The Best Use of Social Media… Ever

I’m a big user of social media.  I use it to keep in touch with family and friends, share information for business purposes, build brands for my clients, etc.  If you don’t follow me on Twitter (@406Northlane) please do!  (Though, I can’t promise that I won’t offend you at some point 🙂 )  Also, have you checked out the 406Northlane Facebook page and “liked it”?  I could keep plugging… but I digress…

I was recently on a business trip to San Francisco and I encountered the greatest use of social media I’d ever run across.

I was in town for a conference which was being held at the Westin St. Francis –  I was lucky enough to be staying at the same hotel which is always a treat cause you don’t have to worry about walking or taking a cab to and from the conference.  When I got there, I checked in on Foursquare (which I shared with my Twitter account).  Almost immediately I received a Twitter mention from the Westin’s Twitter account (@WestinStFr) thanking me for the check in and welcoming me to San Francisco.  I have to say I’m not typically a fan of auto-tweets which this clearly is, but in this case I really didn’t mind.  It was a brand reaching out to a user in the same manner in which they’d been contacted.

Later that evening after the day’s activities we headed to the Westin’s hotel bar for a drink.  When I got arrived in the lobby, my co-worker had a Miller Lite waiting for me.  (Gotta love a friend like that right?!?!)  I checked in using my UnTappd ID, iuchewie if you want to follow/friend me there, which is once again tied to my Twitter account.  If the mention from the Foursquare check in was a nice touch, what I found when I returned to my room at the end of the night was simply amazing…

Miller Lite On Ice
Two Miller Lites On Ice With Some Pretzels

At first glance, I figured this may be the hotel’s way to get me to purchase overpriced beer from the mini bar.  Upon further inspection, I realized this was something really special.  In addition to the two iced Miller Lites and pretzels that were laid before me, there was a personalized note from the hotel’s marketing coordinator Danielle Perez, as well as a business card from the desk manager Zach Stephens.  WOW.

A Personal Note From The Staff Of The Westin St Francis

As I said before, I’m a regular user of social media, and for something to really get my attention like this I thought was really special.  My next Instagram / Twitter message said it all:

“Hands down, THE single best use of social media I’ve ever encountered. MAD props to the Westin. Please share!!!”

The Morning After

I did have one question / concern about this experience.  Actually concern is too strong a word.  Curiosity would be a better description.

How did the Westin link my UnTappd checkin (user iuchewie) which was shared via Twitter (user 406Northlane) and Foursquare (user 406Northlane) with a guest in their hotel which was registered using a corporate credit card under my real name?  As far as I know there are no links between those social media accounts an my name (by design 🙂 )

I had Danielle’s name, but I didn’t have her email address.  So… I once again turned to social media.  I sent the Westin a Twitter message and asked if they’d put me in contact with her.  They obliged and I sent her a note asking the above question.  Her response showed once again that the Westin is willing to go the extra mile for their guests:

“Hi Greg,

It’s is great to hear such positive feedback!  We do our best to provide personal and instinctive service here at the Westin St. Francis and social media helps us do that.

To answer your question about how I found you, I saw your name was Greg on your blog.  Then I simply searched our registered guests for a Greg from Cleveland.  Luckily, there was only one so I assumed it was you.”

Once again, I say WOW.  Danielle certainly didn’t need to go to this level to please a guest, but I have to say it certainly made an impact on me.  After all, I tweeted it, put it on Facebook, shared it on Instagram and now I’m writing a post about it.  And isn’t that what social media is all about?  To those that think this may be a little creepy or an “invasion of privacy” I’ll simply say this… When I share these things on Twitter, Foursquare, etc. I’m ASSUMING people are seeing it.  Otherwise why would I be sharing it?  If someone like Danielle is going to go that extra mile and use that information to engage her user then I say “BRAVO!

After such a phenomenal social media experience, I had to give one last goodbye.  I tweeted this in conjunction with a final Foursquare checkin:

“Thanks for a great trip Westin! (@ The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square w/ 6 others)

To which I received this follow up tweet…

“@406Northlane We’re sad to see you go & hope you can return to San Francisco again soon!”

I’m not sure when exactly I’ll be returning to “The City By The Bay” but I can assure you that when I return I’ll be staying at the Westin St. Francis.  Special thanks again to the social media team at the Westin St. Francis and especially to Ms. Perez.

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