Taking Social Media On The Road
It’s been pointed out that social media can be pretty anti-social. If millions of people are sitting around on computers connecting electronically, it does not add to the overall volume of human in-person contact.
Enter Loews Hotels, which has decided to send its director of social media, Piper Stevens, on a cross-country road trip as part of a new social media campaign. Stevens will be visiting all 19 Loews properties over the summer, chronicling her experiences – as well as creating videos -- while showcasing each hotel and its city’s culture, activities and attractions on the newly introduced “Wish You Were Here” blog. The blog is featured on Loews’ website and Facebook page. At each hotel, Stevens will team up with the concierge or VIP manager to host a weekly Twitter chat via @Loews to answer any questions about the hotel or destination city.
“My job is a new one at Loews,” said Stevens, “and is part of a bigger approach to how we are going to tackle social media and differentiate ourselves. We felt that we could turn social media into a local source for guests as well as locals. We are trying to uncover hidden treasures in each of our destinations.”
Jimmy Suh, senior vice president of e-commerce and distribution for Loews, said, “Piper’s road trip is part of a larger, 360-degree social media strategy we are implementing across the brand. We want social media to be an intrinsic part of all of our marketing – and not be isolated. One reason Piper is doing this is that the business we are in is to inspire travel. Piper’s blog is meant to inspire people to get out of their houses and discover the treasures in these destinations.”
It works like this. Stevens does a preliminary plan with the on-site expert. She then heads to a city on Monday and blogs mostly about the hotel on that day. For the next couple of days, she will blog about attractions and events as guided by her local contact. Her video is a wrap-up of the week. Of course, she will also be active on other social networks including Instagram and Twitter.
While she only will spend a few days in each city, the blog will “live on” as a local person is designated to keep it fresh. And then each city will be featured for three or so weeks a year on the brand’s site and elsewhere.
This project will be a foundation for future social media strategy, said Suh, who thinks it’s crucial to have a human face and voice to the brand.
“Local” is a buzzword right now and what’s more “local” than a hotel? You can’t move it and guests count on it to tell them where to go while they’re in town. Social media is designed to encourage people to be social – so it makes sense that a social media networker would see and be seen – in person.