Hyatt Regency Maui Says ‘I Do’ to Social Marketing

Sad stories—even succinct narratives—sometimes have happy endings. Just ask the sales team responsible for booking luxury weddings at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. Even better, ask Josh and Todd. 

Last October Josh and Todd got hitched in Hawaii on the breathtaking grounds of the Hyatt Regency Maui as part of their reward for winning a Facebook photo contest the resort offered with the help of Offerpop, a digital marketing software-as-a-service platform.

From a strategic perspective, the contest was a success: Hyatt Regency Maui created the program to generate wedding-sales leads (80 of them) and to raise brand awareness.

On a personal level, the story was heart-warming. “When I proposed to Todd…this past January, he was so thrilled—and immediately sad,” Josh writes in the entry form. “Living in Arizona, marriage isn’t an option for us.” For several years the couple “watched as state after state struck down bans against gay marriage.” Arizona was not among those states, but Hawaii was—thanks to the Aloha State’s Marriage Equality Act of 2013, which built on previous allowances of same-sex civil unions by granting the legal green light to same-sex marriage.

Challenge and choice

Hyatt Regency Maui is well-known for its allure as a destination for family vacations, corporate retreats, and romantic getaways. But Marketing Manager Jessica Kapoor and her team wanted to increase awareness of the resort as a destination for large and luxurious weddings. Specifically, she wanted to generate more qualified leads to share with her sales colleagues responsible for booking weddings.

Given Hyatt’s loyal Facebook following (where people also enjoy posting pictures of their engagements and weddings) and her desire to reach a broad audience, Kapoor opted for a photo contest.

The campaign, which featured two stages, began March 10, 2014 and ran through April 14, 2014. The first facet consisted of submissions: engaged couples throughout the United States were asked to provide a photo and100 words explaining why they wanted to get married in Maui. Seventy-five couples completed submissions. The second facet enabled Facebook users to vote for the winning couple (from April 2 through April 12). More than 1,200 people voted. People could vote once per day and share the contest on their own social media channels.

Offerpop Account Manager Ashley Astolfi typically recommends that companies run promotional photo contests for two to four weeks.  Since Hyatt’s contest featured separate submission and voting periods, Astolfi suggested the longer end of that range “to allow for plenty of time for engagement.”

Hyatt Regency Maui promoted the contest with ads to supplement the organic social-media sharing. To do so, the marketing team targeted key demographics in its database (age, relationship status, etc.) and then used Offerpop’s analytics to track the sources and ad campaigns that drove the campaign participation across, Twitter, and ads from Facebook, The Wedding Channel, and The Knot, among other sources. This integrated, multichannel approach to promotion “was essential to success,” Kapoor reports. “Facebook ads in particular were effective and inexpensive for us to run.”

For each contest entry, Hyatt also collected key information—such as wedding budgets and date options; and opt-in communications for information about weddings, honeymoons, and vacations—for the sales team to use. The marketing team offered a follow-up contest to everyone who voted: a shot at winning a three-night stay at the resort. Additionally, everyone who participated in the campaign (those who submitted entries as well as those who voted) received a 10% vacation discount offer. “This promotion extended the reach of our brand beyond weddings,” Kapoor adds, “and gave us a way to further engage consumers already interacting with us.”

Astolfi credits Hyatt Regency Maui’s marketing team for having a “clear understanding of cross-promotion.” It helped that Kapoor and her team established a clear promotion schedule and developed a specific budget for the campaign. “This allowed them to reach a very wide audience with a combination of email, Facebook advertising, and on-site promotion,” Astolfi says.

Of course, it also helped to enlist the help of outside content-producers, including the storytelling skills of happily couples.


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