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#luxchat {Spring Edition} | Abercrombie & Kent

As a part of Abercrombie & Kent’s 50th Anniversary celebration, Mr. Geoffrey Kent, the Founder and Executive Chairman of Abercrombie & Kent, joined us for an hour of #luxchat this week.  He shared with us A&K’s social media strategy and what we can look forward from A&K in the next 50 years…

Kent today, and at 16, when he traveled 5,000 miles by motorbike from Nairobi to Cape, which he called “a defining moment.” {Image courtesy of Geoffrey Kent and Abercrombie and Kent}

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A&K Social Media Channels:

@AKTravel_USA | @AKPhilanthropy | @AKExtreme

Facebook | YouTube | Flickr

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Highlights from our #luxchat with @AKTravel_USA, check out the full report here.

On the A&K Clients:

  • 17% of A&K’s guests travel solo. Many pursue a personal passion like photography.
  • There is no “typical” customer! Many are busy executives who rely on us to handle the details. Time is valuable. Also, families celebrating milestone events.
  • Travelers are looking further and further off the beaten path to find authentic experiences. Stronger demand now for places like East Africa, China, Antarctica.
  • A&K is developing a very high end concierge division to serve its top clients.

On Luxury Travel:
  • Luxury is not just about thread count, but quality of experience. Travelers are looking further and further off the beaten path to find authentic experiences.
  • The mindset of the traveler has changed. People expect greater value
  • Luxury is a balance of authenticity, flexibility and a complete sense of well-being.

On the importance of a tour operator in luxury travel:
  • To have a reliable/knowledgeable person available 24/7 is so imperative when time is money for someone.
  • Every luxury travel agent & tour operator would agree that it’s all about the details!  We have access to people and places you couldn't experience on your own - with the best guides available.
  • With 50 years’ experience, we’re experts at dealing with the unexpected while still offering seamless service. There’s so much info avail online. It’s overwhelming. The details that aren't “Googleable” can make or break a trip.
  • I think of A&K as world’s oldest start up. In search of new experiences for our clients in emerging destinations, continuing to deliver a better, more luxurious, more personalized experience than anyone else

On Inspiration Behind A&K Philanthropy efforts:
  • Our love for the areas we operate in. A deep-rooted concern for the natural world infuses every A&K journey
  • Tourism is the most effective way to transfer wealth from rich nations to poorer ones.

On Social Media:
  • A&K handle Social Media in-house, as the constant flow of information would be too difficult for outside source to keep up with.
  • With 50 offices worldwide we have direct access to stories, trends and photos, which makes conversation more authentic.
  • With social media, we are so much more connected. You get instant feedback about what people want.
  • Social media gets you inspired, but travel is the real thing.
  • SM has introduced an entirely new audience of travelers to A&K. Our social media goal is to grow the community further and act as a go-to destination resource for travelers.

On iPad & Technology:

  • We have an iPad app. Very interactive and visual, to download the A&K Travel app click here
  • Instead of printed itinerary, guests can request an A&K itinerary be delivered to the iPad or eReader
  • We’ll be sure to keep our #luxchat friends posted on our Pinterest plans!


#luxchat Recap August 2011 | Infiniti

@InfinitiNews | Infiniti USA
Vision of Inspired Performance


About Infiniti USA:
Infiniti is the luxury division of automaker Nissan. Infiniti officially started selling vehicles on November 8, 1989 in North America. Marketing operations have since grown to include the Middle East, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, China, and Ukraine. Infiniti began sales in additional European markets in late 2008. The marketing network for Infiniti-branded vehicles now includes over 230 dealers in over 15 countries. More…

Moderators:


Click here to “Like” our Facebook page and click here to follow us on Twitter.

Some highlights from #luxchat with @InfinitiNews:

Q1. What makes social media a good platform for Infiniti JX launch? Is it generating the type of buzz that Infiniti was expecting? 
A1. Our goal was to give our most engaged fans opportunity to see #JXConcept first & share thoughts to be part of reveal. For instance…we received 73% higher FB page views during our roll out of JX. People really got into the content. 

Q2. We recently heard about a concierge service that Infiniti is providing? Can you elaborate? 

A2. The Infiniti Personal Assistant provides owners with unlimited 24-hour access to a live team of professional assistants. It is Infiniti Personal Assistant. Like what you get with an AmEx Black Card. Live help at all times. Here are more details on Infiniti Personal Assistant: http://bit.ly/pJHkRQ 

Q3. Can you share some of the images released so far of the #JXConcept?
A3. Here are the photos we have released so far of the #JXConcept -http://on.fb.me/qjZtok 

Q4. Is the “Power of 7” the first social media campaign for a new vehicle? Why did you decide now was the right time to reveal a new vehicle launch via social media?

