Big Brand Theory: Hilton Hotels and Resorts
In 1919, 32-year-old year old Conrad Hilton drove to Cisco, Texas with the intention of buying a bank. When that deal fell through, he bought the Mobley Hotel instead - the first of many hotel acquisitions to come. In 1943, his company became the first coast-to-coast hotel chain in the United States. Today, Hilton Worldwide is a global hospitality brand with several brands and is owned by the Blackstone Group. The flagship brand alone, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, includes over 550 properties in 80 countries. As a chain, the various properties are owned, franchised, or managed by independent operators.
Franchises and chains pose unique challenges for marketing and customer care alike, and thus for social media community managers. Even with centralized reservation and CRM systems, social media inevitably becomes a major component of customer care. While an individual customer care or community manager can help broker a resolution for a customer, they are limited in what they can do - they can't just call over to the floor managers and say, "hop to!"
Hilton Hotels has faced this challenge in a similar way to other brands: with a main corporate presence and a separate customer care account on Twitter that quickly takes issues offline. Where the brand has created a success story - something that goes beyond the quotidian - is with their social media version of a concierge service, @hiltonsuggests.