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 February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.