A4. We did social media for Infiniti M Hybrid vehicle, inc a virtual video reveal & NCAA basketball Coaches vs Charity 

Q5. Please describe the “Power of 7” campaign to the audience.

A5. Infiniti #JXConcept #Powerof7 Campaign phase 1 is 7 teaser images to culminate tomorrow with car reveal in the evening. Phase 2 #Powerof7 uses 7 unique features of concept vehicle inspiring challenges in categories like art, fashion, food. Fans will have opportunity to upload own inspiring creations in any of 7 categories & collect votes in order to win. 

Q6. What is Infiniti’s overarching social media goal?

A6. Our goal is to build & strengthen Infiniti community, nurture passion about our brand and sell vehicles.

Q7. Infiniti seems to invest significantly in social media, did the brand immediately understand its value?

A7. Not at first. We were late to the game. Now it is central to everything we do. 

Q8. Except from the new JX, what else is Infiniti showing at @PebbleConcours?

A8. At @PebbleConcours Infiniti is also showing 2012 #InfinitiFX, Redbull Racing #F1 car & Infiniti Etherea Concept

Q9. Are you anticipating Google+ business profiles as part of your future social media strategy?

A9. We look at social media in a platform-agnostic manner. If G+ provides value to our communities we will be there. FB shows the most engagement so far but, G+ looks promising but no brands allowed yet.

Q10. Do you use social media to engage with existing Infiniti owners, potential new customers, or both? Has Social Media changed the way @infinitinews conducts internal operations and/or the way you design your vehicles? 

A10. We engage both current owners, potential customers and just people who have passion for cars and design. It creates a heightened awareness of our customers internally. We seek input from fans to create sense of family.

Q11. How does the Infiniti social media team communicate ROI back to executives and employees?

A11. We track handraisers which we tie back to actual sales. Gives us an actual ROI based on sales per action we take. Handraisers are those who ask us for more information about our brand by e-mail for example. 

Q12. Is there a social media policy or handbook that employees follow if they tweet from personal accounts?

A12. We have guidelines to engage in Infiniti-related conversations from personal accounts, but do encourage participation.

Q13. What is social media success (or ROI) for Infiniti?

A13. Success = Engagement & Cars Sold. JX campaign has driven 12% > internet buzz vs. pre. We’ll track sales when JX is out. 

Q14. What is Infiniti doing in the way of online video - YouTube, Ustream, etc?

A14. Our YouTube channel offers video content & we will host live video chat Sat from #PebbleCars http://www.youtube.com/infiniti

Q15. Does Infiniti consider geo-location services (like FourSquare) as part of its social strategy?

A15. Yes, we will use geo-location this weekend at Pebble Beach where we are sponsoring @PebbleConcours.

#luxchat Recap June 2011 | Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

@MO_HOTELSMandarin Oriental Hotel Group
The Fan. Luxurious. Elegant.


About Mandarin Oriental:
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is an international hotel investment and management group with deluxe and first class hotels, resorts and residences in sought-after destinations around the world. The Group now operates, or has under development, 41 hotels representing over 10,000 rooms in 26 countries, with 18 hotels in Asia, 12 in The Americas and 11 in Europe and Middle East. In addition, the Group operates, or has under development, 12 Residences at Mandarin Oriental connected to its properties. More… 

Moderators:

Check out our tweetreach from 06/15/11 here.
Click here to “Like” our Facebook page and click here to follow us on Twitter.

Click here for a complete list of Mandarin Oriental’s social media space.

Some highlights from #luxchat with @MO_HOTELS:

Q1. How do you think a luxury brand should approach social media?

A1. Luxury brands, just like any other, have a place in social media. The specific strategy however must make sense for the brand.

  • @LuxeTiffany: Luxury hotels are you listening? @MO_Hotels says not to be afraid of social media. Be out there!
  • @OneBrownGirl: With humility & the right advocates.
  • @TravelMaestro: Think it’s important for luxury hotels to integrate social media into traditional marketing and stick to their brand message.

Q2. What specific strategy does your brand take with it’s social media presence? And what was the biggest challenge?

A2. Consistency across marketing channels is key without that, you lose strength of brand. Most difficult was first developing the Group-wide strategy - what makes most sense for our brand.

  • @lesliefineint: Since my clientele are in the luxury market, I’m more likely to recommend a brand that I’m engaged to on SM and feel like I know.
  • @gregoates: Lux hotels can approach social media as a purveyor of good taste

Q3. How many Mandarin Oriental hotels have a Twitter presence and how do you use social media to tie or separate the brands?

A3. Currently, 21 MO hotels are on Twitter and we have 26 MO hotels on Facebook – in addition to a brand Facebook page. More to come! We regularly share brand-wide best practice & standards, but given each market is unique there must be some leeway.

