Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Freeman

Andrew Freeman

President, Andrew Freeman & Company

In November 2005, Andrew Freeman realized a long-time dream by opening Andrew Freeman & Co., a boutique agency specializing in hospitality and lifestyle marketing. Launching his own firm provided him the opportunity to take advantage of his extraordinary career working with some of the finest restaurants, personalities and products in the world and loving nearly every minute of it. Prior to opening AF&Co., Mr. Freeman worked for the prestigious Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants as the Vice President, Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships. He started with the San Francisco-based company a decade ago in the role of Vice President, Restaurant Sales & Marketing. In his ten years with Kimpton, he was responsible for developing and executing all public and media relations activities - including the launch of new properties - for the global brand, the group of 40 hotels and restaurants, as well as for the corporate headquarters. His responsibilities also included strategic planning, outreach, fundraising, relationship development and execution with industry and community partners. Mr. Freeman landed his first job in advertising right out of college and soon advanced to the position of Director of Admissions with the French Culinary Institute, where a passion was born. At FCI, in addition to sales and marketing for the school, he was responsible for launching L'Ecole, the student-run restaurant and while there, he learned what it takes to promote chefs. His success at FCI helped him succeed a position as Director of Marketing for the Russian Tea Room, a New York legend. Here, he launched a successful private dining sales effort and opened a cabaret room that quickly became the toast of the town. Mr. Freeman advanced to Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing for the renowned Rainbow Room and Windows on the World. He oversaw all sales, marketing and press relations for the chefs, the cabaret performers and the restaurants themselves. Andrew was responsible for the launch for of the New Windows on the World in 1997, after the Trade Center bombing in 1992. It was during his work here that he learned about true guest service and the value of the words, "show business." He continued his advance with a gig at MTV as Director of Special Events. Finding himself "the wise old man" at age 28, he realized the glitz and glamour of the MTV youth culture was not his style, but not before he succeeded in planning and pulling off a party for 4,000 people at the launch of MTV Latino in Miami. Mr Freeman knew he was a natural-born salesman and promoter as early as his Bar Mitzvah and went on to graduate from New Jersey's Montclair State College with a degree in marketing. He even paid his way through college by working at a travel agency and performing in just about every community theater musical in the area (name a show and he'll sing the score). Today, he sits on the board of the Anti-Defamation League, and the Richmond Ermet AIDS Foundation. He is a former board member of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau and continues to sit on the marketing committee. He also maintains active involvement with the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Andrew fills his free time with partner Mike and two yorkies (Daisy and Tulip) at their Russian River cabin.

Mr. Freeman can be contacted at 415-781-5700 or andrew@andrewfreemanandco.com

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.