Falling for Sequoia & Kings Canyon: (W)right On Rocks Latest Press Trip

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This month, (W)right On President Julie Wright and Communications Strategist Erica Schlesinger led a group of six writers on a whirlwind adventure of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and Yosemite National Park. The media familiarization trip, or “fam,” was our second this year. Along with client partner Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, (W)right On’s hospitality public relations team executes spring and fall media fam trips to introduce writers from far and wide to the beauty of these national parks and lodgings like Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon and Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia.

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The ladies of WOC’s hospitality PR team reached new heights at Sequoia’s Moro Rock

Media attendees included Cynthia Dial, a freelance writer who contributes to outlets including JustLuxe.com; Eddie Rivera, Living Section Editor at Pasadena Now; Anneli Rufus, Travel Editor at Oakland Magazine and Alameda Magazine and regular contributor to publications including the San Francisco Chronicle and Huffington Post; Dana Zucker, a writer at TravelingMom.com and owner/editor at TriWivesClub.com and Mom’s Good Eats; TerriAnn van Gosliga, a writer at Tourist Meets Traveler and founder of the lifestyle blog Cookies and Clogs; and Sarah Pittard, a writer at TravelingMom.com and owner/editor at SoloMomTakesFlight.com. Between their main publications alone, the guests reach close to 5 million readers each month.

Group fam

Back row, left to right: Eddie Rivera, Kent Dial (husband of writer Cynthia Dial), Sarah Pittard, Julie Wright and Dana Zucker

Front row, left to right: Erica Schlesinger, Cynthia Dial, Frans van Gosliga (husband of writer TerriAnn van Gosliga), TerriAnn van Gosliga and Anneli Rufus

While past fams have drummed up great results in publications including VIA, Westways and city magazines as well as regional dailies and weeklies, this fall’s was uniquely successful in two specific ways – its social media engagement and the fact that WOC brought writers who lived not just out-of-state (Omaha, Nebraska), but out of the country (Toronto, Canada). The featured properties have accommodated a number of far-reaching writers on individual visits, but this was the first fam to host anyone not from “drive market” states like California, Nevada, Oregon and Arizona. It was a fantastic opportunity to expand reach and forge new connections. And, with a particularly social-savvy attendance base and the implementation of assigned hashtags, the fam secured 103 tweets, 112 retweets and 1,060 Instagram actions, to name a few key metrics. It was also amazing to see how many writers found a new side of themselves in the parks — take a look at how Anneli rediscovered her “Little Me,” Sarah got in touch with her inner nature rebel and Dana saw the beauty and tranquility she never knew she was missing.

From “roughing it minus the rough part” at the AAA Four Diamond Tenaya Lodge, relaxing in its LEED-certified Ascent Spa and dining in its upscale Embers Restaurant; to taking in the USA’s deepest canyon and getting a firsthand look at John Muir Lodge’s brand new look at Kings Canyon; to looking up, and up and up at the General Sherman tree – the largest living thing on earth – and marveling at the Sequoia stars… it was definitely a trip for all to remember.

Want to talk to Julie, Erica and the WOC team about achieving results like these for your properties? Connect at info@wrightoncomm.com or visit www.wrightoncomm.com to learn more.

Twitter’s New “Buy” Button is Ready to Shake Up Your Social Media

Twitter's New Buy Button Ready to Shake Up Your World

In today’s digital-loving environment, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t shop online. Retailers tempt with exclusive products, special deals and shipping incentives; and Cyber Monday is quickly on its way to taking over Black Friday, just about the biggest brick-and-mortar shopping day ever. So e-commerce has the world wrapped around its proverbial finger – but what about s-commerce? Yes, s-commerce, or social media commerce, is A Thing. Platforms like The Fancy (like a purchase-minded Pinterest) are in on the game, and Facebook started sussing out a Buy button in July. But people today move at a rapid-fire pace, and need something to keep up – enter Twitter’s new Buy button.

