Meaningful Hotel Social Media Marketing: The Pfister Hotel Connects the Dots

I was taking a quick look at the SMITTY Awards in my latest issue of Travel & Leisure and noticed an independent hotel was awarded for Best Overall Social Media for an Individual Hotel in the U.S. (grief… that’s a mouthful.) So I ran right off to take a look. The lucky winner was The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was impressed by the location alone. With apologies to the CVB, but does Milwaukee come up on travel radars all that often?

My own take is that, yes, the Pfister hotel is using social media well, but in most ways, there’s nothing particularly unique about it. What is different is the way they are making sense of their story and using social media to do it. The Pfister has an Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program, which in and of itself isn’t anything new. Art/artist programs at hotels were all the rage in the 90s for some reason, but Pfister has followed theirs through instead of treating it as a side project, and they’ve turned it into a powerful branding tool, allowing it to tell several different stories.

First, it tells the story of the Pfister, which apparently has the largest Victorian art collection of any hotel in the world. Frankly, this is such a specific claim to fame that I’m not sure it’s really all that noteworthy, but somehow the AIR program gives the hotel a little more artistic credibility. I guess I mean that AIR plus their art collection allows them to market the art connection.  Second, it connects the hotel to the larger community/destination. They’re effectively marketing Milwaukee as an art destination. This might be news to some folks, but Milwaukee actually has its fair share of noteworthy art museums. It was news to me until I ran across the Pfister, which drives home my point about how they’re really connecting the dots for travelers. Finally, it tells a story about the guests. The most recent artist is a writer who’s blogging about people she meets in the lobby. They’re letting their guests do the talking for them. Brilliant! They’re calling this artist their narrator. Yes! Let someone else do the storytelling; it goes so much further.

They’re blogging all of it. It’s the mainstay of their social media marketing as far as I can tell. First to the blog, then to all the social media outlets. It really does only take one focused, branded effort to pull it all together for guests.

Today’s advice distilled: Build on a topic and help your guests make sense of what you’re about. Connect the dots.

Tony Ciccarone

Tony Ciccarone is a web developer who is experienced in making high-quality professional websites, writing clean & reusable code, and creating data-driven web applications.

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