Cafe Shaped Business – The Roger Smith Hotel

Emily and Ian TweetI just got back from a trip to New York City. Before leaving, I mentioned on Twitter that I was coming to the city. My friend, Chris Kieff, from Ripple6 and I were planning to meet up, and he mentioned that I might check out the Roger Smith Hotel, because he knew they had some kind of blogger special. Moments after this, I hear the same information from Brett Petersel of Mashable.

So, I check it out. Moments later, I have an email from Adam Wallace, their new media marketing guy telling me that they’d love to have me at their hotel, and that the winter blogger’s rate is $125 a night. (Remember, this is in Manhattan). Cool, I write back, and ask if I can book a room.

Not only do they give me a room. They have an upgrade available to a suite. So now I’m in heaven. But we don’t stop there.

They throw a TWEETUP for all the Twitter folks who want to come by. (pictures start around here). This is hosted by their other social media star, Brian Simpson, who between the two of us, gathered up quite a crowd of folks to an event where they bought the drinks, and where we had a little space just for us.

Why Do This?

Some of you already know the answer. Where will I stay the next time I go to New York? Who did I talk about every time someone asked me where I’m staying? Heck, I even brought them into my presentation at the O’Reilly Tools of Change event.

Heck, I even shot a video of my room!

So, ask yourself: if you could equip your customers to be excited, passionate carriers of your story, why wouldn’t you try a few things and see what worked?

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  • http://openmode.ca Malcolm Bastien

    Ok, so broadcast your plans and let the *right* people know what you need. Go for the right kind of relationship formed that can pay off for both parties in the long run, and make sure to publish the results. And tweet ups are the perfect events to run! They cost virtually nothing to organize!

    You’ve given me a lot to think about!

  • cat

    I thought I was the only one who filmed my hotel rooms. hehehehe

  • cat

    I thought I was the only one who filmed my hotel rooms. hehehehe

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  • http://twittermaven.blogspot.com warrenss

    Not only is @Bsimi a great marketer who’s done great things with social media for the @Rogersmithhotel, but he’s a native New Englander. Don’t you love it when Bostonians kick butt in the big apple!

  • http://twittermaven.com Warren Sukernek

    Not only is @Bsimi a great marketer who’s done great things with social media for the @Rogersmithhotel, but he’s a native New Englander. Don’t you love it when Bostonians kick butt in the big apple!

  • http://Newbielifeline.com Sheila Atwood

    I have not thought of creating excited passionate carriers of my story…but that works! I tell every one about the stories and places that have really connected with me…my newest one is Micro-credit.

    This has really gotten me thinking about how I am going to do that.

    Thank you.

  • http://Newbielifeline.com Sheila Atwood

    I have not thought of creating excited passionate carriers of my story…but that works! I tell every one about the stories and places that have really connected with me…my newest one is Micro-credit.

    This has really gotten me thinking about how I am going to do that.

    Thank you.

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  • Joe Soricelli

    Chris – Pretty good quality on the video. What type of camera were you using?

  • Joe Soricelli

    Chris – Pretty good quality on the video. What type of camera were you using?

  • http://www.seosoeasy.com seosoeasy

    Wonderful posts and i had valuable time by watching your video.Thanks a lot.

  • http://www.seosoeasy.com seosoeasy

    Wonderful posts and i had valuable time by watching your video.Thanks a lot.

  • http://www.exploremyblog.com ExploreMyBlog

    That’s great $125, I would really appreciate if i get same for me also next time when i visit to New York, i would prefer Roger Smith Hotel.

  • http://www.exploremyblog.com ExploreMyBlog

    That’s great $125, I would really appreciate if i get same for me also next time when i visit to New York, i would prefer Roger Smith Hotel.

  • http://www.invesp.com/blog/ Rachel Burkot

    Wow, I think people underestimate the value in giving something away for less than it’s worth with the expectation of a bigger payoff in the long run. This has a lot to do with incentive and can be transferred easily to any marketing strategy. By giving you a suite that was worth a lot more than $125 for the night, they probably more than made up for that in the business generated by you talking about the room and sharing it on your blog. And it makes them seem generous, like they are giving something up, while they are actually gaining from it. It’s a great image for them and great for business. More people should use strategies like that.

