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Shangri-La sparks user engagement via Instagram contest

October 9, 2012


Hotel company Shangri-La is looking to increase user engagement with an Instagram contest called Loving the Moment that allows consumers to vote for their favorite image.

The Instagram contest lets consumers interact with the brand on their own terms while not alienating them. Other luxury hotel brands are using Instagram to portray brand image.

"Instagram is the go-to place for lifestyle sharing," said Evan Nicholson, senior account manager at 5th Finger, San Francisco. "It allows a brand to quickly expand its reach and audience through an endorsed voice.

"A luxury brand like Shangri-La uses lifestyle images to inspire its audience and build its equity as an aspirational brand," he said. "Instagram is an inspiration site/program which makes it the perfect tool to effectively execute on this strategy."

Mr. Nicholson is not affiliated with Shangri-La, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Shangri-La declined comment.

Love at first sight
The Shangri-La contest is called Loving the Moment. Consumers must first download the Instagram iPhone or Android application.

#LovingtheMoment Instagram feed

Users are encouraged to take a picture of scenery or a moment in their lives that they love.

Consumers can then select a filter and use the hashtag #LovingtheMoment.

On the Shangri-La Instagram site at, consumers can vote for their favorite image and share via Twitter, Facebook and Sina Weibo.

Shangri-La Instagram contest

Consumers can browse images by most popular, latest and location. They can also follow the stream on their Instagram app.

Users are tagging friends, locations and Shangri-La properties.

Some current images include scenery, friends and family, children playing, flowers and hotel properties. There is also a section where consumers can check out Instargram pictures from Shangri-La employees.

Filtered content
Many hotel brands are using Instagram to engage with consumers.

For example, Fontainebleau Miami Beach upped the engagement level at its Ultimate Pool Party in June through interactive mobile elements including QR codes and Instagram.

In partnership with iHeartRadio, the Fontainebleau Ultimate Pool Party was part of the BleauLive concert series and included musical guests Maroon 5, Flo Rida, Gym Class Heroes, Calvin Harris and Enrique Iglesias. To promote the event, a variety of multichannel marketing platforms were set in place including mobile, radio and social media (see story).

Also, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts raised awareness for the reopening of its Toronto property at a new location by holding a contest via the Instagram mobile application for the chance to win a $1,000 Four Seasons gift card.

The #UncoverToronto contest was hosted by the hotel brand’s Tumblr blog Four Seasons Fotog. Four Seasons looked to capture what its home city means to past and prospective guests while leading up to the hotel’s opening next month (see story).

Instagram allows consumers to upload their own images and be part of the brand. Also, it connects with other social platforms to better extend the reach.

"When we first began looking at customer generated content, it became clear to most agencies that high-quality, user-generated content is rare, if not non-existent," Mr. Nicholson said. "Instagram presents a potential solution to that problem.

"It will be interesting to see if the brand takes this contest further and leverages it to extend brand awareness beyond Instagram," he said.

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York