'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Thursday, February 25, 2010

mosaichouse.com makes hotel blog news!

How Mosaic House Re-designed Their Website & Added 800 Facebook Fans Before Opening

Megan Harrod is the director of marketing for Mosaic House. I’ve been watching them develop a new website for their soon-to-be-opened property for a while now. When they added Facebook Connect to the homepage, I knew we had to talk…

Josiah: What were some of your goals when redeveloping the website?

Megan: We wanted to focus on the things that makes Mosaic House, Mosaic House. For us, the biggest thing is the atmosphere created by all the communal areas in the building. For the website, we really wanted to show this element. We’re still building out the full website – it’s in progress right now.

Design is also important to us. We wanted that to come through in the imagery.

You mentioned one of the key selling points of your brand is the social aspect. How do you communicate this through design?

The biggest thing for us is the addition of the Facebook Connect feature. What I was talking to the designer in the planning stage, we decided to add this because it’s all about engagement. We haven’t even opened yet, but have nearly 800 fans on Facebook.

The Mosaic House is all about bringing people together. So adding Facebook Connect to the website enables us to bring people together online. We have further integration planned as we rollout the full version of the site. So when people land on the home page, they see a whole mosaic of faces…and then we can direct people to our Facebook page where we encourage further interaction.

I love how you’re integrating Facebook into the website – I don’t see a lot of hotels doing that. Very few hotels are able to reach 800 fans so quickly. Can you talk a little bit about how you promote your Facebook page? How did you get so many people signing up?

I read an article the other day by Seth Godin about faux followers. It was talking about the loyalty of your social media fans: are they really friends? Is it just about getting as many fans as you can?

With us, it’s cool, because we have staff that are really engaged in the project. It’s very much a family environment. So there are people back home (a lot of us are expats) that are following this project and have been for while – because there’s a lot more history in the project than a lot of people know.

So we just told our friends that we’re all involved in this project. They’re all young tech-savvy people: people that would love to stay with us when they visit Prague. We posted pictures and information as the building was developing, and information about the launch party and special promotions. And our friends told their friends, which passed it along to their friends.

We didn’t expect to get so many fans so quickly, but it’s because our team is so engaged in the project. That’s growing our fan base naturally. Everyone’s really excited about the opening…they’re not faux followers.

Our designer said “You need to integrate [Facebook Connect], because you have 800 fans and you’re not even open yet!” And these people are actually interacting with the page.

I think that’s a really cool story about the organic approach you took. I’d like to briefly touch on the Facebook page itself. Do you have a system to manage things?

A lot of people have a strategy, but we haven’t defined a specific strategy — like “we’re going out Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to update it.” It’s just myself and a few others that are closely involved in the project. So it’s just like we would update our own Facebook statuses. It’s organic. It’s not anything that’s very scheduled… and I don’t think it needs to be. I think it feels more genuine this way.

So what types of content do you like to share on Facebook?

Yeah, we want people to get jazzed about the location, so that’s a big thing. What actually just shot a video of around the area. Also images around the space, so people can see what it will look like, and what a sample room looks like. Any events going on in Prague, so people can see these cool places like art galleries in the neighborhood.

So people start getting excited about the things that they could see in Prague when they come here. Any relevant information we find, we post. We posted some stuff about Tom’s Shoes, which is an organization which was started by a traveler, and is a great cause. So we’ve discussed some options for promotions in the future as a way to give back.

So that’s what we’ve done. We will be posting more promotional information in terms of generating a stronger following in the future, but that is more of the strategic approach that we’re talking about.

Do you have plans for further Facebook Connect integration on your website?

The design of the homepage will change when we have the full site launched. But it will still be a feature on the home page. We will direct a lot of people from our website to the fan page, so they can leave reviews and what they liked about staying there.

So we’ll use it a little differently once we fully open. But Facebook connect will still be an element of the homepage, very much front and center.

It’s a cool thing because people feel special when they see their picture on the home page. They feel like they’re being recognized and a part of the project.

Great! I’ll be very interested in watching this website as you roll it out.

*(pretty cool, huh, friends? excited about mosaic house? jazzed about social media? love to travel? wish you were a superhero? uh...err...whatever you fancy, become a fan of mosaic house on facebook to follow the progress of the renovation, learn more about the swanky future opening party, facebook stalk future fellow travellers and more...happy fanning!)

love, me*

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

waddaya think, friends?!

Tell me what you think.



UPDATE 9.3 - Fez has the most votes so far...really, guys? Do you think?! Hmmm...I am swaying towards Valencia. What to do...what to do...

Monday, February 22, 2010

back that love up...

...a good follow-up post to the (still unfinished) v-day post...lovely words, gifted to me by my dear friend Lo (by Henry J.M. Nouwen):

Love Deeply

Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful. It is like a plough that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds.

