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 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.