Teamwork. Team energy. Team lunacy.

Last year, the McConnell Marketing Katie’s ran to raise support for the building of water wells through RUNWATER, a division of Mentor Leaders and a nonprofit working in a small village in Togo, West Africa. This summer, the office is embarking on a similar project—and this time with benefits a little closer to home.

McConnell Marketing is joining long-time client Winkle Electric Company, Inc. on their journey to Pedal to the Point raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. During the event the team will ride 100 miles to Sandusky, Ohio, locally referred to as “The Point.”

The event isn’t until August, so stay tuned for training updates and mishaps (as we’re not an experienced group of  bikers). Please share any biking tips or gear suggestions as we’re just getting started!

Help sponsor Katie or Megan’s 100 miles … or both!

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Four Trends That Can Benefit You, Our Client

McConnell Marketing’s Megan Sovik blogs about the hospitality trends she and Katie picked up from the IHMRS/BDNY Tradeshow in New York City.

Katie Williams and I recently attended to the IHMRS/BDNY Tradeshow at Javits Center in New York City. The goal was to see what’s trending in hospitality design and to also make sure that we, at McConnell Marketing, are marketing our clients in the best possible way. The show was broken up into two sides: one that was interiors (i.e. furniture, décor—basically, all the pretty stuff). The other side was more operational (i.e. soaps, room amenities, etc.). They also had many informational sessions and speakers.

To be honest, the show was very overwhelming, and we walked the floor multiple times to make sure we didn’t miss anything. We wanted to get everything out of it that we could. After taking a lot of time to process and go through every piece from every vendor we talked to, there are four trends we came away with that we think could benefit our clients:

Square
Square collateral pieces are in—they actually have been for quite a while (and we’ve done quite a few pieces for our clients). What I didn’t expect to see was that so many pieces were small. It used to be that larger 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pieces were the norm. Now we’re seeing printed pieces that are 4 x 4 or so, with tons of photos and little text. Nowadays, everyone’s trying to be environmentally friendly—and using less paper is a way to reduce your carbon footprint. At McConnell Marketing, we work with waterless printers and know quite a bit about recycled papers to take that idea even further.

Printing on Aluminum
One thing I didn’t expect to see is printing on aluminum. It may sound odd, but it’s a great for display materials. When I saw this, the first thing I thought of was posters and displays throughout a hotel. Rather than printing on a regular poster and coating it with a UV-resistant varnish or protectant, printing on aluminum is a great way to make these materials last longer. Images and sizes can be customized to whatever is needed. We’ve found a lot of vendors who do this. Let us know if you’re interested in seeing pricing!

Colors
Gone are the days of neutrals! Accent colors are everywhere! If this wasn’t evident by the choice of the last two Pantone colors of the year (tangerine and emerald green), it was very evident at the show. Katie and I saw lots of purples, royal blues, yellows and greens. Obviously you don’t want to go too far with too many colors, but McConnell Marketing will be happy to assist with picking out a color palette that works for you.

Technology
One of the coolest technologies I saw was for the bathroom (odd—I know). We first saw it working with The St. Regis Washington, D.C. years ago when they added TV’s to their mirrors. Well now it’s being taken a step further. Mirrors are now able to hook up to smart phones through blue tooth. They can play music, check your e-mail and play movies. We at McConnell Marketing are happy to provide you with ideas and collateral to instruct guests on how to use the technology.

 

Ritz Carlton Introduces a New Hotel Brand

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 1.37.18 PMWhen you hear the name, Ritz-Carlton, you think top global luxury hospitality brand. “But if there is one knock the company gets in deluxe travel circles,” Larry Olmsted, contributing writer to Forbes.com, said, “it is for being ‘too cookie cutter.’”

And that’s where Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand comes in—signature one-of-a-kind boutique resorts around the world, each with a distinctive sense of place (Olmsted).

According to the Ritz-Carlton company, “The Reserve is for travelers seeking to discover a singular location and peerless resort that, through its design and services, has a distinctive personality that blends together the culture, history and heritage of its setting. The Reserve brand extension will be distinguished from other award-winning resorts by offering guests’ exotic, hand-selected ‘hideaway’ destinations globally; a relaxed, casually elegant atmosphere; and an even greater level of individualized service through a higher staff to guest ratio.”

The first Ritz-Carlton Reserve was opened in Phulay Bay, Thailand. And on December 12, 2012, the second Reserve—Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve—opened in Puerto Rico.

The resort is the 1,400 acre former Laurance Rockefeller estate. It has 100 guestrooms, 14 one-bedroom suites sitting directly on the beach and one villa. Other features include floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that entirely disappear to create seamless ocean views, outdoor garden showers, individual infinity-edge pools, a water sports center, three 18-hold golf courses, luxurious cabanas and much more.

Herve Humler, President and COO for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C, said, “The philosophy behind Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is to immerse guests into Puerto Rico’s rich history and extraordinary landscape while providing an unparalleled luxury travel experience unlike any other. Reflective of Laurance Rockefeller’s vision from more than 50 years ago of a natural sanctuary, the island is a combination of historical charm and metropolitan life blending serenity and a pristine backdrop—a perfect location for the Ritz-Carlton Reserve experience.”

Future Ritz-Carlton Reserves are planned for Los Cabos, Mexico; Muscat, Oman; Tamuda Bay, Morocco; and the Turks & Caicos.

For more information on the Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand, check out Olmsted’s article on Forbes.com.

So What Exactly Is Vine?

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 10.21.40 AMYou have probably heard everyone talking about Vine, Twitter’s “amazing” new app. The app has arrived on iOS, and you may have even downloaded it—but you’re probably wondering, “What exactly is it?” Alex Hern at NewsStatesman.com has all the answers:

Vine is an app—currently only for iOS—that records six seconds of video and posts it on an endless loop to your Twitter account. If you are familiar with the animated gif, this is very similar. The videos automatically start playing, are muted by default, endlessly loop and must be between three and six seconds long. “You aren’t going to be making movies with these, or even any sort of narrative video clip at all—it’s purely for sharing “moments”,” Hern said.

There are limitations, however. Hern said, “Vine offers no option for editing after you’ve recorded, nor does it let you import videos taken or downloaded elsewhere.”

So how does Vine work with Twitter? You can sign up with your Twitter account and share every post to Twitter by default. It’s also possible to use the service without Twitter at all. One can sign up with an e-mail address and then not export any video from Vine.

So what do you think of Vine? Will you be signing up?