What Hoteliers And Restauranteurs Can Learn From The “Ford Fiesta Movement”
By Tom Costello
Case in point.
"We decided to stay here in our family vacation. The second day, when we were out, somebody took a new shirt from our room. Nobody in the hotel wants to respond." This review was followed by a professional and courteous response and a call-to-action as provided by the hotel"s representative.
"Wonderful, inviting hotel with historic character! Great downtown location, near many sights. Super clean rooms and granite bathroom w/ soaking tub. The bed is so comfortable! Happy hour was gracious and the wine was good. The morning breakfast buffet was surprisingly extensive with many choices and plenty of hot, fresh coffee. Scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns,biscuits and gravy, hot oatmeal." This review was followed by nothing, zilch, nada.
If the hotel, in this case, doesn"t take the time to respond to a positive review then it"s safe to assume that it doesn"t have an "advocacy" strategy in place.
Why is this so important?
Well Ford Motor Company serves as a great example with what they achieved with their Ford Fiesta Movement campaign that should serve as a benchmark for hoteliers and restauranteurs on how to seize an opportunity to connect with customers who are their advocates, not enemies.
If you"re not familiar with the Ford Fiesta Movement campaign it involved selecting 100 socially active individuals who were provided with the European version of the Ford Fiesta 18 months prior to it being manufactured and released in the USA. These socially media aware fanatics were encouraged to share their experience with the Ford Fiesta over the 6 months on their Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube channels.
- 11 million social networking impressions
- 5 million engagements on social networks (people sharing and receiving)
- 11,000 videos posted
- 15,000 tweets, not including retweets
- 13,000 photos
- 50,000 hand raisers who have seen the product in person or on a video who said that they want to know more about it when it comes out and 97% of those don"t currently drive a Ford vehicle
- 38% awareness by Gen Y about the product, without spending a dollar on traditional advertising (Fords model "Fusion" doesn"t have that awareness after 2 years of being out in production and yet it has received hundreds of millions of dollars in traditional marketing spend)
So what can hoteliers and restauranteurs learn from the success of the Ford Fiesta Movement?
Target Your Influencers & Advocates - Contributors and creators are your next influencers and advocates. They say "I want to be a part of this", "I want to own this", and "I want to share this". Be on the lookout for these tippers, reach out to them, be transparent, and instill their trust in you. Provide them with a path to THEIR goal which often is not the same as YOUR goal.
Influencers - for the most part, require an incentive (and this doesn"t mean paying them to post favorable reviews about your hotel or restaurant). Some are exceptional at sharing a message but offer little in the way of engagement with their peers. Others generate little groundswell or buzz, but the peers they do touch take their advice.
Advocates - they talk about your hotel or restaurant (pay strict attention to them). McKinsey & Co. reports that 90% of advocates write something positive about their purchasing experience; 40% of consumers recommend brands according to Comscore; and a study by Forrester Research Inc. says that while only 14% of consumers trust online ads, 94% trust word of mouth, making it among the most influential, cost effective and high return forms of marketing.
Regardless, it"s important to note that you should have a "guideline" in place prior to reaching out to your influencers and advocates. Here is an example of Ford"s Rules of Engagement with Online Influencers.
Tracking Return On Interaction - Return on Interaction is the new Return On Investment. The difference is simple IF you can get your GM or owner to agree about the value of the return. With ROInvestment you put money in to get more money in return. With ROInteraction you put in interaction to get back more interaction which returns tenfold in trust, loyalty, and the development of advocates and influencers for your hotel. What"s most important for now is showing that your advocacy stratedy is an integral and effective part of your overall marketing strategy.
So do you have an advocacy strategy in place and if not, why not?