Social Media at Altitude: A Beautiful New Challenge

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My annual trip to Telluride, Colorado, in March was my best yet, which is saying a lot.  I fell in love with with the town, its people and the wilderness that engulfs them on my first visit, circa 1980.

The trip wasn’t a vacation per say. I had work to do for clients back home, and I was eager to pitch a social media campaign to the owners of the specular hotel where we always stay.

But in paradise, work tends to take a back seat. Week No. 1 turned into a Munno family romp. My brother and cousin, who live in Telluride and manage the Camel’s Garden, put up with a whole mess of us. Watching my 66-year-old father and 6-year old nephew rip up the Telluride Ski Resort together was truly awesome.

On the second week, it was just me, free to explore all of Telluride’s outlandish ski terrain with Mike and Scott, who are outrageously good skiers and generous guides.

I was also able to meet Larry and Michael, the ownership team behind the Camel’s Garden Hotel, for the first time. The Camel’s Garden is a unique place made possible by Telluride’s own uniqueness. It’s a luxury hotel approximately 27 feet from a chair lift, and just a few more feet to the main gondola station.

Yet, it’s the furthest thing from being in some sort of sterile, commercial, prefabricated “base area.” Rather, it’s independently and locally owned and operated, and is perfectly situated in historic downtown Telluride. World-class restaurants are across the street, and the very center of downtown is two short blocks away.

This combination of being virtually on top of the lifts and in the midst of a fun, lively, historic town all at once make the Camel’s Garden the most convenient ski hotel in North America. You can not beat it. It’s also ideally located to access Telluride’s myriad trails and festivals in the summer.

It’s a great honor, then, that I was able to successfully pitch a social media marketing plan for the Camel’s to Michael and Larry. I’m now posting daily to the Camel’s Facebook page and @camelsgarden on Twitter.

Soon, we’ll be launching a blog, an email newsletter and making adjustments to the Camel’s Garden Web site to better highlight the content we create on all of the Camel’s digital platforms. We also want to draw attention to guest-generated content like the reviews the hotel receives on sites like TripAdvisor — the best marketing possible!

Where art thou? foursquare, of course

A capture of how a foursquare update, known as a "check in," appears on my Facebook page.

After hearing Antony Rotolo of Syracuse University‘s iSchool talk about the power of location-based social networking tools like fourquare, I decided to open an account and give it a whirl.

Foursquare (which writes its name lowercase except at the beginning of sentences) allows users to connect with each other and to share their locations through a process called “checking in.”

You can use foursquare on a computer, but it is most powerful when launched on a smartphone, as it can tap into the phone’s GPS and help users determine exactly where they are and what’s around them. Foursquare ties into users’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, which makes it easier to find contacts who also use foursquare. Additionally, this feature turns foursquare into a blogging tool that can enhance posts to those platforms. There is also a foursquare plug-in for WordPress, which I have yet to play with.

As Rotolo explained to students in Ines Mergel‘s New Media Management class, foursquare has clear value to businesses, who tie it into their customer loyalty programs. Customers who “check in” at certain locations get discounts and freebies, which in turn motivate the customers to utilize foursquare more.

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