Brief #68: Labor shortages, employee advocacy, and a lucky traveler contest

This content originally appeared on June 24, 2021 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here.

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe. 

Today, we’re discussing…

  • The labor shortage has brands crunching 
  • Hospitality is roaring back
  • #BrandCrush: IHG Hotels & Resorts 💘

Mark your calendar! We’ll be on AdWeek’s mainstage next week, Wednesday, June 30th at 10:25 AM (PDT) to discuss the power of nano- and micro-influencers. Click here to add it to your calendar! 🗓

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The labor shortage has brands crunching 

A quick Google search of “labor shortage 2021” will reveal that companies are having a challenging time hiring staff. As a result, American Airlines recently canceled hundreds of flights, and restaurants are cutting operating hours or leaving tables open.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported, “more Americans quit in May than any other month on record [since] the beginning of the century.”

The reasons? 

The pandemic revealed inequities of the American workforce (especially when you compare them to progressive European countries like Sweden, Denmark, and France). 

“Economists point to a host of other factors that may also be dampening a return of workers to the labor force,” shared CNBC. “Child-care duties, ongoing health risks, health complications for Covid long-haulers, early retirements, career changes or reassessments, and a high historical share of workers who are furloughed and expect to be recalled to their prior workplace.”

Just look at the engagement on this tweet… 

A tweet by Samuel Pollen that reads "Europeans out of offices: 'I'm away camping for the summer. Email again in September.' vs. American out of offices: 'I have left thee office for two hours to undergo kidney surgery but you can reach on my cell anytime.'"

To remain competitive, brands around the world – especially in retail and hospitality – are now offering perks to attract and retain talent, including hiring bonuses, wage increases, wellness days, company-wide vacations, and more. 

And social sentiment says this is the right move.

People have new expectations – making employee advocacy increasingly important to build trust and recruit top talent. Take a page from the playbooks of Hootsuite, LinkedIn, or Bumble to showcase culture and spark word-of-mouth.

Hospitality is roaring back

The travel, tourism, and hospitality industries were severely impacted in 2020 – where the world’s top hotel brands lost nearly $23 billion in brand value. Now, with revenge travel on the rise, hospitality brands are seeking new ways to attract travelers, build loyalty, and make up for their losses. 

According to Marketing Dive:

  • Marriott is debuting the largest global campaign in its 90-year history, using digital and mobile tactics to capture pent-up demand across multiple channels 
  • IHG Hotels & Resorts joined Clubhouse to share an “ASMR-style journey” with simulated, busy lobby sounds to promote a year-long getaway contest 
  • is offering fans the chance to become its first-ever “Hotel Resident” with a stay of up to a month at four locations on the Las Vegas strip
  • And Airbnb is selecting twelve (12) people to travel for a year and live in their listings for FREE – asking participants to share their experience and help shape the future of the brand 

Considering seventy-three percent (73%) of consumers expect more real-time communication (and messages of safety) from brands, travel marketers now face a unique challenge to create personalized experiences. 

Even Amazon is getting into travel and tourism (at least virtually, that is). 

By blending messages of safety, user-generated content, and elevating micro- and nano- influencers (including employees) into the marketing mix, hospitality brands can inspire and attract travelers. 

Need more inspiration? Here are six great safe tourism marketing campaigns

What we’re learning: 

Join us on AdWeek’s Mainstage next week, Wednesday, June 30th at 10:25 AM (PDT)

Click here to add it to your calendar!

Promo asset from #SMWLA ft. Ivonne Aldaz
Promo asset from #SMWLA ft. S. David Ramirez

#BrandCrush: IHG Hotels & Resorts 💘

IHG Hotels & Resorts launched its #IHGTellMeContest to give one lucky traveler the opportunity to win back a year of missed memories and adventures with 365 days worth of hotel experiences across various IHG locations. 

Yes, please! 

This exclusive opportunity comes with unique perks, such as:

  • A complimentary basket full of the winner’s favorite snacks each time they check into a new hotel
  • Dining at one of IHG’s award-winning restaurants once a month for twelve months
  • Swap out their home mattress with a deluxe option from their IHG stay
  • Access to a private car at select hotels to explore the city 
  • And more! 

IHG is accepting entries from June 22 through July 20, and will be collected on Instagram and Twitter by having users tag @IHGhotels and #IHGTellMeContest… a great way to engage fans and curate UGC for future marketing efforts. Like this: 

3 UGC images from #IHGTellMeContest featuring a home office, a group of 4 people posing with their beer, and an image of a beach

But here’s how they could really make this take off…  

By running the contest using Experience Builder – IHG can still use Instagram and Twitter, but also increase participation, standardize the experience, make their contest feel more “official,” expand reach as they promote the contest page, and – get this – all content submitted through the page automatically includes the legal rights for use. 

Speaking of roaring back, here are some fresh opportunities to work with UGC in hospitality: 

  1. Associate Manager, Field Engagement and Listening 
  2. Social Media Manager
  3. Associate Manager, Social Media Content

Until next week! 👋🏼