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How Meliá’s Social-First Strategy Built Customer Loyalty and Business Resilience During a Crisis

The company used social listening, engagement, influencers, and advocacy to strengthen brand awareness and loyalty throughout the COVID-19 pandemic—building the foundation for business recovery

Melia Hotels patio image in black and white

With more than 380 hotels in more than 40 countries, Meliá Hotels International is the third-largest hotel group in Europe and the world’s largest resort chain.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, tourism and hospitality were among the hardest-hit industries. And while Meliá Hotels International was no exception, the company had an advantage that helped it mobilize its crisis management strategy quickly: a social-first communications model.

  • 1.8M
    engagements on social influencer posts
  • 4x
    return on social influencer campaign
  • 6,500
    social shares by digital ambassadors on Amplify

How they did it

From reassuring customers during the initial panic to proactively engaging with and entertaining them during lockdown, social media played a central role in Meliá’s revised 2020 communications plan. And as the “new normal” unfolded, Meliá engaged social influencers to help communicate hotel safety measures, celebrate frontline workers, and welcome guests back safely to their hotels around the world.

​Building confidence and connections with social customer care

With travel bans and cancellations escalating as the pandemic spread, Meliá saw a 170% spike in social media mentions and a 154% increase in inbound direct messages. With hundreds of hotels around the world—127 of which use their own social profiles—Meliá decided to centralize its communications and unify all content in Hootsuite, using Hootsuite Inbox to ensure timely and accurate responses to customers.

Photo credit: @backpackdiariez

Collage of Melia Hotels social media profiles

Amplifying positive messages through its influencer and ambassador networks

As lockdowns began to lift, Meliá worked with 34 influencers over a two-month period to communicate its #StaySafewithMeliá campaign. The campaign showcased the new procedures and protocols in place to keep guests safe and encouraged customers to start returning to Meliá’s hotels.

To further expand the reach of its campaign, Meliá relied on its digital ambassador program powered by Hootsuite Amplify. The #StaySafewithMeliá campaign saw 6,500 shares by employees for a potential reach of 5.6 million.

Image of a Melia hotels rooftop patio overlooking the beach
By putting social media at the heart of everything we do at Meliá, we had the ability to be super agile during a truly unprecedented situation. Because we had already implemented various tools and support from Hootsuite prior to COVID-19, we were able to react and shift strategies quickly to adapt to the changing situation.
Santiago Garcia Solimei
Global Director of Social Media
Meliá Hotels International

Listening and engaging with customers to build brand loyalty

Using the Talkwalker integration in Hootsuite, Meliá analyzed social media mentions alongside mentions in blogs, news, and other online media to track customer sentiment and report on it internally.

With customers struggling to cope with isolation during the crisis, Meliá used social media to deliver entertaining and informative content. The team also used social media to celebrate and reward frontline workers.

The results

Like every business in its industry, Meliá Hotels International faced trying times when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. But with a social-first strategy, the company was well prepared to adapt quickly to the rapidly changing situation and act fast.

overhead view of a forest

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