Fairmont Hotels goes social with new website

The Toronto-headquartered hotel chain launches a social media hub for its properites, in an effort to further engage its consumers with the brand and enhance the repeat customer experience.

Capitalizing on a popular tagline it’s been employing in its brand advertising over the past two-and-a half years, the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts chain has launched a new online community portal, EveryonesAnOriginal.com.

David Doucette, parent company Fairmont Raffles Hotels International’s executive director of internet marketing, tells MiC that customer-generated media will fill the site, which is intended as an interactive social hub for Fairmont guests to post vacation photos and videos, enjoy exclusive polls and contests, view hotel and destination content and chat online with other Fairmont travelers.

The site will also include high-quality digital video, podcasts and virtual tours of VIP suites and short vacation vignettes from Fairmont travelers.

To launch the site, Fairmont is hosting a contest where guests are invited to submit their best photos and a short description about it. Three prizes will be offered, including a five-night stay to any Fairmont hotel and a $1,000 airfare credit.

Advertising will not be featured on the site in a traditional way – via ad units – but some presence by strategic partners will make an appearance.

‘The intention is not to have advertising,’ Doucette explains. ‘There are going to be some placement opportunities for our strategic partners, more from an advertorial perspective.

‘For example, Fairmont works quite closely with the National Geographic Society, so some of the joint events that we are putting on will be showcased. Some of the things that we do with Adidas through the Fairmont President’s Club [loyalty program] will get woven into the stories, but nothing from a pure advertising perspective. It’s all based on content that’s relevant to our properties and the experiences that we offer.’

Other Fairmont-friendly strategic partners that might make an appearance include EMI Music, Napa Vintners, American Express, Lexus, BMW Canada, Saks Fifth Avenue and various airlines, but ‘it’s primarily contra,’ Doucette says.

Fairmont is also hoping that word about the site will spread virally, and Doucette says an email blast informing the 1.3 million members of the Fairmont President’s Club database will bring plenty of traffic to the site. The brand is present on Facebook, Flickr and LinkedIn, and the chain is also in the final stages of developing an iPhone app for its customers.

‘The primary goal is more brand engagement and brand understanding,’ says Doucette. ‘We just want to provide more information for our existing guests. So in terms of raising awareness for the site, we’re definitely focusing on people who have stayed with us before.’