Today, I spoke to Jim Petrus, who is the chief operating officer for Trump International Hotels Management LLC, the operating arm of Trump® Hotel Collection. Recently, Jim and his team have created the Trump Hotel Collection’s social media presence, including Twitter and Facebook accounts. In this interview, Jim explains why and how they are using these tools to connect with guests, and more.
We initially launched Twitter accounts for our properties as a way to connect directly with our guests – past, current and future. With our new Facebook page, we have greater control over the look and feel than Twitter does and it gives us the ability to aggregate corporate news, promotions, photos, etc and converse directly with our guests. We can also target a more specific audience of travelers and are already seeing ROI because of our booking widget which allows visitors to book reservations at each of the hotels directly from the page. Playing off its address, Trump SoHo New York launched its Facebook with a 24.6% savings for the first 246 reservations in July and has seen an overwhelming response.
How are you going to use the Facebook page to engage with your audience?
Trump Hotel Collection’s Facebook page is meant to bring to life the elements that differentiate our brand that we hope will drive trial and ultimately loyalty. We launched with an exclusive recipe from Jean Georges at Trump International Hotel & Tower New York, a sneak peek of Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower Panama which will open early next year, and beauty/wellness tips from The Spa at Trump. In our first week of launching the page, we were connected with over 1,000 people.
What impact do you think social media has on your hotel experience so far? What can we expect in the future?
We are always listening to feedback from our guests whether it’s a Tweet, a wall post or an online review and are sure to respond accordingly. One of the things that we’ve noticed is our guests are starting to “check in” to our hotels, restaurants and lounges on social media sites.
How important is Ivanka’s personal brand in building the Trump Hotel social media presence?
Having Ivanka, who has the most Twitter followers of any luxury brand, as a spokesperson has been an incredible asset for us. She was very instrumental in planning and executing Trump Hotel Collection’s entry into social networking and acts as the face of the brand.
Do you think it’s easier to market a well-known brand using social media?
It is easier for us to standout from all of the “clutter” on Twitter and Facebook with the Trump name. Being a nimble, entrepreneurial hotel brand, we are constantly challenging ourselves to try things that haven’t been done before, including special contests and giveaways that other brands don’t have the access to. The celebrity status of the Trump family provides countless opportunities to create additional interest and excitement around any announcement or promotion. All of which becomes a point of differentiation for our brand.
Jim Petrus is chief operating officer for Trump International Hotels Management LLC, the operating arm of Trump® Hotel Collection. His appointment in 2006 propels an already illustrious career that has included more than 30 years of management-level hospitality industry experience. In his current role, he is responsible for oversight of the development and operation of the new, compelling luxury hotel brand for the 21st century. Prior to joining the Trump Organization, Petrus held senior level positions with Starwood Hotels and Resorts in both operations and brand operations as senior vice president of operations. Petrus’ association with Starwood began in 1998, when the company acquired Westin Hotels and Resorts, where Petrus was serving as area managing director covering Southern California since joining Westin in 1993. Earlier in his career, Petrus distinguished himself with a series of general manager positions within Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.