October 4, 2012
Sofitel Luxury Hotels is reaffirming itself as an authority on high-end travel in the United States through a Tumblr effort that offers consumers city-specific travel guides meant to help them plan a trip.
The Life is Magnifique Tumblr blog acts as an online concierge to cities where Sofitel hotels are located. The effort is likely to single out brand loyalists by offering them content that fits in with the luxury lifestyle.
"By providing our community with fresh content, images and trends, we communicate to them what Sofitel stands for and our brand’s three tenets – culture, design and gastronomy," said Gabriela Navejas, vice president of marketing at Sofitel Luxury Hotels North America, Addison, TX. "This is about brand building and engaging with our community, and sharing the Sofitel experience and story.
"The guest experience is no longer limited to the stay," she said. "The experience starts before their arrival and extends past their departure, and our digital channels, including Tumblr, provide an ideal platform for these interactions.
"We are not only curating the experience for guests during their stay at our properties, but through this new initiative, we can serve as a guide to the most exclusive and sophisticated events throughout the North American cities in which we operate."
The Life is Magnifique Tumblr page can be found at http://lifeismagnifique.tumblr.com. The site’s content is curated by hotel staff in each city.
Consumers can browse all of the content on the landing page or view content by destination. Cities featured include Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington.
Users can narrow down city content by category. These include art/design, fashion, music, food and culture.
Each city corresponds with one of Sofitel’s nine U.S. properties.
The brand is featuring posts on status events, cultural activities, restaurant openings and fashion updates.
For instance, the site currently features photographs from Paris Fashion Week runway shows as lifestyle content.
But for city-specific content, the site features the Hermès Festival des Métiers in San Francisco, the Color Jam sidewalk installation in Chicago and the Yayoi Kusama collection windows in Louis Vuitton’s Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York.
Sofitel is looking to enhance hotel stays through the content as well as reflect the brand in affluent city events, per the hotel brand.
“Tumblr is an effective communication channel for luxury brands and brands that are extremely visual," said Brittany Mills, director of client services for B Culture Media, Atlanta. "Tumblr is not about long blog posts, but it is about style, trends, travel and visual representation.
"The fashion and luxury industries dominate on Tumblr and Life is Magnifique is combining all of those elements into one blog," she said. "Affluent travelers want to know what is trending, what the next hot destination is and what is being represented by the best of the best.
"Affluent travelers want to see what others are saying about a destination and social channels are the best way to get that conversation going and to have it spread for extended reach."
A few luxury brands are adding Tumblr to their social media mix.
For instance, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts maintains a Tumblr blog on which it offers travel, food and fashion content that is representative of its properties around the world.
The blog can be found at http://fourseasonsfotog.tumblr.com. The brand also curates user images on the Tumblr platform for its page.
In addition, Land Rover North America created a Tumblr account that showcases its heritage through creative photography to flaunt the lifestyle behind the automaker in a social media setting.
Land Rover opened its Tumblr account to showcase five groups of photos from photographers around the U.S. who were given access to Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles (see story).
Similar to a branded blog, Tumblr can help luxury brands reaffirm their lifestyle association.
Tumblr can help brands engage with affluent consumers via imagery. It seems that content can be better controlled by the brand in contrast to other social networks such as Instagram.
“True luxury hotels get the delicate balance of push and pull interactions with their patrons, location and overall lifestyle experience,” said Paul Farkas, cofounder of Shoe Week, New York. “While the hospitality sector has its Twitter veterans, brand Facebook Timelines and Pinterest notables, real-time geo-social travel is a long-overdue market sector that should begin to take root next year.
“Tumblr is a strong platform for brands to engage patrons with services, offers, celebrity guests and ambassadors and cultural stories,” he said.
“Its social impact is slipping down the transocial media leaderboard however, with the ‘new-new MySpace’ already looking poised to trump it before getting out of the gate."
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York