“We are beginning to test a new way for you to discover and buy products on Twitter,” the company announced last week. “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun. Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and act on them right in the Twitter app.” Already tested out by influential retailers, nonprofts and music acts including Burberry, The Nature Conservancy and Pharrell Williams, the “Buy” button works like it sounds – within the Twitter app, users can view a tweet offering a product. If they like what they see, they simply need to tap “Buy Now” to pull up more details, enter shipping and payment info and – done. Although results of the test run haven’t been provided, we at WOC think this will be a game-changer in terms of how brands do business on the Web – and on social media to boot. It’s a streamlined and straightforward way to make a purchase, and it’s intuitive – it speaks to the ever-present need to get things done and get them done fast. Where networks like The Fancy and Facebook encourage browsing, Twitter’s buying feature works just like the platform itself – real-time and easily consumed on the go. This tool is in beta for just the elite members of the Twitterverse for the time being, but it doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead. Brands with marketable goods and services are wise to start thinking about how they can leverage this for success once it’s available to all. Sure, clothes and music are a great fit for this, but ponder how you can step outside the box and be an early adopter in your industry. For hotels, for example, this feature could act as an excellent sales tool. When new seasonal packages or meetings promotions roll around, tweet them out with the option to buy. Booking directly isn’t supported (yet), but a Twitter follower could easily purchase a voucher and connect with you to arrange their visit. You could take it one step further and create a great first impression, as well as maybe secure a true social media evangelist – when Twitter-sourced fans check in, greet them with a special treat and a note encouraging them to tweet about their stay with a preset hashtag. Nonprofits could use “Buy Now” to sell event tickets and donations by creating buy amounts, then let people buy $5, $10, $20 and so on. Much easier to manage – and more likely to make people feel at ease – than a buy-with-hashtag situation. Or, for agencies or inidviduals touting thought leadership, you could peddle whitepapers and access to webinars reserved just for your loyal Twitter fans. Any brand could build excitement and high-quality followers by releasing regular specials on a certain day, too – people would quickly look forward to “Travel Deal Thursday” or “Webinar Wednesday.” Have you tried out s-commerce, or will you now that it’s becoming so easy? Talk to us about it @wrightoncomm. By Erica Schlesinger, Communications Strategist

Hospitality Marketing: Going Mobile in the Digital Age

Hotel management consultant Robert A. Rauch of R.A. Rauch & Associates recently hosted his second annual Hotel Forecast and Digital Marketing Conference with additional presentation by e-marketer Adam Brownstein. Brownstein is co-founder of buuteeq, a firm that provides a digital marketing system for hotels. Both presentations offered great food for thought for hospitality marketers.

In his opening, Rauch boldly stated that the information age is over and that we have entered a “digital tsunami age.” He explained that the hospitality landscape is evolving quickly as customers increasingly turn to online and mobile platforms for all forms of communication, sharing, planning and booking. But, now more than ever, the digital landscape is also driving all aspects of customer service and engagement, before, during and after a trip.

Brownstein later noted that while mobile traffic makes up 15 percent of current hotel website traffic volumes, smartphone activity has tripled in the last year alone. Approximately 30 percent of website traffic and 65 percent of same-day hotel reservations now come via mobile phones. He also noted that 57 percent of mobile users will not recommend a hotel with a bad mobile site.


What makes a good mobile site? In a nutshell, it should automatically deliver a tailored experience. A few ways to accomplish this include:

  • Resizing and compressing images and enlarging text
  • Displaying contact information prominently
  • Linking seamlessly to maps
  • Not using outdated flash technology
  • Using a mobile optimized booking engine
  • Running mobile-only promotions to target on-the-go travelers with last-minute deals

But having a mobile site is only one piece of the puzzle. Both Rauch and Brownstein agreed that in today’s instantaneous speed of ingesting information, a hotel’s main site and mobile site also should:

  • Not skimp on high-quality photos! Photos sell a hotel even before marketing copy, with nearly 73 percent of users clicking on photos of rooms after visiting the homepage.
  • Keep things simple. As soon as a guest decides a site requires too much focus, effort, or time to find what they need, they will likely move on with without booking a room.

More advice for hoteliers included making sure their brand is on social media, and providing guests the opportunity to book through every applicable platform, such as the hotel’s Facebook page. Rauch also recommended that hotels integrate their TripAdvisor feed on their website. His reasoning? TripAdvisor is a great driver of bookings but also a leak. When potential guests are forced to leave a hotel’s site to read reviews of the property, they end up also reading the competitions’. Lastly, while TripAdvisor is still the leading trusted source of travel reviews, Rauch said to keep an eye on Google. The relentless competitor has made strong forays in hospitality and therefore hotels should at the very least have a presence on Google+ and Google Places.

The lessons imparted by Rauch and Brownstein can be applied to just about any business. Is yours effectively capturing today’s digital generation?