Q4.  As a well known luxury brand, was the @MO_HOTELS group ever apprehensive about approaching social media?

 A4. Fortunately for us, no. Our organization from the top down has believed in the value of social media from the start. We have had an official presence on social media since January 2010. Key to our strategy today are Facebook & Twitter.

There’s no simple way to determine which channels are “brand appropriate”. Always research before you join.

 Q5. How can you manage 21 individual twitter accounts, 26 individual hotel pages, and one for the brand? How many people help?

 A5. Each MO hotel has a dedicated colleague who oversees property social media activities. The specific department varies, but falls within Sales & Marketing. It is always important to find the right people. We pride ourselves on consistency between our brand and property-level activities.

We manage @MO_HOTELS & brand Facebook page from our New York marketing office.  We also look forward to welcoming our newest property @MO_PARIS on June 28, 2011!

  • @elitetravelgal: Had chance 2 meet the tweeters behind @MO_Barcelona recently while in Spain, they do an AMAZING job!
  • @graupix: For me @MO_HOTELS are the best hotel chain using Twitter: combining the HQ account + each hotel’s account

Q6.  Have you been/begun utilizing #youtube for marketing your properties?

  A6. We do maintain a YouTube channel, but hope to develop more video content in the near future.

  • @luxuryprgal: Video will continue to explode - important to be a leader. Not only that, but YouTube is (arguably) the #2 search engine in the world. Important to be on it.
  • @LauraAllenTvl: Could be a really fun way to experience a property/destination before committing!
  • @TravelMaestro: Great resource for travel agents too

Q7. Which SM channel has proven more valuable in terms of social ROI?

A7. That depends on how you define “social ROI”. For us, Twitter & Facebook each offer something unique.  Facebook is primarily for end consumers while Twitter allows us to also speak with travel experts, bloggers, etc.

  • @LuxTravel: Not only does @MO_HOTELS engage well using SM, they are a tried & true partner of travel advisors vs other luxury hotel brands.
  • @luxuryprgal: Facebook Analytics, Twitalyzer, TweetReach are great for this - but for paid @radian6 is my mecca.
  • @hotelrenewHI: Glad to see you pushing the bar with social media, who needs ads when you got positive word of mouth?

Q8. How do you measure ROI? Do you have a metric to track bottom line impact of social media (e.g. revenue generated, new sales)

A8. For measurement, fans/followers are nice but it is all about direct engagement (likes, comments, mentions, RTs). On measurement, one metric we value is “engagements per post”, measuring direct audience engagements from each message we share.

We do connect our social media activities with our website analytics whenever possible to derive revenue. Revenue, although a welcome end result, is not the sole reason we participate on social media, it is about building a meaningful dialogue with our past, present and future customers.

 Q9.  Most of your competitors are on Twitter. Do you follow them?

 A9. Yes, we take note of what other brands, both travel & other, are doing in social media. Some great examples too! Good to hear what the others are doing on SM.

So many great examples from past #luxchat guests! @Bergdorfs @TUMItravel, & many others.

Q10. #Luxchat-ers, what’s your favorite @MO_HOTELS property?

A10. 

  • @fullersloane: @MissSmartFlyer @MO_HOTELS Love NY & MIA.
  • @bergdorfs: we’re a bit biased: New York, Columbus Circle
  • @elitetravelgal: cant choose one love @MO_Miami and @MO_Barcelona
  • @HookedOnMonMode: The San Francisco location is absolutely stunning–great costumer service!
  • @fdumenci: Love the new @MO_LASVEGAS
  • @graupix: My favourite @MO_HOTELS property is @MO_TOKYO and hope soon to be @MO_PARIS once tried.

Q11. Hotels are always quick to want to do giveaways to increase followers. What is @MO_Hotels feeling about this?

A11.  Many new channels today feature deals/discounts. While great for consumers, we prefer to focus on service & value-add.  Through our online conversations, we can enhance the guest experience while they are on property.

  • @FrontRowTierra: @MO_Hotels is proving that practices which influence luxury brand longevity are more beneficial than short term tactics.
  • @tomtravel2: I love the focus on service customers not sales and discounts

Q12. Could you tell us a bit about your new Paris property!

A12. @MO_PARIS is located steps from Place Vendome. 138 rooms/suites, beautiful garden & food by Thierry Marx.  Thierry Marx is a Michelin-starred chef who is opening his first #Paris restaurant

Q13. Do you have a policy for handling any complaints that may be tweeted by a guest?

A13. Complaints, just as any other comments, need to be addressed quickly & openly. An opportunity to turn bad to good.

Q14. Since you have a lot of celeb clientele, how do you keep privacy of guests with everyone tweeting, Facebooking?

A14. We strive to maintain complete privacy for all our guests. The same was the case prior to social media. Our colleagues are extremely conscientious about guest privacy.