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'Vacationitis': The Hilton's Key to Half a Million New Facebook Fans
By: Tiana Tucker
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Summer is approaching rather quickly and if April showers have not caused you to daydream about an upcoming summer vacation, then surely one look at the most liked hotel brand or international airline on Facebook will do it. Or perhaps you are familiar with the term “vacationitis,” which is “a chronic debilitating workplace ailment only cured through high doses of time off and travel” as defined by the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand and the Onion Labs

The Hilton and one of America’s most popular satire news organizations The Onion teamed up to create a hilarious digital “vacationitis” campaign, which included a micro-site (The Urgent Vacation Care Center) with support on Facebook and Twitter. In the little over three months since the campaign launched, the Hilton’s Facebook page has seen a huge spike in fan growth. The campaign is not the only key ingredient that helped the Hilton to become the first hotel brand to reach one million Facebook fans. A good mix of visual, audience-engaging content sprinkled with a few seasonal promotions and a partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival helped the brand break the one million Facebook likes mark in March. According to Digiday, the Hilton “claims that the majority of fan acquisition during the three-month period was […] not as a result of paid social advertising.” The most popular Facebook post referencing the “vacationitis” campaign was a post detailing one of the fourteen work-related symptoms, the “loner toner disorder,” on January 17. It received 8,943 likes and more than 450 shares among users.

The “vacationitis” campaign could have been even more interesting if a series of videos were added to the content mix or perhaps the audience were allowed to get in on the joke with content submissions on Vine. A good humorous clip could have totally helped someone suffering from “vactionitis” pass the time until the eve of his or her vacation arrived and it could have been positioned as temporary relief medication. All in all, picking up roughly 500,000 Facebook fans in three months is an impressive achievement to reach with a only a minimal amount of paid media.

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About the Author
Tiana Tucker is an online marketing professional working as the Inbound Marketer for Nursing@Simmons, which is an online master's in nursing offered by Simmons College. Keep up with Tiana on Twitter @TianaMTucker or Google+.


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