficial PR agents for the hotel they’re staying at is another story.