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April 20, 2006

The Concierge Should Be The Blogger

When I go to a hotel in a strange city I want service and information from the hotel. I want to know the hotel's facilities and what's the nightlife around town and within several blocks of the hotel?

Several PR bloggers have criticized the new Sheraton blog for being a dud. I thought I'd take a look and give the blog a grade.

"Nightlife, Philly Style," one of the entries posted by the Lobby's writers describes the nightlife and restaurants surrounding the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia. I thought the entry was short, and well written and if I was a guest to the hotel give me the sort of information I'd like to receive from the concierge desk, so I gave this post a B. However, next time have one of your writers or hotel employees add some personal element into this type of article. What's are the drink specials at the Continental or Cube Libre, what special events are happening in the area?

"Westin Denarau Resort & Spa Opens," definitely receives a failing grade, pure marketing puff about the resort. Enough said. Here I agree with B.L. Ochman when she said a number of the articles on the blog were duds. B.L. Thinks that the Lobby's content is more advertorial and editorial.

"Head and shoulders above the rest," ugh, this is not good defiantly a D. The article is about the spa facility at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel in London, I would have like to have read the writers experiences after taking a massage at the facility. Was it worth the cost?

Reading through a number of posts I see mainly D grade posts, with the occasionally C & B when the writer catalogs the surrounding nightlife for the guests. I'd suggest some different content strategies for the blog. I did not get the impression the writers have ever been to the hotels, inject some personality in the posts and have them write about their experiences at the hotel. As Robert French suggests, even dare to criticize the hotel and facilities.

Also, the blog does not really make sense when it comes to geographic strategy. I think its unlikely a guest would search though each of the posts for info on the hotel they are just about to visit. The four pull down menu categories listing city, country, brand and category partly solve that issue. But to me it would make more sense to have different blogs that cover different regions.

If the PR blogosphere community has learned anything from the example of the Stonyfield blogs, having someone who is involved in the trade blogs produces some really interesting content. One of the two remaining Stonyfield blogs is run by an organic farmer and successful. For the Sheraton to follow a similar strategy I think the perfect person to blog or to interview for blog content is the Hotel Concierge. Concierges should have knowledge and passion for their city and hotel and style.

Thanks Robert French

Posted by johncass at April 20, 2006 10:49 AM

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Tracked on April 20, 2006 5:07 PM


Enjoyed your critique, John. I agree. The blog needs some personality. The concierge, or any of the employees - for that matter, would be better than what they have now.

I do think it could be a useful tactic, though. But, your suggestions for better organization so that posts are easier to find, is a good one, too. A category for each hotel / spa wouldn't hurt.

Posted by: Robert French at April 20, 2006 3:34 PM

Hi Robert, Yes your right opening up a blog and revealing the personality of the bloggers is very important.

I think every blog needs a critique every now and then, I know mine blogs certainly do! Reaching an auidence is always difficult and finding the right tone takes some time. I know that from my conversations with corporate bloggers and my experience as a brand corporate blogger blogging is a progression and constant learning process.

I hope the lobby writers listen to some of your ideas on your post. You had some good suggestions.

Posted by: John Cass at April 20, 2006 9:40 PM

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