All Brands Need A Social Ambassador
Kristin and I returned from our trip to Kauai last Wednesday. We are fortunate enough to say that this was our second trip to the Hawaiian Islands. Our first Hawaii experience was on the island of Maui about eight years ago. While both islands are amazing in their own unique ways, Kauai is tough to beat with its perfection carved out of the Na Pali coast in the north, the canyon lands of the south and beaches everywhere in between.
We spent our first three nights on the north shore at the Hanalei Bay Resort. The remainder of our trip was spent at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort on the south shore. Both resorts were beautifully lush with island trees and flowers and offered exceptional service. Before our trip, I browsed through each of the resorts websites, liked them on Facebook and started following them on Twitter. As I did this, I noticed the Grand Hyatt Kauai was extremely active on Facebook and Twitter. At least once per day, they were posting interesting content on their Facebook page (e.g., pictures, videos), facilitating trivia and responding to everyone who had left them a comment or asked a question. I even received an @ reply on Twitter from @GrandHyattKauai before I left for our trip letting me know if they could be of any assistance.
Our stay on the north side of the island ended and it was time to make our way down to the south side to check in at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. We had the entire day to lazily make our way down the east coast of the island and were seeking recommendations on where we should stop. Knowing how responsive the Grand Hyatt Kauai was on Facebook, I posted a message on their wall the night before we left. By the next morning, a response had been posted and we made sure to stop at Wailua Falls.
We had yet to step foot on the resort, but we were already impressed through our interactions with the brand via social media. Naturally, we expected these experiences to be consistent with the experience we’d have once we got to the resort.
Enter Joshua Olayer. Josh is the Social Ambassador for the Grand Hyatt Kauai. He’s the man behind the Facebook and Twitter feeds. He works at the resort to make guests feel welcome and offers friendly conversation about whatever, whenever. Online and offline. He’s the one that went above-and-beyond to make sure our positive experience with the brand carried through during our stay at the resort. He initiated this by delivering a gift basket to our room along with a hand-written note and his business card. This was a surprise and a delight. Kristin and I talked about how impressed we were with our unexpected gift and its thoughtfulness.
We were curious to meet Josh. Sure enough, during our second to last day at the resort, a member of the resort staff approached me and asked, “Excuse me sir, are you Craig?” It was Josh. Given away not only by his nametag, but also the fact that he was carrying an iPad 2. It didn’t creep me out at all. I was excited to meet Josh. He was as friendly as he had been through social media and we had a great conversation about what he does at the resort, his background and what it was like to serve as the social ambassador. Born in Honolulu and raised in Kauai, Josh left the islands to go to the University of Las Vegas Nevada to study hospitality. After getting his degree, he worked at a Las Vegas resort and then came back home to work at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. While the resort was looking for a social ambassador, I doubt they knew how well Josh would fill the role and exceed expectations. Before ending our conversation, Josh asked if there was anything else he could do for us. We mentioned we were interested in the spa and explained to him that our flight didn’t leave until late the following night. In other words, spa access would be nice and an extended checkout the next day would make our situation ideal. Within an hour of having our conversation, I received a direct message on Twitter from Josh. He hooked us up with spa access and extended our check out until 6pm.
The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort example is relevant to all marketers. It’s not the shiny object sexiness of what they’re doing, but rather a philosophical approach that makes them unique and allows the Grand Hyatt brand to stand out. They delivered on many of the expectations I have for a brand in the social media space. They offered personalized responses a in a timely fashion. Their postings, comments and recommendations were relevant to me. They were very helpful throughout our entire stay. They connected my online and offline experience with a personal introduction from Josh. They surprised and delighted us with the gift basket, spa access and an extended check out. Responsiveness, personalization, relevancy and delightfulness should be characteristics of any brand. Social media is an outstanding platform to accomplish this and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort is experiencing success with a social ambassador leading the charge.