Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts launched a unique travel concierge service today through the popular social bookmarking tool Pinterest.com.
"With 77 Four Seasons properties worldwide live on Pinterest, we saw this opportunity as the perfect fit," said Elizabeth Pizzinato, senior vice president, marketing and communications, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
"Pin.Pack.Go extends the Four Seasons culture of service far beyond our property walls, creating new opportunities to provide guests with personalized recommendations and insider knowledge well before their trip begins."
I gave it a try using my fall trip to Dallas, a city I've never been to and knew nothing about, and was impressed. Here are instructions and how to use Pin.Pack.Go.
1. Create a "Pin. Pack. Go." board in your Pinterest.com account (free). You have the power to make it private or public. Note: You do not have to book a room at the Four Seasons for it to engage with you. It will accept all collaborative board invitations even if you're just crafting a dream trip.
2. Make sure your board has a description that helps the staff know more about you, your visit, your interests. I wrote: “Family trip in and out of Dallas in October. Going to Broncos versus Cowboys game.”
3. Follow the Four Seasons you wish to interact with. Use the Pinterest search tool to look for the Four Seasons property of your choice, or go to any of the inside pages on the individual property's main website and look for the Pinterest icon in the "Social Live" buttons to get direct access to the account.
4. Invite the Four Seasons property to contribute to your board. You can find this by "editing" your board. I invited the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas to my board.
5. Start pinning to your board. You don't have to wait for Four Seasons to make the first pin. You can start pinning to your board. Since you've invited Four Seasons to collaborate on the board, the hotel company will jump in.
6. Use the comments to ask questions or seek more specific advice. After you invite Four Seasons to contribute, see what it has to say. If your interest is piqued, ask questions that pertain to your trip in the comments below the advice.
Some of the tips specific to my trip from Four Seasons Dallas:
"Since you are coming in for the Cowboys/Broncos game, wait until you see the world's largest 1080p HDTV video board at the stadium. The $40 million video board configuration has 30 million lightbulbs, weighs 600 tons and is 48 feet wide! You'll be inclined to watch the screen more than the field.
"Depending upon what time you get in, we suggest taking the family to Target First Saturdays, held the first Saturday of each month at the Nasher Sculpture Center. This popular family event features free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and monthly themes to encourage children to explore Big Ideas through art projects, performances, scavenger hunts, story time and other on-site activities."
After the first round of advice, I asked this: Do you have a restaurant on property that is kid friendly plus any trendy yet kid friendly restaurants near the hotel or near the stadium?
To which Four Seasons replied: "Not only does Trail Dust Steak House have great steaks, they are also known for their live music, a boot-scootin' dance floor, and a two story slide for kids of all ages. Make sure you are aware of the "No ties after 5" rule. You can take off your tie, or the staff will cut it off for you! Trail Dust is one of a kind and always a great time."
The more pinning I did, the better the advice got.
I didn't want advice only from the hotel to populate my board, so I went looking for kid-friendly travel advice within Pinterest and started pinning other items. One of the things I added to my board was "75 Things to Do in Dallas Fort Worth With Kids." Not only did Four Seasons Dallas follow the link trail to that downloadable e-book, but it also read, commented and added feedback.
"These are some great ideas! The Mandalay Canal (#40) and the Mustangs of Las Colinas Sculpture & Exhibit (#48) are just down the street from the Resort. The Concierge can arrange a picnic lunch for the family and the house car for transportation."
I asked Pizzinato where the advice was coming from.
"Each property is responsible for the ongoing management of its local social media platforms," she said. "Close integration with daily hotel operations is crucial to the on- and offline guest experience; this continues to be a key differentiator for Four Seasons.
"Four Seasons has 77 properties on Pinterest; 77 properties on Instagram; 83 properties on Twitter and 85 properties on Facebook.
"Of the 77 properties active on Pinterest, Los Angeles, Paris, Bangkok, Bora Bora, Austin, Vancouver and Hong Kong are some of our most active properties."
At its very core, Pinterest is a tool to collect and organize things that you love via images and links. It is used by a widely varied audience that includes stay-at-home moms collecting recipes and crafts for the kids and businesses igniting word of mouth about their brands.
One word of caution if you're new to Pinterest: It's a fun vehicle for daydreaming and spending money, and it can also be an incredible drain on your time.