Social media in the hotel industry; what W hotels can learn from airlines like KLM.

With the evolvement of internet, the web changed from a ‘read-only’ medium to web 4.0, also called the emotional web. Internet as we know it now is not just seeing and hearing through images and videos, but also smelling and sensing through, for example, virtual reality. Nowadays the web is more social than ever, and this has some advantages and some disadvantages for companies. The social web related to customer engagement management contributes in areas as: conversations, the development phase, the orientation and selection phase, the transaction itself, and lastly, the after sales phase (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).

Social media are one of, if not the most important part of the new web. Already in 2014, 92% of marketers agreed that social media was vital for their business, and also 92% stated that their social media effort generated more exposure to their business (Hubspot, 2014). Social media for companies has proven to: increase brand recognition, improve brand loyalty, provide more options to convert, result in higher conversion rates, decrease marketing costs, better Search Engine Rankings, enrich customer experiences, and improve customer insight (Forbes, 2014). Yet, when looking at the tourism industry we could give multiple great examples of airlines that are doing it right, but not many hotels. Why is it that hotels clearly find it more difficult to implement social media than airlines?

Ilya Pozin wrote an article for Forbes in 2014 called 20 companies you should be following on social media. Within different categories he names companies that he thinks are worth mentioning. In this list he states Jetblue in the category customer service. However, nowhere in his list are any hotels stated. In the Netherlands, airline company KLM went viral with their social media campaigns many times. No hotel has ever gone viral with a campaign.

Talkwalker (2015) analysed the 40 best airlines regarding their social media. An example of KLM’s great social media skills is that they respond to almost 90% of the tweets they are mentioned in. KLM quickly responds to trends, they interact with their customers, they create amazing and relatable visuals, they use a lot of humour in their posts, they not only respond to their customers, but they also respond to other companies, and they use the newest technology to show their customers a look behind the scenes (De Beste Social Media, n.d.).

Even though W hotel New York – Times Square was home to one of the first ever Instagram photography exhibitions, and is known for connecting with travellers through social media (Trust You, 2014), compared to some airline companies they are nothing. Yuyu Chen (Clickz, 2016) analysed W hotels’ social media use and noticed some points that should, and can easily be improved. Some of W hotels’ posts were difficult to read due to random and irrelevant hashtags, they are not very responsive and don’t keep conversations going, are not inviting their customers to engage in their social media posts, they post the same thing on all their social media channels, and post irrelevant content.

My advice to W hotels would be to take a very good look at what KLM is doing. I think that KLM is thé frontrunner when it comes to using social media. I don’t know many companies that make their customers engage in the way that KLM does it, and I think that hotels like W hotels could learn tons by simply using them as an example, as long as they give their personal touch to it.



10 redenen waarom KLM een van de beste merken op social media is. (May 20). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from

16 Stats That Prove Social Media Isn’t Just a Fad [New Data]. (2014, June 6). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from

20 Companies You Should Be Following On Social Media. (2014, March 6). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from

Peelen, E. (2013). The online environment. In Customer Relationship Management (R. Beltman, Trans.) (2nd ed., pp. 296 – 321). United Kingdom: Pearson Education.

The Top 10 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing. (2014, August 11). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from

The Top 40 Airlines: Who is the Star on Social Media? – Talkwalker. (2015, July 21). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from

Top Hotels for Social Media Lovers. (2014, March 13). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from

Why W Hotels is dying a social death on Facebook and Twitter | ClickZ. (2016, January 7). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from



2 thoughts on “Social media in the hotel industry; what W hotels can learn from airlines like KLM.

  1. Carla van den Berg

    Lara, Interesting blog and conclusion. Especially interesting is the part about W hotels’ that posts were difficult to read, that they are not very responsive and don’t keep conversations going, but equally – if not more- important is that they post the same (irrelevant) content in all their social media channels.’ It is imperative to focus on relevant content, whereby each channel requires their own specific content approach as KLM indeed is doing so well.
    Do you have some examples of W posts that you think could be improved if following along KLM’s strategy?


    1. Lara Habold

      Dear Carla, thank you for your feedback! I don’t have any examples right now, but I will for sure search for some and put them in my blog!


Leave a reaction

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.