Hotels.com Twitter character Captain Obvious is launching a campaign in response to the verification of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Twitter offered the fall drink a blue checkmark on its profile, a sign that the account’s authenticity has been verified (as well as a status symbol). Captain Obvious launched a campaign has been posting pictures of his legal signature, mailbox, and misspelled named on a Starbucks coffee in an attempt to prove he is a real person. While Captain Obvious is still not verified, he has attracted and been in conversations with other high-profile social media figures such as Cheetos’ Chester Cheetah and Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome. Users are encouraged to participate by tweeting reasons why Captain Obvious should be verified.
Even though Twitter usage has been predicted to decline, especially among young adults, adoption has been relatively high in the hotel category. Eighty-six percent of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury Hotels have a Twitter account, and popular brands have been able to amass a sizable following. Hilton Hotels, for example, has 209K followers. Many brands use the platform for customer service. Westin, for example, boasts the fastest tweet reply time. And Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis and Andaz were the only four brands to clock in an average rely time of less than two hours. The Index average was approximately 9.5 hours.
But using Twitter as an entertainment medium can also pay off. Kimpton, for example, used the platform to promote the launch of its loyalty program. In the summer of 2014, Kimpton launched the “Karma” loyalty program which focuses on enhancing the stay experience for loyalty members by providing them with benefits such as free WiFi, spa visits, and exclusive dining experiences. It also took personalization to a new level, asking members to fill out a questionnaire asking them about their hobbies and preferred pass times. The campaign kicked off with humorous YouTube videos asking Facebook and Twitter users to publicly give Kimpton their endorsement with the #kimptonkarma hashtag in exchange for perks. The innovative approach was featured as a Flash of Genius in L2’s Luxury Hotels Index.