How Hotels and Restaurants Can Benefit from Social Media Events

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Social Media events are a great way for hotels and restaurants to gain exposure. Though offering up freebies to a large audience could initially feel like a loss rather than a gain, the potential ROI of doing so in this context is uniquely unprecedented.

It may seem counter-productive to invite locals into your hotel, as hotel business relies on over-night visitors and, obviously, people who live in the city where the hotel resides aren’t going to be staying over there.  But many hotels also require business in other fashions, like renting out their meeting and conference space, and drawing customers to their restaurants and bars.

I’m part of a local group called ConnectOC. ConnectOC is comprised a handful of businesspeople that initially met through social media that came together to bring our local community together.  A local Hilton hosted our two event complimentary, and we were also able to get numerous donations from businesses for goodie bags and silent auctions, which allowed us to raise thousands of dollars for local charities.  The majority of the people who came to the first ConnectOC event had never previously set foot inside the Hilton, because they never had to. But, because of the event, they now can visualize the hotel’s gorgeous restaurant. They’ve now tasted the food.

When considering where to dine in the future, the restaurant is going to stand out in numerous ways: in terms of ambiance, taste of food and generosity in donating so much to promote people coming together for a worthy cause. Many people tweeted about returning to the Hilton at later times to dine.

The event also familiarized people with abundant amount of meeting space the hotel has available, and several parties ended up booking future meetings.  Prior to actually going to the hotel and actualizing all of its amenities outside of the guestrooms, these businesspeople hadn’t really thought about it being perfectly suited for their future business needs.

The fascinating thing about this particular kind of event is that it was promoted and leveraged entirely through social media. ConnectOC doesn’t even have a website; their main form of contact is their Facebook page, as well as their Twitter and LinkedIn portals.

While the events did receive great local media coverage, those articles were circulated on the web via social media. The audience they reached is numerous and broad, and its members were subsequently able to both meet new people and expand their networks, all while helping worthy causes.

And because Hilton supplied the venue, they were able to reap a ton of benefits from this intimate, expansive introduction.

Has your hotel or restaurant experimented with sponsoring social media events yet?  Were you able to reap long-term benefits?

Debbie Miller
Debbie Miller contributes a monthly column on Social Media for the Hospitality Industry. Debbie is the President of Social Hospitality where she provides clients with writing, editing, and social media services. She is also the Social Media Manager for Search Engine Journal and the Digital Communications Manager for HyperDisk Marketing. Prior, Debbie worked for a destination marketing organization and now has 8 years of hospitality marketing experience. Debbie has also taught social media courses and speaks at industry events. When she's not online, Debbie enjoys spending time with her spoiled dog children; watching movies; reading; and drinking copious amounts of coffee or wine. +Debbie Miller
Debbie Miller


Covering trends related to hospitality and social media, technology, marketing, branding, customer service, engagement, SEO, blogging. Founder: @TheBigDebowski
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  1. says

    Yes and Yes!  A property I managed in Amarillo Texas hosted a Social Media event, as a result we were able to secure a small local tournament in our meeting space!  Soical Media for the win!

  2. says

    This is a great example of how hotels and restaurants can use events to get the word out about their venues on social media. Thanks for sharing!

    Zoe Geddes-Soltess
    Community Engagement, Radian6

  3. says

    We’ve run some Social Media account for Hotels and restaurant but didn’t get much result. But I think search does give us more results..

    I think you need to focus more on the SEO side rather engaging with social media sites.

  4. says

    Hi Debbie, agree. We are going to have a Kuala Lumpur Social Media event as well on 25th August 2012. We advice the restaurant owners as well the same thing.

  5. Chris says

    This is a great example of how to use social media effectively – I agree totally.

    So many businesses are wasting their time on social media because they don’t know how to use it to get more customers.

    Great post!


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