The social media platform formerly known as Twitter (recently redubbed X) launched as a town square of the internet.
But it also became a nifty tool for travelers to leapfrog ahead of long phone wait times to lodge customer service complaints, change reservations or rebook flights.
The X platform’s functionality moved in a different direction under Elon Musk’s ownership, which began last fall. Musk took a lax approach to moderating and removing controversial content — driving more than half its top 1,000 advertisers like Coca-Cola, Jeep and Wells Fargo away, CNN reported earlier this year.
Under Musk’s ownership, users of the platform must pay for verified status, leading many organizations and high-profile users to give up that once-coveted blue checkmark. That threw cold water on the brand’s future as a communication and customer service utility.
The X platform’s future use as a public utility grew even more chaotic when Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta launched a direct competitor, Threads.
A little more than a month into Threads going live, we’re curious about how hotel companies are viewing the platform. These are still early days as far as social media lifespans go, but it’s apparent many a company (and influencer) at least seem curious about the burgeoning platform: Threads already has roughly 122 million users, compared to about 541 million users for its 17-year-old direct competitor.
So are hotel companies taking it seriously?
Hilton appears to be the most active hotel company on Threads through a mix of humorous posts, announcing a new recipe for Doubletree’s famous chocolate chip cookie and banter with Paris Hilton (another active user on the burgeoning social media platform). There was even a furry friend takeover account by Norma the dog (who acquired fans like Paris Hilton and chef José Andrés in the process).
But there is more than fun and games in store for Hilton’s presence on Threads.
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“Looking ahead, we are working through what our longer-term strategy will be for Hilton and our brand accounts and closely exploring how this fits into our greater customer engagement strategy to prepare for Hilton being able to meet customer care and expectations on the platform,” said Dan Reynolds, vice president and head of global content, media and partnerships at Hilton.
That’s the most candor we got from any hotel company.
Other hoteliers on Threads
Marriott didn’t respond to TPG’s request for a comment, and Hyatt pointed to us to its first post on the platform. Since that first post, Hyatt has gone on to post an array of questions (“What makes you happier? Waterslides, jet skis, sailboats, or snorkeling?”) and photos of hotels like the Alila Kothaifaru Maldives or of destinations like Boston and New York City. There are now several brand-specific accounts for offerings like Park Hyatt and Hyatt House.
Marriott’s Marriott Bonvoy Threads page is its most active and has posted things like the arrival and departure characteristics for those with the Leo astrological sign, and highlighted its new partnerships with brands like Uber Eats and MGM Resorts.
IHG Hotels & Resorts has accounts for its overall brand and IHG One Rewards program, but the only company-related account to actually “say” anything on Threads is an IHG careers page — not exactly where you’d want to go to try and see about an upgrade for your next stay at an InterContinental.
When should you take Threads on your next trip?
As you might guess from your own time on Threads, it’s a bit like the Wild West on there: plenty of humorous posts, photos, random questions and (blissfully for now) no inundation of ads or politics. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Neither X nor Meta responded to TPG’s request for comment, but signs point to Meta building out the right infrastructure for Threads to be a formidable utility.
A new “mention button” to better mention another account — something that could be useful in trying to catch the attention of a travel company amid a need to rebook a flight or change a hotel reservation — rolled out this week, according to a post from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri has also indicated via Threads posts that other requested features — like being able to see posts in chronological order, hashtags and the ability to search posts — are also in the works. All of this would build out enhanced customer service utility for Threads.
So, is Threads worth your time from a travel service perspective? Download the platform, as it’s likely going to be a highly useful tool in your pocket when it comes to fixing any issues that eventually arise during a trip.
But for now: Enjoy the dad jokes and dog photos (and that’s just from my own account).