With Facebook and Twitter leading the world in online conversations, how can hotels connect with the one country who isn't utilizing the western social media space?
China not only has the world's largest Internet user base, it's home to the world's most affluent travelers.
Hotels inside the Starwood and Hilton brands, and the Asian-inspired Mandarin Oriental hotels, have rolled out programs in the US and Europe that cater to Chinese travelers, and many hotel brands have started unique advertising and promotions on China's social media networks.
In an effort to not only capture the Chinese market for travel, but to try and keep them for good, one of the biggest hotel chains in the industry is launching a career site on China's largest social networking platform.
Marriott International previously stated its commitment to opening one hotel a month in China through 2014, and now the hotel chain is allowing the currently open hotels to boast about their digs. The hotel group needs to hire around 30,000 employees in China, according to a press statement, and to attract new workers its letting the hotels do the recruiting - in a social way.
Marriott launched a "job seeker-focused presence" on the Chinese social networking site, Weibo through a video called "Our Hotel Rocks". The one-minute videos of Marriott's Mainland China hotels showcase why their particular location is a great place to work. Hotels from Shanghai, Sanya, and Beijing are just some of the 37 hotels that are vying for the "best place to work" title, and hoping to virtually recruit employees through Weibo. Voting commenced on July 1, but that doesn't mean the Marriott brand is far from the minds of China's social media demographic.
"Providing a vehicle for job seekers to engage with us directly is important to Marriott," said Jim Pilarski, Marriott International's Chief Human Resources Officer for the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. "We know that talented individuals consider many employers, and Weibo and other social networks are part of our commitment to offer direct dialog with talent who are interested in joining our family."
This is one of the first campaigns created directly for China's social media platforms, and one of the more progressive movements for recruiting via social media. While we can't predict which hotel will take home the coveted title of best place to work, we can predict this marketing move will showcase the opportunities available for China's workers at one of the fastest growing hotel brands in the region. After all, isn't that the purpose of social media -- to connect, network and create a new paths for your future?Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com