How Meliá Hotels wins at social media customer care
With more than 400 hotels in 40 countries, Meliá Hotels International is the third-largest hotel group in Europe and the world’s most sustainable hotel chain.
The hotel group looks to Hootsuite Inbox to serve its customers better, faster and more authentically
Meliá Hotels is no stranger to social media. The company has long approached its business in a social-first way and is one of the leading global hotel chains with a strong influence on social media.
A Hootsuite customer since 2014, Meliá has established a social media ecosystem that works at every level of the organization—and over the years, they’ve seen exponential growth in inquiries and booking requests coming through from public and private social messaging channels.
“When we started to realize how many people wanted to book hotel rooms through social media, we realized we hadn’t capitalized on the business potential coming through direct and public messaging,” says Santiago Garcia Solimei, Global Head of Social Media & Brands PR at Meliá Hotels International.
The hotel group oversees over 500 social accounts on the global, regional and local level. But with external agencies or local hotels managing individual social accounts for marketing and customer service, Meliá didn’t have a common tone or unified response protocol for the growing number of inquiries coming through social media, let alone detailed reporting of social customer service activities.
Meliá knew it needed to focus on building an in-house social care team, and use the right tool to centralize its social media activity while also providing detailed reporting and analytics on its social customer service activities.
- 133,202total resolved conversations in 2022 (average of 3,100 per week)
- 48%decrease in response time (from 24hrs to 12.4hrs)
- 330booking enquiries per week through Hootsuite Inbox
What they did
After using Hootsuite and Hootsuite Inbox for years to manage its social media channels, Meliá migrated to Hootsuite’s new and improved Inbox 2.0 to design and roll out its formalized social customer service strategy.
A strong focus for the entire organization across its various teams is to strengthen relationships with clients and provide them with a personalized experience before, during and after their stay. With this in mind, Meliá focused on the following goals:
Decrease response times
Book directly from social networks via virtual assistant
Drive website traffic via messaging channels
Achieve social care excellence (SLA)
Automate a minimum of 30% of conversations in Social Care
Creating an in-house social customer care team
Meliá already had a global social team handling global strategy, social media, and influencers and PR functions, but didn’t yet have a dedicated social care team. Building on its established social-first approach, it added a new social customer care group to the global social team.
“Prior to using Hootsuite’s new Inbox feature, we didn’t have a social care team,” explains Garcia Solimei. “Now we have dedicated resources answering users through social media accounts, allowing us to be unified in our brand voice across the board.”
Bringing the social care team in-house allows Meliá to have more control over responses, be agile in responding within one platform, and have true visibility of all social accounts across the business. The team uses Inbox to respond to private and public messages across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, with a priority system in place to manage Meliá’s online reputation and sentiment accordingly.
“The Social Care team is using Hootsuite Inbox as the social customer care unique solution. We follow a consistent social care protocol for all of Meliá hotel brands and specific guidelines for hotels that standardize the way we answer our users. It’s more efficient for the company, and it of course provides a better service for the users.”
Reducing response time with smart automation
Building an in-house social care team and managing all social channels within one platform was a game changer for Meliá. It not only gave the internal teams more control over responses, but it also helped to decrease response times across the board.
With the social care team working business hours, Monday to Friday, both in the American and European time zones, Meliá has implemented an auto-responder to communicate with customers about their hours and how to contact them if needed. The team also uses the Inbox knowledge base to save and share responses to some of their most commonly asked questions. By implementing these tools, Meliá decreased its response time from 24 hours to 12.4 hours.
Meliá’s goal is to also be proactive in capturing business opportunities coming through direct messages. The team has added a virtual assistant, which uses Artificial Intelligence is enabling customers to book rooms directly from social networks, making it easier for customers to self-serve directly on social channels.
Using analytics to better serve customers
Enabling the social care team with tools to help decrease response time is a great start, and the team is using analytics and reporting to uncover data that they’re using to further refine their strategy. Using Inbox topic assignment features, the team assigns a topic to every conversation, which helps them understand the volume of certain inquiries. They take these metrics to their monthly meeting with the overall social team to review resolve times, volumes per topic and conversations. From there, the team can create new content to address trending topics, build it into their workflows and knowledge base, and even develop different case studies for their virtual assistant.
For example, one of the most common questions they receive is about influencer collaborations. “We get a lot of requests from influencers to work with us,” explains Garcia Solimei. “We have such a high volume, that we’ve realized we need to work on automating this, which will free up time to focus on higher-value interactions.”
When we started to report on how many people wanted to book hotel rooms through social media, we realized we hadn’t capitalized on the business potential coming through direct and public messaging.
Building lasting relationships
Meliá’s customers are at the heart of everything the company does. And although many of the questions fielded by the social care team are around standard topics like bookings, amenities, and influencer collaborations, some are a little more fun and surprising—and these moments give the team a chance to shine.
In one case, a customer reached out after staying at a hotel, asking about a specific song that their children had heard and loved. The care team was able to quickly get back to the customer with a link to the song, and the family were delighted with the quick and helpful response. Another customer messaged from Madrid airport about a shuttle that hadn’t arrived; the team replied right away with the exact time and pick-up point, helping him get back on schedule.
Thanks to Inbox, Meliá can deliver the same quick and friendly service through digital channels that its customers have come to expect in person at its hotels. Its digital customer profiles also ensure team members know whether the person they’re chatting with has contacted them or stayed at the hotel before, giving them the context and information they need to deliver the right response right away.
Since getting started with Inbox, Meliá has centralized its customer service across its social channels, established a common tone across its hotel brands and decreased its response time. With 133,202 conversations resolved in the past year, Meliá is connecting with hundreds of customers every day, resolving their inquiries and building lasting relationships.
What’s next for Meliá? A strong focus on adding more social networks into Inbox, while also increasing the virtual assistant functionality for both private and public channels to continue automating common service request needs.