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The holiday season found hotel brands teasing potential guests with treats like gourmet sweets and specialty libations, as well as contests to exotic (and warm) destinations.

In December, two of the hotel brands on this top ten made headlines beyond social networks. InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) $430 million purchase of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Group wasn’t taken well by the boutique hotels’ dedicated fans; Skift took a look at their reactions on Twitter and found that most voiced concerns over the brand and loyalty program. Marriott International’s Wi-Fi jamming request didn’t play well anywhere outside of the brand’s board room.

The hotels below range from world-renowned hotel brands that have thousands of properties (including some on remote islands) to boutique hospitality groups with 30 properties in lesser populated cities. They cater to business travelers, wedding parties, foodies and escapists.

The top ten are calculated using our Skift Score, which takes into account performance on an absolute basis, as well as relative to a company’s specific industry. Comparing metrics across companies and travel sectors provides an intelligent measure of real-time competitive edge.

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Hotel Brands by Skift Score (December 2014)

Hotels December 2014 Skift Score Facebook Likes Twitter Followers Instagram Followers Youtube Video Views
Hyatt Hotels 815 353,292 52,475 11,459 7,607,529
Loews Hotels 768 44,822 32,526 5,565 747,756
Kimpton Hotels 722 76,610 38,088 5,570 600,178
Sandals Resorts 714 602,311 123,902 48,977 7,088,739
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts 709 1,151,497 18,588 10,377 874,837
Four Seasons Hotels 700 283,306 166,304 76,449 3,189,467
Hilton Hotels 686 1,271,935 179,486 17,439 707,307
Marriott Internat’l 684 232,670 361,134 25,478 436,257
DoubleTree by Hilton 669 272,213 74,065 3,407 9,903,987
Mandarin Oriental 664 161,210 90,235 7,059 378,128

Source: SkiftIQ

The average Skift Score for this vertical remained flat at 713 from November. The community growth on Facebook and video views on YouTube slowed down considerably while content on Twitter and Instagram brought in new followers.

Since October 2014, Hyatt Hotels and Loews Hotels held first and second place, respectively. Hyatt consistently blew away the competition with its social care on Twitter. Hyatt treats its account as a customer service tool — much like an airline — and remains the only brand that replies to guests in under an hour. Loews leads with the most snaps on Instagram, while Kimpton fought it’s way to the top, being third in November.

Despite Kimpton’s loyalists concerns, the hotel brand still retained its hard-earned ranking, remaining at third place. Sandals Resorts climbed the ladder from sixth to fourth place because of its month-long dedicated push to connect with beach-loving couples and newlyweds. DoubleTree pushed its cookies, which gave it a bump from tenth to ninth place.

Facebook

Overall, the top performing hotels have not slowed down publishing posts on Facebook, averaging 36 posts per month. Only three of the ten hotels published less than one post per day — Hyatt, Loews, and Kimpton.

Hilton, Marriott, and Sandals published their Cyber Monday deals in the first week of December while DoubleTree bookended the start and end of the month with a winter sales promotion.

Besides publishing images of well considered cocktails, Four Seasons leveraged direct video uploads the most on this channel. Although three of the four videos were slideshows, it added a new way to repurpose and redistribute content on a platform that is ramping up its video capability and distribution.

Twitter

Sandals was not shy in telling its fans what to do and raised the visibility of its beach snaps by asking fans to retweet — in various iterations — if they need another holiday after their holiday. In addition, its Twitter account was quite busy with a user-generated contest, “12 Days of Sandals,” that encouraged couples to take selfies as entries. Shangri-La asked followers to tweet haikus about traveling in China in order to qualify for a chance to win a copy of James Hilton’s novel “Lost Horizon” and candle. Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental published the most tweets with videos in December.

Instagram

Despite some heavy-handed and socially unfriendly branding on Sandals’ photos, the brand’s beach photos were still liked by followers this month. And what really drew the crowd into a user-generated social contest prize was a six-day/five-night trip to Sandals and $5,000 in cash for a bespoke wedding or vow renewal.

Kimpton has the third smallest community on Instagram in its competitive set, but it had success with an event to celebrate The Trevor Project, a crisis-intervention and suicide-prevention program for LBGTQ youth. Celebrities supported the cause and attended the silent auction gala that was live-fed on Instagram (including Twitter and Facebook).

December was a big month for Marriott: it announced its Snapchat campaign launch and shared its collaboration with an illustrator, Kyle Steed — with 110K+ Instagram followers — who also designed and suggested a new feature to marry the hotel program’s fitness program on its app. On the subject of actually traveling, Jordan Axani, founder of A Ticket Forward (an organization that funds vacations to deserving individuals) took over its Instagram account to document a journey.

YouTube

Winners on YouTube used Twitter to get broader distribution for their content this month. Both Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental distributed more than five of their YouTube videos on Twitter. The properties that made Four Season’s Twitter feed included, Hualalai, Prague, Lisbon, Doha, and Hong Kong. In addition, a wedding trailer made by a couple on Vimeo was tweeted by Four Seasons — an upcoming form of user-generated content.

Mandarin Oriental’s video content about celebrities in gastronomy and entertainment graced its stream of tweets. This hotel’s video series, “She’s [He’s] a Fan” featured actress Lucy Liu and British singer-songwriter Bryan Ferry in December. The other videos included bakers, its Paris property, and Lucy Liu, again.

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Photo Credit: A tweet about Sandal Resort's Twitter contest. Sandals Resorts / Twitter