Arun Sudhaman 20 Jan 2011 // 12:00AM GMT
Charles Yap, global brand communications director for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), has expanded his role to include social media oversight at a group level across the hotel giant’s seven brands.
The development sees Yap report to director of global brand communications Mollie Tregembo, as one of the world’s biggest hotel players attempts to take a more structured approach to its social media strategy.
Meanwhile, IHG has named two new global communications directors at its UK HQ. Kari Kerr arrives from Coca-Cola Europe to become global external comms director for corporate, while former Pernod Ricard executive Sarah Shilling takes on a similar role on the brand side. Both report to IHG SVP of global corporate affairs, Leslie McGibbon.
The hires of Kerr and Shilling follow the shift of Joyce Lorigan, who joined IHG last year as global comms VP, to a new position as VP of internal communications.
Yap, who has worked for IHG since 2005 said he will focus on global social media engagement for the company’s different hotel brands, which include InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Indigo, and ensure a joined up approach across the group.
“For many companies, this is still in its infancy – it’s really dependent on how passionate the brand director is on social media,” said Yap. “You will see in many multi-brand companies, different brands playing different roles in social media.
“My role is to use my own passion and capability to look at something that applies across the brand architecture. And make sure each brand has its own voice.”
Yap, an active participant in social media platforms such as Twitter (@hotelprguy), will work closely with social media teams in IHG’s marketing and loyalty engagement units. He will retain his role as international PR chief for the InterContinental brand.
“I think PR and social media work together hand in hand,” said Yap. “Even though I’m a social media person now, PR still defines me. Our discipline allows us to look at the business in a holistic way, and that discipline applies to social media.”
As an example, Yap said an initial focus will be to improve IHG’s ability to listen to social media conversations about its brands.