At my company, we’ve been running a Twitter chat for about five years. Every Wednesday at 11:30 AM Eastern, various hotel properties will have an online Twitter conversation leveraging #dolcehotels. When we started, it was new, innovative and we got significant buzz in the trade press for being unique. I started the chat because I wanted to make sure the marketing managers of each hotel tweeted in a constructive fashion and if we all joined at the same time we could retweet each other thereby amplifying the reach of each tweet.
Now, five years later, following the same agenda (sharing images, sharing open jobs and recognizing associate achievements, updating people on what’s new on property in terms of renovations or identifying what’s new in the local area, and of course we finish each meeting with special offers), the chat gets a little tedious and boring. Over the course of time, we’ve seen hotel participation decrease. We’ve tried to spice up the chat with special guests or having a property lead the chat versus the corporate office. Yet, we continued to see a gradual participation attrition.
Periscope May Save the Day?
Two weeks ago, I reached out to hotel marketing managers to download Periscope and play with it. The initial response I got from several of them was they couldn’t download the app since they didn’t have an iphone. While this is limiting at this juncture, I decided to push on with the experiment. I informed that team that we were going to use Periscope as a staple for the chat we were going to have in two weeks.
We first used Periscope on April 8, 2015 and the initial results were exciting but we found leveraging it for our discussion a little confusing. Thirty minutes before the chat, I pointed my phone at a white board as I wrote (you could hear the marker squeak with each letter) the time and location of our Twitter chat. When the chat was scheduled to start, I turned the phone on myself (i’m not really photogenic and my voice is not a rich baritone) and I just started to say what we would typically tweet. Via the broadcast video, I shared the agenda, I shared the Periscope experiment and I invited the other properties who felt comfortable with the technology to do the same.
Each property did something a little different. One property pointed the camera out their window and talked about the weather and the hotel grounds. Another marketing manager walked around their hotel lobby talking about the latest art installations. Yet another property marketing manager walked outside the hotel and silently showed the neighborhood. While I enjoyed the various contributions, they were somewhat disjointed. Moreover, the marketing managers broadcasted over each other so some people couldn’t really enjoy what the others were doing since they were simultaneously broadcasting.
Based on the results of the first chat with Periscope, I assigned time slots of two minutes to each participating property. I also created the below guidelines for broadcasting and posting:
- Show yourself first when you start to broadcast. Remember to smile! (You double tap the screen to flip it.)
- Silent video isn’t very effective or fun.
- Try to have a small agenda ready before you start to broadcast.
- If you are going to show something on property, be in the general location so you aren’t walking around.
- Make sure your Periscope id is linked to your property Twitter id
- Give your broadcast a fun name but use your hotel name as well as #dolcehotels at the end.
- For the first broadcast, introduce yourself. Introduce your property and cover job openings and special offers. Then show something unique and special about your property.
We’ll see next Wednesday, how effective the refined approach with Periscope will work.
If you are interested in observing our ongoing social media experiment, join us every Wednesday, 11:30 AM Eastern filtering Twitter for #dolcehotels.