resort marketing

Interview with Anand Patel, Founder of

July 21  |  Social Networks  |   Simon

Recently I’ve been enjoying the beta-test of, a new professional and social network for hoteliers and hospitality professionals. I’ve been sharing my knowledge and chatting with hotel industry members and had a chance to meet the founder, Anand Patel. He’s agreed to have an interview with me to share what it’s all about.

Simon: Hi Anand, please fill our readers in on the basic concept and features for TalkHotels

Anand: The concept for TalkHotels is simple: create a free networking tool for hospitality professionals to exchange ideas, opinions, and reviews of products and services. Hotels continue to face more challenges each year and I noticed there wasn’t a single tool they could use to get reliable, up-to-date, organized information from their peers. Of course, there’s trade magazines and a few notable hospitality blogs but that conversation is one-way; there isn’t much dialogue there between the people that are involved in day-to-day operations.

Simon: Give me a little history on what inspired TalkHotels

Anand: It really stemmed from the early experience I gained by working with hotels around the world. I made websites to help pay my way through college and the majority of my clients were in the hotel business so naturally, I heard stories about how difficult it became to find reliable information when you needed it most. With each story I heard, the idea for TalkHotels grew until I felt I had a pretty good, sustainable model to take to market. I guess the purest inspiration I had was the fact that nothing like TalkHotels existed before. I wanted to provide an authentic solution to a real-world problem and I believe I’m on the right track.

Simon: Here at Linkbuildr we’re pretty excited about how you are connecting vendors and services together with the hotel industry, Please elaborate.

Anand: The TalkHotels ‘Shop’ experience is designed to give hoteliers access to the largest collection of vendors and local service providers, along with unbiased reviews from their peers. If you operate a franchise hotel, you can’t just work with anyone so we wanted to provide our members with a catalog of vendors that was custom-built for you and the brands you’re involved with. As we grow and we get more vendors on board, we plan on introducing a handful of tools to make the buying process even easier for hotel operators. Simply put, the vision is to equip hotel operators with all the information they need in a concise manner to make educated, informed decisions on the go.

Simon: I see TalkHotels is taking on an environmental initiative as well. Tell us about these plans and your collaboration with

Anand: Yes, the environmental initiatives were something I wanted to incorporate from the beginning because I’m aware of the impact hotels and travel/tourism in general has on the environment. As TalkHotels grows, I want to use our voice to help raise awareness and look for authentic solutions to reduce the impact hotels have on the environment. Right now, we’re planting a tree for each invite that’s requested. Later, we plan on introducing several other environmental initiatives for hotels and travelers to participate in.


Simon: Are you planning a mobile app version of TalkHotels?

Anand: Yes, that’s definitely something we’re working on in the near future. Before we fully jumped into creating a mobile version of TalkHotels, we wanted to build up our member base and gain insight as to what we can improve, what we can ditch, which features were deemed the most important, etc. We’re still in the process of gathering this information but we’ll definitely be unveiling an app for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and iPad in the near future.

Simon: Do you have plans for any additional features or services from TalkHotels?

Anand: Absolutely. I wish I could share more information but at this point, we’re still in the planning stages. Stay tuned, though, because we’re going to be introducing some new services that we feel our members will enjoy and gain tremendous value from.

Simon: TalkHotels is still in beta testing, do you know when you plan to launch officially?

Anand: We’re getting there. We still have about 200 invites to grant so once we grant those we’ll give those people ample time to sign up and tour TalkHotels. After that, we’ll open up the invite system so that our existing members can then invite people they know in the industry. In fact, we have some interactive promotions and campaigns planned for our existing members so that we can share TalkHotels with even more people. We plan on keeping it invite-only because we want our members to have total power to let in people who they feel will contribute to the TalkHotels network.

Simon: Thanks for your time Anand. For anyone involved or who follows this industry you really see the progressive nature that people outside don’t pick up on. The trends of the modern traveler are evolving at an accelerating rate, with new niches and new needs that constantly challenge hotels. For instance I just discovered a new category I’m slowly getting sucked into called the “micro-tripper”. It’s being built around the popularity of flash sales, private travel sales and group buying sites and is made of people interested in very short or last minute vacations. While there are always naysayers when any new social network arrives, the size of the global hospitality industry is big enough to warrant its own. And with the constant changes we’re seeing in travel,  the demand within the industry for this will only grow. The Linkbuildr team is excited to see how the community expands and what new features are integrated. I’d be happy to check in with you for another post in the near future.

