The Standard Hotel Culture Site was a delightful experience. My mission was to help editorially capture the voice of the already cool brand and translate it into a culture site that highlighted their programs, their specific properties, and forward-thinking initiatives. The main priority was to increase sales, build awareness, and drive traffic to the hotel bookings. The website was a hit.
“While it seems that companies right and left have been launching their own blogs, The Standard has genuinely formed a culture site which not just chronicles the regular glamour and debauchery of the hotel’s inhabitants, but also genuinely provides a service to those looking to find out about new and interesting” innovations.”- PSK
I was invited to serve as Development Director during the 6-8 month period prior to launching the website, as well as acting as Editor-in-Chief post-launch. I credit the Digital Agency AllDayEveryDay for their excellent web programming and digital strategists. The important thing to keep in mind was not just the budget of the website, but also a holistic budget that The Standard dedicated to overall Marketing plans — these include Events, Limited Edition Collabo items, and top notch PR services, among other factors that made the launch a home-run. The Standard Culture website would act as a glue for all the 4 Hotel properties in 3 cities, documenting our culture as it unfolded. Since the culture site launched, The Standard brand has opened additional hotels in both London and Maldives.
How does the website work with the hotel? For example, when the hotel Penthouse Nightclub (aka The Boom Boom Room) hosted The Met Gala Afterparty, our team was organized enough to photograph, write, and publish quickly, activating publicity around our blog post to the mainstream media in record time. The immediate views translated into immediate traffic to the hotel rooms, which translate into more revenue. Voila, mission accomplished.
In order to feel authentic and “on the ground”, it was necessary to train specific hotel staffing (with a penchant for writing) to cover events in their respective cities — Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. This means I would onboard a bartender or yoga instructor as writers, from our own hotel properties, and teach them how to create smart editorials, sometimes co-writing their blog posts until they got the hang of it.
Also, one of our big successes came in the unlikely MUSIC tab of our website. On our MUSIC page, we partnered with a music company to co-curate weekly playlists of rising artists, totalling 40 free downloads of new music per month. This was executed using a special widget that allowed for streaming and downloads. We called this section “Standard Sounds” and were pleasantly surprised to notice that this offering became one of the most viewed pages on our website, attracting new readers. All these experiments were monitored in our analytics, revealing exact findings.
“Like a true online culture mag, the site features an image gallery with highlighted editorial photography and party photos shot at the hotels. On of our favorite features, ‘Standard Sounds’, includes a shareable music widget with free downloadable playlists curated by all four Standards, refreshed on a monthly basis and part of a larger collaboration with free MP3 downloading site RCDRLBL” – PSK
The hotel enlisted a strong social media strategy that was in constant communication with our editorial team during promotional launches and influential weeks — think Miami’s Art Basel, or New York’s Fashion Week or LA’s Design Week. It was my job to curate all the writers (some of them being in-house hotel staff) and social teams, and merge all these blog posts into one unified voice that tells the story of The Standard brand.
This “culture site” was the incarnate of Content Marketing at its finest. The result was an editorialized version of the hotel chain with sharp images, clever interviews, and unique coverage of Standard’s promotions, with a strong focus on music + art + culture reflective of the Standard brand. More importantly, increased traffic equals increased brand awareness, thereby drawing customers to the e-commerce section of the website. Our revenue was derived from hotel bookings and our SHOP page.
“While The Standard’s offerings have consistently been ahead the times in terms of media, collaborations, and general accessibility, the true irony is that they’ve actually managed to do a better job providing cultural access than many established magazines and outlets, not to mention ones they’ve occasionally teamed up with. In truth, they are perhaps setting a template for what an organization is able to offer, one that few have been quick to pick up on. For that, The Standard is truly anything but.” – Review: Select quotes by PSFK
(Quotes of Website Review could be found on PSFK)