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The digital marketing/advertising industry’s buzzword of choice is mobile, and it’s changing online marketing. TheLadders COO Alexandre Douzet and comScore VP Khurrum Malik, who keynoted Digital East 2012 this week in Herndon, Va., say there are over 100 million smartphone users in the US. The two-day event included multiple panels and hundreds of digital marketers and advertisers.
There’s been a 5% annual increase in daily Internet usage since 2011, where one out of every six minutes is spent on a social site, so the importance of cross-medium marketing (tablets, PC, app, browser, smartphone) becomes even bigger to reach the new digital omnivore (i.e. your potential clients). Khurrum points out that while Android and Apple still dominate the market, Amazon is gaining ground with its Kindle Fire.
It stinks getting a negative comment on your company’s travel review web site or Facebook wall. Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible host Anthony Melchiorri, being interviewed by TechMedia‘s Eric Gregg, had some simple insight during his keynote Wednesday: “If you’re doing a crappy job in person, you’ll look that way online. So do well in person with the basics [of customer service] and you’ll look good online.”
(Originally published in Tech Bisnow)
The Park Hyatt Washington has tapped into the current election, and soon-to-be inauguration, excitement with a special stay package centered around its 1,632-square-foot Presidential Suite for the inauguration weekend. The four-night, all-inclusive stay is for January 18 – 22 and includes the following American amenities:
* Butler service
* Americana books
* Apple pie and California wine courtesy of the in-house Blue Duck Tavern
* Consultation with a Saks Fifth Avenue stylist
* Backstage tour of American icon, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
And much more! The suite includes a living room, dining area for six, internet-connected workstation, king sized bed, and even a baby grand piano should you feel like entertaining like a president. In fact, as part of the package, guests and 12 of their friends will be treated to a wine and cheese tasting event.
For more information and to book the stay, you can reach out to director of public relations, Rene Sharrow at 202.419.6625 or email@example.com.
The National Building Museum’s Mini Golf at the Museum continued this past weekend with more than 1,000 people stopping by the interactive exhibit of 12 mini golf holes designed by area architects, construction firms, urban planners, and designers. We snapped American Geophysical Union’s Kristan Uhlenbroch, who in just two strokes mastered Hole 5, Canal Park, designed by Studios Architecture and OLIN.
House of Reps staffer Paul Gerarden takes his shot at Hole 10, named Confluence, designed and built by Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Waiting their turn, Nat’l Weather Service’s Geoff Wagner, Pattern Energy’s Ashlee Hicks, and Ag Resources’ Melissa Cichantek.
Guests lined up throughout the day to take their turn at each of the 12 holes. The exhibit opened July 5 and has sold out each day drawing more than 14,600 people so far this summer. The exhibit opened July 5 and has sold out each day, drawing more than 14,600. It runs through Labor Day.
(Originally published 8.6.12 in The Scene Bisnow)
Hank’s Oyster Bar has expanded its District operation with the opening of its new Capitol Hill eatery on Monday located just one block from the Eastern Market metro, opening on Monday. Interior design firm Edit revamped the venue from its former style creating a New England beach cottage atmosphere with light grey walls, white trim and marine touches similar to the Dupont Circle location. The new 40-seat eatery serve all the New England favorites of the Dupont and Old Town locations’ menus including lobster bisque, local corn and crab soup, and rockfish with fennel, red onion and citrus from chef Jamie Leeds.
The 20-seat bar, dubbed the Eddy, is decorated with a wall of backlit mason jars filled with cocktail ingredients for mixologist Gina Chersevani’s rotating menu of 20 specialty drinks. There will also be four beers on tap and 10 bottle options as well as more than 30 vintage wines available by the glass.
The restaurant will serve dinner from 5 until 10 p.m. nightly and until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
(Originally published in BizBash Washington on 10.13.11)
Civil rights leaders, local dignitaries, and Washingtonians will head to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial site for its official dedication on Sunday, nearly two months later than originally planned. The dedication ceremony, as well as the final two days of events, were canceled in August due to Hurricane Irene’s impending landfall in the Washington area.
“Due to the postponement, we are planning an event much smaller in scale but just as big in spirit,” said Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and C.E.O. of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, in a press release.
