A May Fair Experience

As I approach, I notice something I’m not expecting to see.  Flash, Flash, Flash.  Unaware what it is I am seeing, I cross the road towards the main entrance of The May Fair Hotel and look over my shoulder.  Flash, Flash, Flash.  Then I realise what I am seeing, and why.  I’m outside The May Fair Hotel, one of the most exclusive hotels in central London and the paps are celebrity spotting.  Not me of course, but someone just leaving in a flash Jaguar XK complete with chauffeur and blacked out windows.  Something told me I was about to see something rather special this afternoon.

Everyone has heard of The May Fair Hotel, but it wasn’t a property I had ever been inside, let alone stayed in, so when I was invited to see the property I jumped at the chance.  I should also explain how this came about, and it was another great proof point for the use of Twitter, as this was how Hotel Insight and the PR company representing The May Fair got talking in the first place.

I’ll try to give you a feel for this property, but it really does sell itself.  Upon entering the hotel you get a feel of what’s to come.  Although the lobby is not as grand and ostentatious as you may expect, its the sheer professionalism that provides you with the grand impression.  An ubandance of staff, more than I have seen in any other hotel, ready to help you with any requirement you may have. 

There’s so much to this hotel, I don’t know where to start, so I guess the bedrooms are as good a place as any.  Whether you’re looking at luxurious, mind-blowing suites or you starting off with a Superior Room, you can expect subtle upmarket touches – the Bang and Olufsen televisions in every room, luxurious bathrooms complete with television set at the foot of the bath, iPod docking stations, and yes, my favourite thing, complimentary wi-fi throughout the hotel (regular readers of my blog understand my passion for wi-fi!).

The suites are grand and unique, bigger than most people’s own home.  All of the touches above are included, but it’s the state of the art black granite kitchen complete with large selection of spirits, dinning room, large Bang & Olufsen TV and decked balcony area.  Entering one of these fabulous suites, your mind conjures images of those who have stepped, and stayed before you.

I think one reason this property has been so popular over the years is the fact that everything you need is on site – glamorous casino, trendy bar and restaurant, gym and spa.  Not to mention the state of the art conference facilities including cinema room and meeting rooms, this property has everything for business, leisure or even celebrity guest.  The Spa is incredible – you must treat yourself if you get the chance – genuinely one of the most calming atmosphere’s I’ve experienced in a hotel’s spa, and the amazing stone water feature at the entrance is beautiful – check it out online.

But I don’t just want to talk about how lovely the property is.  The real purpose of my visit was to look at how  The May Fair Hotel use social media and online marketing (which they do very well) and how they make such a unique brand stand out, in the right manner.  It’s not just the social media that’s been well invested in – the website is very attractive and informative, complete with booking engine and an abundance of information.  There’s even a great virtual tour facility available online so you can have a good look around the bedrooms and facilities that The May Fair has to offer.  To find out more about how such a well established hotel uses online social media I spoke to Sarah Priddis from Mason Williams, The May Fair’s PR company, and asked her all about their social media experience so far.

“Social media has allowed us to open the doors of The May Fair and show customers the full personality of this iconic hotel.  With daily updates on platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube we’re able to engage in conversation with followers who love to hear about and talk about The May Fair.  We also update our blog at least three times a week so that readers can see what’s happening at the May Fair with stories coming from all levels of staff within the hotel.  As well as driving extra traffic to our websites, social media has allowed us to engage with our customers and encourage repeat businesses through loyalty”.

I think the key thing here is that The May Fair recognise the need to interact with their guests.  It must be difficult for a hotel with such a name and reputation to embark on social media, after all, occupancies are always high and we don’t see any obvious decline in ADR that the rest of the London hotel market experienced over the last couple of years in the downturn.  So, why bother with social media at all?  Quite simply it’s a key requirement, no matter what type of property you have, and Sarah’s hit the nail on the head.  You need to talk to customers and listen to what they are saying, it’s key to any hotel business, whether you an independent budget hotel chain, or one of the most famous five-star properties in the Capitol.

All hotels have to learn to diversify their business and sticking an association or deal with key events is great publicity, and if you match your brand to the right type of event, there are so many benefits to your image.  The May Fair is no exception and used its long standing association with the film industry and has cemented this role with a series of announcements in the run-up to October’s 54th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express.  An agreement with the BFI sees the hotel playing host to the 16-day festival for the next two years after a successful inaugural event last year. One of the world’s leading independent film festivals – Raindance – is also to be based at the hotel in September. Finally the hotel has announced that it has created the post of Film Maker in Residence supporting independents to create a suite of films about life in London as well as a series of shorts based around celebrity guests at the iconic hotel.

For more information see: The May Fair Hotel and The May Fair Suites

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