  • http://www.invesp.com/blog/ Rachel Burkot

    Wow, I think people underestimate the value in giving something away for less than it’s worth with the expectation of a bigger payoff in the long run. This has a lot to do with incentive and can be transferred easily to any marketing strategy. By giving you a suite that was worth a lot more than $125 for the night, they probably more than made up for that in the business generated by you talking about the room and sharing it on your blog. And it makes them seem generous, like they are giving something up, while they are actually gaining from it. It’s a great image for them and great for business. More people should use strategies like that.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    @Joe – it was a Flip Mino. I love mine. It’s my second Flip camera. Will use them always.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    @Joe – it was a Flip Mino. I love mine. It’s my second Flip camera. Will use them always.

  • http://kristaparry.wordpress.com Krista Parry

    Thanks for the timely post. I’ve been trying to help my PR committee understand why bloggers are media, with even more reach. This post will help me greatly! Would love to have you in Park City, UT.

  • http://kristaparry.wordpress.com Krista Parry

    Thanks for the timely post. I’ve been trying to help my PR committee understand why bloggers are media, with even more reach. This post will help me greatly! Would love to have you in Park City, UT.

  • http://www.itsallaboutthebike.com Moto

    I seconnd Krista’s comment; come to Park City this spring, and we’ll match that rate for a slopeside condo. Just bring your skis (and video cam).

  • http://www.itsallaboutthebike.com Moto

    I seconnd Krista’s comment; come to Park City this spring, and we’ll match that rate for a slopeside condo. Just bring your skis (and video cam).

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  • http://www.davidkinard.com David Kinard

    Chris –

    Here’s an unpopular thought (and one I’d love to hear from about from Adam Wallace) — although you had a great experience, told others about it, and the comments to your post are overwhelmingly positive — I see a startling lack of awareness of the bottom line profitability all this love generated.

    Truly, I think that this was a great example of how social media connects people and can be used to generate buzz, but:

    1) Did the hotel make any money from your stay? I can only imagine that the free upgrade, the discounted room, and the bought drinks cost more than the mere $125 you paid. (I have two blog posts on how to measure marketing like this — you can read Metric Monday posts at http://www.davidkinard.com).

    2) Was there any mechanism put into place that will allow the Roger Smith Hotel to see if their generosity and social media efforts will pay off? How is this scalable across the hospitality vertical in a profitable and measureable way?

    3) What expectations were created by your experience that are likely not to be repeated by the non-celebrity blogger? When the guy with a blog readership of 250 shows up, will he get a free upgrade or did you just get the VIP treatment because you’re a VIP?

    I think if anything, they gained in loyalty from you, and I applaud that Adam Wallace acted in a manner that sought to delight the customer. For sure you had a great brand experience. But at the end of the day, unless they are treating all their guests this same way, that brand experience is likley yours alone to appreciate. The social media link here is that we got to vicariously enjoy it through you — and seeing how the vast majority of people who read your post are NOT likely to go to New York and stay at this hotel, our brand experience was with you, not the Roger Smith Hotel.

    My humble opinion…

    – David Kinard

  • http://www.davidkinard.com David Kinard

    Chris –

    Here’s an unpopular thought (and one I’d love to hear from about from Adam Wallace) — although you had a great experience, told others about it, and the comments to your post are overwhelmingly positive — I see a startling lack of awareness of the bottom line profitability all this love generated.

    Truly, I think that this was a great example of how social media connects people and can be used to generate buzz, but:

    1) Did the hotel make any money from your stay? I can only imagine that the free upgrade, the discounted room, and the bought drinks cost more than the mere $125 you paid. (I have two blog posts on how to measure marketing like this — you can read Metric Monday posts at http://www.davidkinard.com).

    2) Was there any mechanism put into place that will allow the Roger Smith Hotel to see if their generosity and social media efforts will pay off? How is this scalable across the hospitality vertical in a profitable and measureable way?

    3) What expectations were created by your experience that are likely not to be repeated by the non-celebrity blogger? When the guy with a blog readership of 250 shows up, will he get a free upgrade or did you just get the VIP treatment because you’re a VIP?

    I think if anything, they gained in loyalty from you, and I applaud that Adam Wallace acted in a manner that sought to delight the customer. For sure you had a great brand experience. But at the end of the day, unless they are treating all their guests this same way, that brand experience is likley yours alone to appreciate. The social media link here is that we got to vicariously enjoy it through you — and seeing how the vast majority of people who read your post are NOT likely to go to New York and stay at this hotel, our brand experience was with you, not the Roger Smith Hotel.

