How does an airport hotel Thai restaurant end up trending on Twitter?

Around lunchtime today, I was checking into my Twitter account and a little hashtag on the Trending list caught my eye.  #EatThaiatRedZen.  Well, I thought!   Looks like there’s a restaurant that has managed to do something special on Twitter.

Didn’t take me too long to see what was going on.   I checked the twitter account and found the hashtag related to a competition that was being run by @timescity (a restaurant, nightlife and entertainment guide service) to help promote a Marriott hotel Thai restaurant in Mumbai.  An airport hotel in fact.  Not the type of venue you'd normally associate with a proactive Twitter promotion.

The competition in its essence was very simple.   @TimeCity posed a series of 7 questions to its 2,000 followers over a few hours on a Friday afternoon.  Each question had a Thai food or drink focus.  To be in with a chance to win, each entry tweet also had to include the hashtag and the twitter address for the restaurant. Nothing too fancy you might think.   However, flicking through @timecity’s Twitter feed, I could quickly see that the competition success was all in the delivery. 

The people on the keyboards running the competition made sure to not just respond to each participant but to have some personal comment for each entry.   With this sort of personalised customer focus, I’m not surprised the engagement levels shot through the roof and the hashtag ended up trending worldwide. 

From the analytics I was able to generate, the result was 419 tweets with that hashtag were posted within a couple of hours.   More importantly, this competition was seen by nearly 9,000 twitter accounts within this time period as well.   Not to mention the trending notice on Twitter accounts internationally. Not a bad result generated within a few hours on Twitter.   And seeing as this is an airport hotel, I would have thought this international exposure would be particularly welcome.


The restaurant doesn’t have a big following on Twitter, but through the smart use of this hashtag promotion, they were able to get great coverage via @timescity for their brand at a key time of the week, just running up to the weekend when people may be potentially heading towards the airport.

I tell this story in the hope that it might inspire you to do something similar for your business.  I think it's also a great example of how a little strategic thinking can go a long way on social media.  What do you think? Do let me know if you have any thoughts as to how you might adapt this competition idea for your own audience.