Social Media Interview: Lucy Kemmitz, Social Media Manager - Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Who are you and what does your company do?

My name is Lucy Kemmitz and I’m the manager of brand social media for Hilton Hotels & Resorts as well as Curio – A Collection by Hilton. I have the task of leading social media strategy on a global scale for the brands, campaign planning and execution, leading and growing regional and cultural best practices and rolling out different culturally relevant social programs. Additionally, I work with partner teams in training and educating each of our hotels and resorts in social media.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts is the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide, a leading global hospitality company spanning the lodging sector from luxury and full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and focused-service hotels. Hilton is the stylish, forward-thinking global leader in hospitality with Team Members shaping experiences in which every guest feels cared for, valued and respected. 

How and why did you get started in social media?

I have always loved to travel and admire with wanderlust the world out there.  A few years ago I was at a point in my career with Hilton that I liked what I was doing in digital marketing, but knew I wasn’t quite in my sweet spot and felt I could be doing more. I wanted to be thrilled to get out of bed every morning and work – that feeling where you cannot wait to get started each day.

A mentor of mine asked me what I was truly passionate about – it was travel, inspiring people and social media – engaging with friends and strangers, building community and engagement from my experiences and sharing in others’. I drew a mental Venn diagram of where my passion, purpose and skills all met – and it was clear to me that I needed to be doing social media for an inspirational brand. At the time, what I wanted to do wasn’t specifically available at Hilton, but another mentor of mine told me to chase that need, show that passion to others, so I did. I feel very fortunate that the guidance I received helped me reach the point where I had the ability to craft my own position within the company and work with an amazing team. I now have that great waking moment every day.

What do you believe the benefits of using social media for business?

Social media creates a direct connection between the consumer and the brand. Our efforts ensure that guests, past and present, as well as potential guests feel cared for, valued and respected. A positive experience keeps Hilton top of mind, which ultimately helps drive market share and revenue.

What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?

When you think of the fundamentals of social media, it’s a simple concept—draft, post, repeat.  Too often you see brands set and forget – publishing great content, but not engaging or really listening to what their audience and (potential) consumers are saying or wanting. It requires real strategy, time investment and genuine care for your audience if you want to establish true brand awareness and foster a community of brand loyalists and champions. You have to know the diversity of your audience, their tone and what it is you have to offer your community. How do you get there? Through research, testing, mining and social listening. Strategy is at the heart of it all.

What qualities do you think social media managers should have?

A successful social media manager should be strategic, quick on their feet and willing to take risks and try new things. Innovation is a must in the fast paced environment of digital marketing, especially social media – you must be ahead of the competition and pushing your boundaries – with best practices changing almost daily – being flexible and adaptive is a given.

How do Business owners know if their social media campaign is working?

Success is measured by the engagement of the communities with whom you’ve built relationships. In Hilton’s case, we consider engagement highly as well as positive sentiment and, of course, driving conversion.

How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?

We are already seeing it, coming out of 2014 and into 2015 – budgets for social media are growing. eMarketer reported recently that Facebook and Twitter are projected to make up a third of all digital display marketing by 2017 and mobile ad spend will continue on a massive trajectory  reaching 72 percent of all digital spend by 2019. My hope for the next year or so is to see social being considered as early on in the funnel as traditional media and included everywhere as a fully integrated piece of the plan, as more and more people are moving away from live television. I think we’ll see more TV and print style ad budgets being invested in digital and social.

I foresee the science of social analytics and data evolving above and beyond where we are now. As social analytics and attribution modeling continue to improve (ex: Facebook's re-launch of Atlas will change the way we measure and track customers across the web vs. the traditional cookie model), social marketers will have the ability to show more revenue coming in directly from these channels to prove their worth more than we can do today.

With the emergence of new live streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat – the real time need to be strategic and targeted is fundamental.  The data support will come up to meet that need – the ability to live stream – with precision to the right audience at the exact time where they need that content the most, and capability to adapt content in the moment, and convert the audience, custom audience building on another level. For example, with Hilton, the ability to be able to target someone with a live stream of the sunset from the beach over Hawaii while they are online browsing Hawaiian vacations, or serve up a live feed from the roof top of one of our  New York hotels to a user when they are tweeting about New York City. The potential for targeting and relevancy is incredible and something I look forward to implementing.

Personally, I’m intrigued in the evolution of the citizen reporter.  From its start during The Arab Spring 5 years ago, social media has continued to grow as a tool to take down barricades where the lack of free speech and truth has long been gate-keeping entire populations. Social media platforms are enabling the truth to shine and shed light on real situations around the world. Social media is opening up the world like never before, and I don’t see this slowing down.  I imagine technology growing to suit this journalistic freedom where everyone with a smart phone or tablet is delivering the news 1:1 and 1:many.

If you could share one best practice about using social media to grow a business, what would it be?

Your audience are your marketers – listen to them, engage with them, champion them and they will grow your business for you. The influence of the brand advocate is one of the single most powerful marketing tools available to you at almost no cost.


Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya is a social media enthusiast, strategist and writer. He lives in London, England and is particularly interested in the proliferation of social media around the world.


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