    My humble opinion…

    – David Kinard

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    Hi David–

    C.C. Chapman booked the very next day, so they got a sale they weren’t going to get. Further, judging by the comments and those in Twitter, they’ll get more sales the next time someone comes through.

    Cutting a rate is typical in hotels for bloggers or otherwise. Not sure you’re following the dynamics, but the hotel business is choking right now. Not enough people are traveling, and they’re not staying as long when they do.

    The benefit that Roger Smith gains from targeting bloggers and media makers specifically was played out right here on my blog by what I did next: I talked about it. Further, I showed you a video so you could make your own decisions.

    The point, David, is that should someone who read this post be booking something in New York City in the coming months, they’ll at least consider the Roger Smith. Do you think with hundreds of options that it’s a small feat? Not me.

    So, we might beg to differ, but I see this as a great marketing move.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    Hi David–

    C.C. Chapman booked the very next day, so they got a sale they weren’t going to get. Further, judging by the comments and those in Twitter, they’ll get more sales the next time someone comes through.

    Cutting a rate is typical in hotels for bloggers or otherwise. Not sure you’re following the dynamics, but the hotel business is choking right now. Not enough people are traveling, and they’re not staying as long when they do.

    The benefit that Roger Smith gains from targeting bloggers and media makers specifically was played out right here on my blog by what I did next: I talked about it. Further, I showed you a video so you could make your own decisions.

    The point, David, is that should someone who read this post be booking something in New York City in the coming months, they’ll at least consider the Roger Smith. Do you think with hundreds of options that it’s a small feat? Not me.

    So, we might beg to differ, but I see this as a great marketing move.

  • Anonymous

    Dear David K.,
    From a purely financial standpoint, I couldn’t agree more about ‘making money’ at this rate. We need to promote, advertise and expose our business to as many people as possible. We are choosing to extend bloggers a discount because it is a market segment that we want to embrace. Social Media at The Roger Smith Hotel is a life-style not a new method of ‘bait n’ switch’. We were a sponsor at Twestivalnyc, our in-house video team Panman Productions was involved with all the live-streaming for SMWNYC, another blogger – Lisa deBruin @winedivergirl, was also here over the weekend and had similar compliments towards our hotel, the service and the wonderful staff/family we have.
    As the Director of F&B and resident SM assistant to Adam, my goal is to make everyone a ‘VIP’ (3 of the worst letters in hospitality) If you come and spend 10 minutes in our bar having a coffee or a week here filming and blogging our commitment to you is making your moments turn into memories.
    Thank you for your insight ~ just remember, here at The Roger Smith Hotel every guest is very important.
    p.s. As a side note we have booked 11 events since last week all from people exposed to the hotel through direct SM efforts.
    Stay social, stay real, stay connected.

  • http://rogersmithlife.com Brian Simpson (Roger Smith Hotel)

    Dear David K.,
    From a purely financial standpoint, I couldn’t agree more about ‘making money’ at this rate. We need to promote, advertise and expose our business to as many people as possible. We are choosing to extend bloggers a discount because it is a market segment that we want to embrace. Social Media at The Roger Smith Hotel is a life-style not a new method of ‘bait n’ switch’. We were a sponsor at Twestivalnyc, our in-house video team Panman Productions was involved with all the live-streaming for SMWNYC, another blogger – Lisa deBruin @winedivergirl, was also here over the weekend and had similar compliments towards our hotel, the service and the wonderful staff/family we have.
    As the Director of F&B and resident SM assistant to Adam, my goal is to make everyone a ‘VIP’ (3 of the worst letters in hospitality) If you come and spend 10 minutes in our bar having a coffee or a week here filming and blogging our commitment to you is making your moments turn into memories.
    Thank you for your insight ~ just remember, here at The Roger Smith Hotel every guest is very important.
    p.s. As a side note we have booked 11 events since last week all from people exposed to the hotel through direct SM efforts.
    Stay social, stay real, stay connected.

  • http://twitter.com/franswaa frank

    Wow … I love the sharing going on here. I can appreciate the variety of thoughts/comments especially between David, Chris and Brian.

