American Marketer


Fairmont heads on road trips to showcase property possibilities

June 18, 2014

East Coast Road Trip East Coast Road Trip


Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is tapping the social media reach of travel bloggers for road trips showcasing brand properties.

Travel blogger Liisa Sullivan embarked on the first trip from Washington to Boston, stopping at multiple hotels and wandering into the surrounding areas. Summer is the season for exploration and publicizing a road trip is an effective way to display what can be done at certain properties.

"We see great value in working with bloggers, and over the years we’ve cultivated individual relationships with targeted bloggers around the world," said Mansi Vagt, director of digital marketing for the Americas at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Toronto.

"At Fairmont, bloggers and other social media influencers are taken into account as part of our larger social media strategy, especially as it relates to niche markets such as family/multi-generational travel, spas, golf, etc.," he said.

One city at a time

"An East Coast Road Trip: Americana with a Touch of Class" is part of a series that includes six driving trips that will unfold throughout the summer. As consumers begin to finalize summer plans and hear about Fairmont's campaign, they may look to the trips for inspiration.

Ms. Sullivan is guiding social media followers through the East coast excursion, which is a three to four day, 450-mile trip. She first starts out at The Fairmont Washington D.C. Georgetown, where she takes a chocolate tour, walks along the C&O canal and stops at Martin's Tavern for an American meal.


C&O Canal in Washington, from Liisa Sullivan for Fairmont

The next hotel she reaches is The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Her stay in New York is marked by stops at Riverside Park, the Hudson River, The Leopard at des Artistes and The Plaza's The Rose Club.


The Plaza Hotel, from Liisa Sullivan for Fairmont

Boston is the final destination on the itinerary. Here, Ms. Sullivan stays at the Fairmont Copley Plaza and gets some shopping done at the North End boutiques.


Fairmont Copley Plaza, from Liisa Sullivan for Fairmont

Ms. Sullivan's full experience can be read here. Fairmont is inviting fans to participate on social media with the hashtag #FairmontSummer.


Fairmont Facebook post

Luxury travelers are becoming more discerning when planning trips, expecting more original experiences and more options.

In response, hotel brands are tapping top travel and lifestyle bloggers with increasing regularity to kickstart social campaigns, illuminate what can be found at certain properties and to build connections with highly concentrated audiences.

Although hotel brands are fully capable of explaining the assets of a property to consumers, travelers are often wary of taking advice directly from the company that stands to benefit from giving that advice. Consequently, leveraging bloggers can help brands achieve a tone of authenticity that may resonate with consumers, while reaching larger pockets of consumers (see story).

Cruising in luxury

Other hotel brands have generated travel interest through road trip collaborations.

For instance, The Luxury Collection and vintage home decor brand One Kings Lane toured Vermont, Boston and New York and uncovered sales freighted with cultural significance.

Flash sales corresponding to each location on the East coast road trip were triggered for fans to access on One Kings Lane’s Web site. Luxury Collection stoked the anticipation generated by its West coast road trip by recruiting two celebrated bloggers to chart the trip’s course in advance (see story).

Similar to the Luxury Collection, Fairmont will build momentum for successive road trips by staging them one after another and framing them as parts of a whole.

"There will be road trips showcasing Quebec, the Canadian Rockies, California and BC/West Coast," Ms. Vagt said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York