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INSPIRED BUSINESS TRAVELER

Social Rewards for Business Travel

New program lets users earn deals for tweeting and posting to Facebook.
Twitterati: Your next tweet or Facebook post could earn you a drink, a hotel room or even a free trip.
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If you are a socially savvy business traveler like Shaun Koiner, the first thing you do when you land is scan the e-mails you received while in transit, check-in on Facebook and Foursquare as you deplane, and look for breaking news on Twitter as you ride to your destination. "I check-in to keep a digital trail of where I've been and to stay socially connected," says Koiner, director of digital marketing for Sporting News. "Use of, and keeping up-to-date on social platforms is an integral part of my job." He travels about five times a month between New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and the editorial headquarters for Sporting News in Charlotte, North Carolina. Koiner is the type of business traveler who could benefit from Social Rewards.

Social Rewards is a loyalty-marketing program that rewards points to users for tweeting and posting to Facebook about the brands they like. A user can earn five points for a tweet and as much as 250 points if their social-media postings lead to room bookings. "We tap in to a brands existing loyalty program or create custom loyalty programs like the one we did for Luxor [casino in Las Vegas]," says Joseph Morin, co-founder and CEO of Social Rewards.

With Luxor casino, Morin's team created a reward program in which members of Luxor Social Rewards earn points towards getting a free room, show tickets, drinks, nightclub entry, and more. "People will tweet, 'I already booked my room at Luxor, now I'm going to earn my show ticket,'" says Danielle Consiglio, interactive marketing manager for Luxor/Excalibur. "So people are building up excitement around their trips and earning rewards."

For a business, the benefit is brand amplification. "Since their own loyal customers are tweeting and Facebook posting, it get re-tweeted and Liked more than if they just tweeted it or posted it on the brand social media accounts," says Morin.

"The best advertising is having other people talk about you. Social Rewards empowers your loyal guests to do just that," says Greg Cannon, director of e-commerce for the Palms Casino Resort. "Aligning with Social Rewards was one of the easiest, and best, business decisions I've made this year."

The cost to businesses is linked to the volume of use. Social Rewards charges 10 cents per engagement, defined as a click, re-tweet, reply, or Like. "One tweet can have a life cycle of hundreds and thousands of impressions," says Morin.

"This program is a great way to finally be able to see in financial terms what social media can do for your bottom line," says Brad Goldberg, vice president of marketing for Luxor/Excalibur.

Social Rewards is currently rolling out programs for the majority of casinos in Las Vegas, and it will be expanding to other cities starting with the Roger Smith hotel in New York later this month.  The goal is to offer expand beyond hotels to airlines, restaurants, movies, car rentals, and more to allow for cross-promotion points.  That could mean that the points a user earns from tweeting about a car rental could be used to redeem freebies during a Las Vegas vacation—and vice versa.

"It doesn't take a lot of time and effort to be a member and participate in the program and yet the benefits are there to take advantage of if you are an active member," adds Goldberg. "If you are social media savvy and you are a business traveler, it's about what you earn by supporting the program and the extra perks you can get that you can take advantage of."




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