What’s New at Chimera Travel?
October 4th, 2011

What’s new at Chimera Travel? A lot, actually.  The summer fueled ideas, creativity and planning, and the result is a fall full of several great new ventures. I figured I’d discuss them in two separate blogs, for length purposes. First, let me say this: don’t worry, Chimera Travel’s travel planning aspect is absolutely not going away. I still love travel, planning and helping people see the world. These new ventures are simply expanding Chimera’s scope of services.

Most of my readers know that I love social media and blogging. All of you, I presume, know that I love to travel and plan travel. Fewer of you probably know that I have a M.S. in International Marketing from St. Joseph’s, which I received five years ago (unless you read my long overdue profile blog an remembered this fact, which would impress me). While Chimera has certainly involved all three of the above, I have been looking to truly combine these skills for a while, and some business planning over the summer allowed me to begin turning this into a reality.

When people ask me how I conduct research for my clients, my number one response is social media. (There’s a connection here – no pun intended – I promise). I have built up a network of followers, fans and truly new friends in the industry through my social media outlets – twitter, linkedin, facebook and now Google+. I have learned who has the most experience in various destinations, regions, and niches (i.e biking tours, culinary travel, etc). I have also made friends and connections located around the world. If I want to know the restaurant that serves the best gnocchi in a certain town in Italy, I know who to contact that’s right at the source. I find these connections invaluable.

One place that I’ve found a hole, however, is stand-alone hotels, often smaller ones. I have never had much trouble get a social media response from someone at a major, or even smaller, hotel chain.  On the other hand, when I tweet out that I’m looking for a luxury, stand-alone hotel for a client at “x” destination, I may get a response from someone who’s been or booked clients there, but rarely receive a response from the hotel directly. This means one of two things – either the hotel doesn’t have a twitter account, or they do but don’t have someone watching over it regularly to respond when queries like mine come through. I suspect, the answer for this gap is a combination of the two. These stand-alone hotels are the type of accommodation I work with most, and yet are the trickiest for me to interact with on social media. I realized that this type of hotel is under-represented in social media – most likely because of resource restraints, both human and/or budgetary. It’s tough for a smaller hotel to pull someone from their marketing team to do social media (I’m not sure this is a good idea anyways) and just as tough sometimes to hire someone full time for the task. These hotels may lack consistent blogging for the same reason. I want to help these hotels. I would like them to be as much in the “playing field” as the chain hotels, as they’re some of my favorites.

I decided to combine my love of travel, social media, marketing and hotels (yes, I truly love hotels) to begin doing social media marketing and blog consulting for stand-alone hotels.  I help create and oversee their social media accounts, create and work on their blogs and can include additional tasks such as website copy, email marketing and e-newsletters/e-publications. Because I believe in being very honest up front, a few things that I can’t do include website design, coding and anything of the like. I can take a look at a website and from the perspective of both the travel professional and traveler give my input on the appeal and the usefulness, as well as my thoughts on the design from a top level. I do not, however, actually create the new design unless you want to go with a blog on WordPress, Blogger or similar templates. However, I have some very contacts contacts that can do this, and am happy to work with them on these tasks if the need arises.

I’m incredibly excited about this new business development. However, as I’m sure you’re not quite as excited as I am – unless you’re a stand alone hotel that needs social media marketing, in which case please contact me! – I’ll end this rather long blog. All kidding aside, if you are in the hotel industry and are interested in my services, or know a property that may be, you may contact me by email at maya@chimera-travel.com or by phone at 856-266-8898.

Finally, I want to add that no means does the lack of social media and blogging apply to all stand-alone hotels. To those that are active in blogging and social media, I thank you for setting an example for others and would love to hear your success stories.

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