If you’re in the hospitality industry, or supply a product or service for hotels, make sure to check out TalkHotels. Right now it’s an invite-only network, so please visit to request an invite. And remember, they’ll plant a tree just for your request!


TalkHotels on Facebook


TalkHotels on Twitter


Email Anand – anandp[at]

Follow Simon on Twitter: @S_Gerard

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Miramonte Resort Social Branding: Luxury Resorts Take Note

May 19  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

Luxury hotels and resorts seem to be a little slow and pokey to embrace social, and sometimes it’s hard to get them in a groove as a client. I wanted to showcase a luxury resort we are not affiliate with, and hopefully inspire your team to get caught up. What I liked about the Miramonte, besides its location and amenities, was it’s social media efforts on a plethora of social platforms. I also wanted to get across that not everything needs to be viral or link bait, but just solid content that gets your message across. Hopefully the folks who run the Miramonte don’t mind me using them as an example, but I couldn’t resist as they’re doing a damn fine job.

When you’re a luxury resort of sorts, you’re already a sought after experience that hopefully alone is enough to get a viral effect going. Strutting your stuff across a few of the top social media platforms should be a kick start to an easy social marketing campaign. Your pictures, HD video, deals and celebrity visits are all bases you should have covered. The Miramonte has a great thing going on with their social media efforts, and while it may not be of rock star status yet, they’re heading down the right path. Let’s take a look at just some of the efforts that are driving them businesses through social interaction.

The Blog:

Of course a good blog is in order and the Miramonte is doing an ok job on their blog. While I think a good dosing of images and video could be added to make it more vibrant, they’re getting in solid content for the search spiders. It seems their Facebook Page is getting all the pictures, videos and social interaction and that’s a trend we’ll see more of down the road. We all know more people spend their time on Facebook than any other site, so this may be a sign of the times for blogs (in certain industries).

What they do different than almost all other resorts we’ve seen or worked on is offer people to guest blog. This was a nifty feature to have found and I think it’s a brilliant step to better selling their service. Just imagine your blog getting free great content from the people who pay to stay…just awesome!



Just about any luxury resort is worthy of video marketing mainly because each place is usually stunning. The Miramonte has a crazy nice location just two hours outside of LA, and they took advantage of this with a great mini video. You’ll see below that it’s nothing crazy, just shows off what they’re all about and even some summer deals. This kind of video marketing should lead to a lot of sales if they keep it up! This one was done by Point 7 West.



A lot of people struggle with Twitter, especially if they don’t have a dedicated marketing team. I can see how people don’t get involved, but in the hotel world that can be a huge mistake. The more social you can be the better off your business will be as well. The folks at the Miramonte have definitely been active here and what I liked especially about their Twitter stream was the direct interaction. Most companies just stick to tweeting their latest blog post or a deal, both of which there is nothing wrong with, just don’t make this your bread and Twitter butter.

Twitter is a great way to bridge the gap with your customers, both potential and past. It’s also a great way to get people to return by constantly being in their brain. We’ve even had a lot of success by firing off special deals and coupons to individual Twitter users…and it bloody works!


I really really liked what they’re doing with their Facebook Page. It goes beyond the normal wall posts and they seem to be really embracing a lot of features. You’ll see from my amazing Photoshop skills on all the features they’re taking advantage of(such as Reviews, Book a room, Youtube, Photos, Blog, Active Wall). This is all really good stuff and this is an area I want our hotel clients to take note of, as well all you hoteliers reading this post.

Since I’ve never been in contact with them I have no idea how that Book A Room feature is working for them from the Facebook Page. I can safely say that not including this feature will leave you at a loss, even if you only make one sale a month. From what we’ve seen on our end with other clients, the direct social contact through Facebook leads to a way higher conversion rate.


Last but not least on the list to mention is Foursquare, and I honestly didn’t expect to see the Miramonte so active on here. Bravo! Their hip clients are checking in at a very good rate here and that’s all you can really hope for. If I were to offer any advice here it would be to jump on the mayor deal marketing opportunity. Besides that you can get a link from your venue page so why not utilize that and add a little more diversity to that link profile?

Foursquare doesn’t take much effort and if your mayor deal is attractive enough, you can pretty much set it and forget it. Make sure you befriend people who check in as well which goes to show you’re a company with real people behind it, and that you actually care.

Well I hope this inspires, helps and encourages a lot of you folks out there. As always, I’d love to hear comments, suggestions and tips regarding anything talked about here. If anyone from Miramonte wants to pipe in then we’d be more than thrilled! For the rest of you folks who are near LA and need a pampering, then check out their spring specials and deals.

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