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Thursday, February 25, 2010

mosaichouse.com makes hotel blog news!

How Mosaic House Re-designed Their Website & Added 800 Facebook Fans Before Opening
by JOSIAH MACKENZIE on FEBRUARY 23, 2010

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*

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