With Chinese tourists spending $215 billion last year, up 53 percent from the year prior, WeChat is becoming a key channel for hotel chains including Marriott, Hyatt, Sheraton and Shangri-La to stay connected with customers in the Asia.
Marriott has two accounts that it uses, one to communicate with customers and the other for employee retention and recruitment. The Marriott Rewards WeChat is aimed at Marriott customers and loyalty program members, while the Marriott Careers WeChat is for Marriott staff and potential employees, said Anka Twum-Baah, vp of customer loyalty and content at Marriott International in Asia.
While Starwood and Hilton have generic hotel accounts on WeChat, Marriott uses its Rewards account to tell members about hotel openings, new Marriott brands and opportunities for members, such as exclusive access to NBA games and events in China. The account also dispenses travel tips, such as the best ways to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Japan in March.
“Millennial travelers are expected to comprise more than 60 percent of our business over the next few years,” said Twum-Baah. “They are looking for unique experiences when traveling.”