    Overall It looks to have been a great experience for Chris and brought some nice buzz to the hotel. Though i tend to agree with David on his 3rd point – i doubt I’d get the same treatment :) … but I’m cool with that. @chrisbrogan has done a lot in the SM space and it makes total sense to extend this kind of services to folks like him who benefit from the experience and spread a good word about the hotel to the thousands of people who see his content.

    All that said, it’s also cool to see that this strategy is a way of life for the hotel. I would have never thought hotels were this into social media … at least down to the personal level that this interaction has taken – not just broadcasting, but engaging people. Many props to Brian and the rest of the hotel staff!

    I will definitely think of this hotel the next time im in NYC so the strategy Brian and his hotel are taking seems to be working very well :)


    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  • http://twitter.com/franswaa frank

    Wow … I love the sharing going on here. I can appreciate the variety of thoughts/comments especially between David, Chris and Brian.

    Overall It looks to have been a great experience for Chris and brought some nice buzz to the hotel. Though i tend to agree with David on his 3rd point – i doubt I’d get the same treatment :) … but I’m cool with that. @chrisbrogan has done a lot in the SM space and it makes total sense to extend this kind of services to folks like him who benefit from the experience and spread a good word about the hotel to the thousands of people who see his content.

    All that said, it’s also cool to see that this strategy is a way of life for the hotel. I would have never thought hotels were this into social media … at least down to the personal level that this interaction has taken – not just broadcasting, but engaging people. Many props to Brian and the rest of the hotel staff!

    I will definitely think of this hotel the next time im in NYC so the strategy Brian and his hotel are taking seems to be working very well :)


    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  • http://www.davidkinard.com David Kinard

    The other day I asked on Twitter what is the shelf-life of a social media conversation? Does the number or frequency of entries limit the exploration and depth of a topic? Well, I am pleased to see the depth of this conversation and the quality of responses — well after the original post.

    Kudos to Brian Simpson of Roger Smith for responding. I am really glad you did that as it reinforces your commitment to be a part of the social conversation. I also appreciated that Chris commented — even if he did disagree with my original post. And, for the record, I stand corrected in that it appears the Roger Smith Hotel is indeed tracking the impact of its social media participation.

    Indeed, in troubling economic times, I applaud the hotel for reaching out to a niche group and working to meet their needs. Hospitality is a fierce market to compete in, and servicing the unique needs of specific audiences is a great way to gain new business. I look forward to reading about the success of the hotel in the WSJ someday soon!

    – David Kinard

  • http://www.davidkinard.com David Kinard

    The other day I asked on Twitter what is the shelf-life of a social media conversation? Does the number or frequency of entries limit the exploration and depth of a topic? Well, I am pleased to see the depth of this conversation and the quality of responses — well after the original post.

    Kudos to Brian Simpson of Roger Smith for responding. I am really glad you did that as it reinforces your commitment to be a part of the social conversation. I also appreciated that Chris commented — even if he did disagree with my original post. And, for the record, I stand corrected in that it appears the Roger Smith Hotel is indeed tracking the impact of its social media participation.

    Indeed, in troubling economic times, I applaud the hotel for reaching out to a niche group and working to meet their needs. Hospitality is a fierce market to compete in, and servicing the unique needs of specific audiences is a great way to gain new business. I look forward to reading about the success of the hotel in the WSJ someday soon!

    – David Kinard

  • Anonymous

    David, Frank & Chris,
    I love this – this is what we need to learn and most importantly improve our efforts in regards to SM as a whole. We are ready for critism, more importantly we are ready to react when it comes.
    I appreciate ALL the feedback and banter and thank you personally for being an important part of our learning curve.
    Let’s all keep this up and we will all succeed!
    Bsimi

  • Brian Simpson

    David, Frank & Chris,
    I love this – this is what we need to learn and most importantly improve our efforts in regards to SM as a whole. We are ready for critism, more importantly we are ready to react when it comes.
    I appreciate ALL the feedback and banter and thank you personally for being an important part of our learning curve.
    Let’s all keep this up and we will all succeed!
    Bsimi

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  • http://www.beyondbreakthroughs.com coachpalmer

    Great example of social media in action to create real value for the participants and generate revenue for a business.

  • http://www.beyondbreakthroughs.com Michael Palmer

    Great example of social media in action to create real value for the participants and generate revenue for a business.

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