Sahara Star: Reviews on FB cover

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | September 19, 2013
The cover photo got updated with each new review posted across the web.

One of the biggest challenges which any hospitality brand faces today is that guests are sharing their experiences across the web and as a brand, one would want all these to be aggregated on a primary platform. Especially for a luxury brand, these are strong drivers of consumer interest and hence, Mumbai based 5 star hotel Sahara Star designed a Facebook cover photo app which recorded all the mentions made about Sahara Star across the web, and showed them on the cover photo of the page.

Tweets displayed on cover image

Tweets displayed on cover image

Tripadvisor review displayed on the cover image

Designed by Brandlogist, the cover photo got updated with a new review from across the web after every like. So, a user could tweet something about the brand and users on the Facebook page could see the experience in the newsfeed via a cover photo.

"The challenge we have been trying to address through social media is not to get a higher fan or follower count. That's easy. But, to get a relevant fan base and thus, drive ROI which frankly is pretty tough. One needs to keep optimising with content, media and campaigns," states Saurabh Parmar, CEO and founder of Brandlogist.

On reaching the 1 lakh fan base and initiating this activity, Rajesh Mohan, marketing head, Sahara Star Hotel, says, "We are excited to reach this major milestone. The hotel has captured more than 25 per cent of its fair market share, thanks to our online patrons." The campaign ran for three weeks, ending September 15 and reached a total of 1.8 million impressions by 770.8 thousand users within that period.

On the concern of negative reviews coming up on the cover photo app, Mohan states, "When you are on social media you are bound to be criticised and it's something we have always dealt by active engagement. Since there was a potential of us getting spammed we also had a CMS (Content Management System) to choose the reviews/tweets which appeared, but the agenda was not to block constructive criticism."

Saurabh Parmar

Rajesh Mohan

Sahara Star also ran a contest on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook under the theme of 'Star moments' where the focus was on guests and building word of mouth through them. On Twitter, the campaign was called #1000Stars. The idea was to crowdsource reasons from Twitter followers for being at the hotel. On Facebook, the campaign named 'Memorable Moments' asked fans to share their Star Moments with a picture, background and a few words.

"The idea behind all this is to build word of mouth through our guests and relevant fans. Sahara Star currently has 23,200 check-ins on Facebook, which is one of the highest in the 5 star category. Even on Twitter our strategy has never been to follow a lot of people so that they follow us back. Currently our follower: following ratio stands at 12 to 1096 people," informs Parmar.

This is not the first time that the hotel chain has tried to engage with its audience on digital. A few months back, the guests checking in the hotel were asked to like its Facebook page and in return, they would provide an hour of free internet for the guest.

Sahara Star is the flagship hotel of Sahara India Pariwar and is touted to be one of India's most sought-after 5 star hotels near the Mumbai domestic airport.

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