What makes you "like" a travel company?

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Yesterday, a handful of executives from Hilton were in my office talking about their latest digital initiatives, which include a Twitter feed (@hiltonsuggests) that serves as a sort of digital concierge service, pointing random people asking questions in four cities around the country to recommended restaurants, arts venues, and, yes, Hilton properties. As most companies do, they also have an active Facebook presence: case in point, right now, about 46,400 people "Like" Hilton.

Everyone, not just Hilton, is thinking very carefully about how they are engaging with you, the traveling public, in the social networking space. But it all begs a pretty big question: what in the world makes you want to "like" a big brand company on Facebook?

I joked with the Hilton folks yesterday about this, suggesting that just because I like Orangina doesn't mean I "like" Orangina—or want to receive daily news updates about the brand. I understand sharing photos with friends on Facebook, talking trash on people's walls, playing games with family across the country. But befriending a big brand? Please enlighten me. For those of you who like lots of companies, do tell. What's in it for you?

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