Most of you know that I love social media and blogging. All of you, I presume, know that I love to travel and plan travel. Fewer of you probably know that I have a M.S. in International Marketing from St. Joseph's and that I have for the last 5 years. While Chimera has certainly involved all three of the above, I have been looking for a way to use these skills for more than just Chimera itself.
When people ask me how I conduct research for my client, my number one response is social media. (There's a connection here - no pun intended - I promise). I have built up a network of followers, fans and truly new friends in the industry through my social media outlets - twitter, linkedin, facebook and now Google+. I have learned who has the most experience in various destinations, regions, and niches (i.e biking tours, culinary travel, etc). I have also made friends and connections located around the world. If I want to know the restaurant that serves the best gnocchi in a certain town in Italy, I know who to contact that's right at the source. I find this invaluable.
One place, however, that I've found a hole, is stand-alone hotels, often smaller ones. While it's easy to get a response from someone at a major chain, or even a smaller one, when I tweet out that I'm looking for a luxury, stand-alone hotel for a client at "x" destination, I may get a response from someone who's been or booked clients there, but often I never receive a response from the hotel directly. This means one of two things - either the hotel doesn't have a twitter account, or they do but don't have someone watching over it regularly to respond when queries like mine come through. This is the type of accommodation I work with most, and yet it's the trickiest for me to interact with on social media. I realized that this class of hotel is under-represented in social media - most likely because of resource restraints, both human and budgetary. It's tough for a smaller hotel to pull someone from their marketing team to do social media (I'm not sure this is a good idea anyways) and just as tough sometimes to hire someone full time for the task. These hotels are also often lacking blogs for the same reason. I want to help these hotels. I want them to be as much in the "playing field" as the chain hotels, as they're some of my favorites.
I decided to combine my love of travel, social media, marketing and hotels (yes, I truly love hotels) to begin doing social media marketing and blog consulting for stand-alone hotels. I help create and oversee their social media accounts, create and work on their blog and can include additional tasks such as website copy, email marketing and e-newsletters/publications. Because I'm not super woman, a few things I can't do include website design, coding and anything of the like. I can take a look at a website and from the perspective of both the travel professional and traveler give my input on the appeal and the usefulness, as well as my thoughts on the design from a top level. I can't, however, actually create the new design unless you want to go with a blog on Wordpress, Blogger or similar templates (great for blogs but I don't suggest a template for a whole website). However, I have some very contacts contacts that can do this, and am happy to work with them on these tasks if the need arises.
I'm incredibly excited about this new business development. However, as I'm sure you're not quite as excited as I am - unless you're a stand alone hotel that needs social media marketing, in which case please contact me! - I'll end this rather long blog. If you're curious about my work, please feel free to ask questions, either in the comments or in private.