Last week, Starbucks announced a new service called Tweet-a-coffee. The program is as intuitive as it sounds – it allows Twitter users to give Starbucks Card eGifts to other Twitter users all from within the social network. Once a user syncs his Twitter account with his Starbucks account, it’s as simple as crafting a tweet to @Tweetacoffee and writing “@Tweetacoffee to @[Twitter handle].” From there, the user to whom you sent the tweet will receive a tweet with a link to a site that allows him/her to redeem the gift card via the Starbucks website. The process is quick and painless, and makes the phrase “Coffee’s on me!” a fun real-time reality because of its smooth tie-in with social media.
There is no doubt that businesses and brands will soon begin, if have not already begun, taking advantage of tweeting a coffee to brand ambassadors, customers, and more. Businesses within the hospitality industry should be quick to take advantage of this service, as it is low-cost but could have a big impact. Buying a coffee for someone is, after all, quite a hospitable thing to do! Here are a few ways hotels could Tweet-a-coffee and why this might pay off:
-Appease unhappy guests. Have you ever had someone tweet to your hotel with a complaint? It happens all the time. Depending on the size and influence of the tweeter’s network, it’s true that the actual consequences of a negative tweet about your brand might not have a large impact. However, in the age of social media, word can get around quickly and you can never be too careful! Either way, the principle remains the same – you have an unhappy guest and he is writing about it online for virtually anyone to read. Give these upset tweeters a little something to be happy about with a digital Starbucks gift card and a tweet offering some kind of apology and intent of action. The guest will be happy to have been heard, and other potential bookers can see that your hotel listens to feedback, takes action, and is kind in return.
-Reinforce brand ambassadors. Is there someone on Twitter who is constantly sharing your content? Retweeting you, engaging with you, or even sharing his Foursquare check-ins at your property with his network on Twitter? Reinforce his passion for your hotel by picking up his next coffee! Not only do you want to make your upset guests happy, but don’t neglect keeping your existing fans smiling as well!
-Host a contest. There are many ways to incorporate Tweet-a-coffee into a Twitter contest. Pose a question that sparks conversation about your hotel and retweet the responses. Better yet, take advantage of Twitter’s recent update that shows pictures and videos in-stream on the feed and host a contest where users tweet photos of their best times at your hotel or traveling around your local area. These tweets catch the eye since the photos are shown by default. This is a great way to increase your earned media and user-generated content. Send an eGift card to a lucky participant!
-Surprise a current guest. Monitor Twitter to see who is sharing their Foursquare check-ins at your hotel. Is a guest tweeting about his stay while he is still there? Tweet him a Starbucks card to help him start his day exploring your city with a smile and a jolt!
Of course, you can’t just be tweeting a Starbucks eGift card to everyone. Select people at random or give yourself a limit to send each week. Use services like Klout to see who really can boost your hotel, but don’t forget about the little guy either -- its not just Klout! Use Starbucks’ Tweet-a-coffee to expand on your hotel’s social media strategy and keep your Twitter followers on their toes. Happy tweeting!
(Photo courtesy of Flickr)