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I <3 Technology (and Kimpton Hotels)

I stayed in my first Kimpton Hotel (ROUGE) in Washington D.C. a few years ago, and I fell in love. It was chic, cool, modern, glamorous and a little bit silly all at the same time. There were these amazing white leather chairs and chaise lounges in the lobby. The bathrobes were cheetah print. The mini bar was made up of only red items — red hot tamales, red wax lips, red bull sports drink, cinniminis. It was one of the best themed, branded hotels I had ever seen. And, since then, I seek out Kimpton Hotels every time I travel.

In just a few weeks, Kimpton Hotels (a San Francisco-based hotel chain) will launch its fourth New York City hotel, Eventi in the North Chelsea neighborhood. So, I thought it would be interesting to find out what, if anything, Kimpton is doing to promote this (it’s 50th hotel) and interact with customers.

Here is what I found:

  • The Hotel Eventi facebook fan page has 263 fans
  • The Kimpton Hotels facebook fan page has 18,700+ fans
  • But, they don’t promote Eventi on the Kimpton fanpage very much (seems like a missed opportunity)
  • 7,334 @kimpton twitter followers (with what appears to be a lively discussion)
  • The hotel has been mentioned on 40 blog and in several traditional media sources

So, if Kimpton is going to invest in a more aggressive social media program (which I think they should, for the launch of Eventi), here are some of the social media best practices  for hotels, as cited on hotelmarketing.com:

  • Make them feel special with incentives
  • Create an open and transparent dialogue
  • Give fans and followers the tools to spread your message
  • Feature fans (your hotel is just four walls without them)
  • Establish relationships on their terms

And, actually… I feel these best practices, for hotels, could be applied to just about any industry.

Categories: Uncategorized

Why I “Like” Bally Total Fitness

So, these are the things that I “like.”

But, in all honesty, I don’t think I could have even named 5 of the 54 brands I, at one point or another, decided to “like” on facebook. Except Bally Total Fitness.

You want to know why?

I think they do a great job of really encouraging their fans to participate in the online conversation.

Every Sunday at 9:30 a.m., the Bally Total Fitness facebook page posts a message to its fans, and they call it “The Weekly Check In.” On average, 120 people (of their 16,000+ fans) respond with a few short words stating how many days they worked out, how they felt and sometimes their goals for the upcoming week.

Bally also posts questions to it’s fans related to topics such as

  • healthy afternoon snacks
  • the benefits of working out with friends
  • how to cook low calorie meals
  • fitness & nutrition tips, etc.

And, the fans are extremely active.

I find it so odd that every Sunday, when I see the Weekly Check In message push through on my iPhone, I instantly respond with a quick message saying something like:

6 days (3 with PT & 3 with cardio). I feel great.

I don’t do this with any of my other pages (except maybe once in a while on the Rachel Zoe page, if she posts a cute picture or something like that). But, I think I do it with Bally because I feel like it has a really strong sense of community on the page.

The fans are really who make the page – not Bally. Bally has just created a space, and it encourages its members to come in and interact with them and each other.

I think we can learn a valuable lesson from Bally, as digital marketers and social media enthusiasts. And the message is this (okay, so… it’s like 5 messages):

  • Don’t just create a facebook page and push information on your fans.
  • Create a space and invite them in (this is a line I love from the Satchi X lecture on The Future of Shopper Marketing)
  • Be the conversation starter.
  • But, allow the conversations among the fans to happen organically.
  • Don’t delete negative comments.
  • Instead, listen to negative feedback it and respond diplomatically – both publicly and through dm
  • And above all — allow your fans to really create the culture of the page.
  • It’s just your job to create the space & encourage participation

If you want to like Bally Total Fitness too, just go to http://www.facebook.com/BallyTotalFitness?ref=ts and click on like.

Categories: Uncategorized

Translating The Internet

Last year, I was working at an advertising & PR agency, and we had this internal education session that was all about how digital technology is connecting the world. There was this one slide that showed the number of computers in the U.S. 10 years ago, then the number of computers in the U.S. today and it showed the same comparison with China and India.

I remember thinking wow, this is so exciting how the globe is so connected. And, to borrow a few words from today’s NPR story “Bridging the Online Language Barrier,” the internet filled me with the hope of uniting all of humanity.

Until today, when I read this story on npr.com, I never considered the complexities of the internet when it comes to language barriers. (You can read “Bridging the Online Language Barrier” athttp://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2010/04/30/126420060/bridging-the-online-language-barrier-translating-the-internet).

According to this article, the first language on the internet was English. And until very recently, it was the primary language for bloggers. Arabic bloggers, for example, wrote their blogs in English up until very recently because, up until recently, their Arabic-speaking peers did not have access to internet, and their main audience was English-speaking.

With the increasing penetration of more sophisticated and widespread information infrastructure in countries outside of the U.S., bloggers are finally starting to blog in their native language.

As digital marketeers, we need to understand that even though the world may seem more connected, we still need to understand the how language differences may have an effect on the way we reach our target audiences.

The Top Ten Internet Languages are (in millions)

  • English 499,2
  • Chinese 407.7
  • Spanish 139.8
  • Japanese 96.0
  • Portuguese 77.6
  • German 72.3
  • Arabic 60.3
  • French 57
  • Russia 45.3
  • Korean 37.5
  • (all other languages) 309.7

So, as you are developing new websites – keep in mind your audience. And, adjust the language and translations to meet that audience’s needs.

Categories: Uncategorized