The more you have loved and have allowed yourself to suffer because of your love, the more you will be able to let your heart grow wider and deeper. When your love is truly giving and receiving, those whom you love will not leave your heart even when they depart from you. They will become part of yourself and thus gradually build a community within you.

Those you have deeply loved become part of you. The longer you live, there will always be more people to be loved by you and to become part of your inner community. The wider your inner community becomes, the more easily you will recognize your own brothers and sisters in the strangers around you. Those who are alive within you will recognize those who are alive around you. The wider the community of your heart, the wider the community around you. Thus the pain of rejection, absence, and death can become fruitful. Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear.

Lovin' deeply,


Sunday, February 14, 2010

won't you be my v-a-l-e-n-t-i-M-e?!

BLOG POST DISCLAIMER: this blog post is unfinished, but I wanted to get it up before the clock struck 12:00 and v-day was done. So, if you are reading this, I apologize for the random-ness of this post and assure you it will be fixed within the day or so. :) So, thank you...come again. Happy vday, my loves!

Okay, okay already! You asked for it, so here I go...sharing the love from my wonderful Cesky Krumlov(e) Valentine's Day weekend adventure! I think this was my sixth time in Krumlov, and it certainly didn't disappoint. It just gets better and better!

It all began by sharing the TOMS love and bringing some red canvas TOMS down to Krumlov with me as a belated birthday and Valentine's Day gift for the wonderful Carolyn, owner of Krumlov House. She loved 'em and I was so excited. She even mentioned she was going to look into calling her children's school and looking into whether or not the kids could get TOMS to wear as their in-school slippers. How cool is that?! Kids...doing it for the kids. Cool. Weekend off to a good start - mission: introduce TOMS to Krumlov - check!

Although I ventured down to southern Bohemia by myself, I felt more love around me than ever...spending time with friends at Krumlov House, Antre, and more! And, the best part was, I did all of the activities Tom and I tackle when we're there together, and I really felt his presence there. It was pretty dang sweet. I had high hopes for getting some good writing in, but alas...I did not. :) It's okay the time for writing will come when I am ready to sit down and write.

Anyway, here is a visual tour (of sorts) of the weekend...I also took some vids, but am having trouble uploading those. So, more to come.

mission: dance with the locals in the 'music bar', featuring the beautiful and talented 'C'! check!

mission: watch bollywood dancers at small czech republic town bar, antre. check!
(so random)
mission: smoke shisha by myself at dobra cajovna. check!
(try to buy another teacup to replace broken one for Tom - no check. unsucessful.)

mission: drink desert dunes tea and write love letters to home. check!

mission: attempt to get reservation at krcma v satlavske (frequented by locals). check!
(actual outcome unsuccessful. worth a try.)

mission: capture moment where tourists are looking for bears in winter. check!
(uh...um...they are hibernating, people. come on.)
mission: take picture making kissing face next to really czech flower sign. czech!
oops, i mean, 'check!'. :)

mission: find a stand-in Tom to be valentime for the weekend. check!
(love at first sight! actually...he appears to be looking down my shirt?! ha.)

mission: stop by trdelnik stand and make pout-face after realizing it wasn't open. check!
mission: realize love is in the air when stumbling upon writing in the snow. check!
mission: write in the krumlov house guest book for the 6th time. check!
mission: take picture of self, pretending Tom is there (to photoshop him in later). check!
mission: make sad face and think of Tom by our normal picture-taking point. check!
mission: catch an accidental (but beautiful and apt) view of TOMS while thinking of Tom. check!
mission: introduce TOMS to krumlov house. check!
mission: kiss creepy cat bag with valentine's day present from sweet lo. check!

More to come!



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

mosaichouse.com has come to life!!

Hey all!

Just a quick note to inform you all that the new and improved 'coming soon' version of mosaichouse.com has launched and we're super-excited for all of the crazy/fun months ahead! What an amazing opportunity I've been given, to work on this project! SO blessed and ecstatic. Take a look and stay tuned for the uber-functional (just wanted to sneak in the word 'uber' there), full-scale site to launch soon!

(click here or the image below to link directly to the super-cool site)
While you're at it, 'fan us' on facebook and then see if you can find yourself at the bottom of our website, 'where's waldo'-style! Then, leave a comment either here or on our facebook with your initial thoughts.

So, waddayathink...is it time to book a trip to Prague yet?!

Happy surfing...and then happy travels,


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

leden (january): alpsn' + austrialia + irish jiggin'

smiling on the hill at bad gastein, austria

learning an irish jig in dublin at the avalon house

shreddin' the piste at bad gastein, austria

Phew. January's theme should be, 'just another manic month!' With adventures in America, Austria (x2) and a brief stint in Ireland, January was a crazy amalgamation of biz- and play-related travels...featuring a long-anticipated trip to Kitzbuhel, Austria for the Hahnenkamm SG and DH. See picture below to get an idea of the atmosphere at the finish line.
60,000 fans strong. Whoa!

Stay tuned for more...

Happy Travels,