This Hotel Chain Came Up With A Simple Strategy For Improving Its Website

Scott Gerber, owner of Gerber Group

Photo: Courtesy of Gerber Group

Gerber Group opened its first hotel bar a little more than 20 years ago at the Paramount Hotel in Manhattan, and has grown since then to 23 properties around the world, including Whiskey Park on Central Park.With so many locations, owner Scott Gerber says that maintaining customer service takes constant work. 

The company’s major initiatives include revamping its Web site and social media strategy. It moved all content to Facebook and Twitter pages and decided to keep only the most basic, important information on its website.

“Streamlining for customer experience was the overarching goal,” Raphael Chejade-Bloom, director of marketing and entertainment, told us. “We saw a 34 per cent increase in traffic within the first few months.”

The company began to liveblog, upload photos on Instagram and tweet during events, and witnessed a tremendous increase in engagement from customers. 

Stone Rose Lounge in New York, NY

Photo: Courtesy of Gerber Group

“I think what’s important for us is developing a voice that is more conversational and less promotional,” says Chejade-Bloom.

“We view ourselves as content producers and not salesmen.”

In order to be consistent throughout its different locations, the company conducts monthly themes, which are incorporated in its social media activity.

To improve the customer’s experience, the company also uses Open Table for online reservations, iPads for more efficient service and Urbanspoon to provide as much information online as possible.

“The greatest asset is the information you can make and note on your customers — all of them, whether they’re a first time or they come here three times a week,” says Chejade- Bloom. “In the past people were tasked with keeping these notes in a reservation book. Now there’s no excuse.”

Whiskey Blue in Atlanta, GA

Photo: Courtesy of Gerber Group

Chejade- Bloom says Gerber Group’s willingness to embrace technology early on put it ahead of the curve, since not many other hotel bars were so heavily interacting with its customers. 

“I think it’s important that whether you’re a new business or have been around for 10 years you’re embracing new technology constantly and exploring a little bit and trying things out,” he says. 

But web strategy is only a part of what makes the company industry leaders.

“First and foremost, we have a keen understanding of what our customers like because we focus on so many different aspects and touch points on service,” says Chejade-Bloom. “We firmly believe that there’s nothing easier than to keep an existing customer relationship than building a new one.”

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