The Celebration Dream Gala on Saturday at the Washington Hilton, formerly scheduled for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is the only big-ticket event planned for August that is still taking place, though with a smaller guest list of 2,400 people—about half of the original planned attendance—due to venue constraints. Producer André Wells, owner of Events by André Wells, came on board about four weeks ago to redesign the gala for the new venue.
“Since we were going to be involved in some of the design and planning of the last gala, we were able to use some of the prop pieces and secure some of the same vendors who knew the vision [for the night] and were involved in the [planning] process,” said Wells, who will be working with Amaryllis, Hargrove Inc., Party Rental Limited, and Perfect Settings L.L.C. to decorate the event space in various shades of gray and silver with red, orange, yellow, peach, purple, and pink accents. VSG Solutions and Frost Lighting will be providing audiovisual support and technical production.
Scrapped events include a donors dinner hosted by Lionel Richie that had been planned for the original dedication weekend and a free public concert with appearances by Jennifer Hudson and Aretha Franklin on the National Mall prior to the dedication. Franklin is the only big-name entertainer able to participate in Sunday’s event alongside President Obama, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, members of the King family, and other civil rights leaders.
The ceremony itself has also been scaled back and moved to another location. West Potomac Park will be open to the public, though tickets are no longer required, and will have Jumbotrons set up for attendees to witness the dedication—which is now taking place with a smaller group on the memorial site.
To draw out-of-towners back to Washington for the dedication, the foundation partnered with the Washington Hilton to provide a discounted $269 per night rate for those who booked before October 7 using a code provided on the event’s Web site.
(Originally published 8.29.11 in BizBash Washington)
A planned five days of celebrations surrounding the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial in West Potomac Park had to be cut down to just two and a half, due to inclement weather. The threat of Hurricane Irene’s impending arrival on the East Coast on Saturday caused organizers with the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc. and National Parks Service to cancel all events after Saturday morning’s prayer service.
“It was a very heavy decision to make, because we knew how much went into it and how much excitement there was about the weekend with so many people planning to travel [in town],” said Marty Mackay, president of GEP Washington, which headed the team of local organizers for the weekend’s events. “With that said, it was important we try to make the decision as soon as possible, as we didn’t want people to travel here if things weren’t going to happen.”
The memorial foundation made the official announcement on Thursday evening with a press conference at Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Officials relied on the local news stations, as well as CNN and C-SPAN, to get the news of the schedule changes out quickly to the public. Invited guests who’d R.S.V.P.’d to the various events were also contacted directly by staffers. The decision affected the weekend hours of the Partners in the Dream public expo at the convention center on Saturday and Sunday, the Celebrate the Dream gala planned for Saturday evening, and the dedication ceremony and concert supposed to take place yesterday in the park.
With expected winds of 100 miles per hour for the Category 2 storm (its strength until landfall on Saturday), Hargrove Inc. immediately began deconstructing the dedication site—which consisted of 30,000 seats, staging, and 65,000 square feet of flooring, and which had taken the company three days to set up—on Friday morning. To expedite the deconstruction, the park service granted the company a 24-hour work permit for the 150 employees to take down the chairs, lighting, rigging, and other elements that could be hazardous in the storm, and closed four lanes of Independence Avenue to ease load-out. Due to time constraints, the main floor of the stage remained in place, though heavily weighted and anchored down, until it could be removed at some point today or tomorrow.
Before Irene threatened the weekend, Tuesday’s earthquake shook up plans, forcing Wednesday night’s Honoring Global Leaders for Peace gala to be moved from the National Building Museum to the convention center just 24 hours before its planned start. The last-minute change had Events by André Wells, Hargrove, and GEP staffers scrambling to secure the new venue, redesign the layout of the seated dinner for 1,200, and load in all of the production elements.
The festivities continued as planned on Thursday night with the Message in the Music concert, featuring performances by Patti LaBelle, India Arie, and Stevie Wonder, among others.
The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity scooped up extra hype for its black-tie Monumental Life Celebration—which included a V.I.P. reception and theatrical and musical depiction of King’s life—on Friday night at the D.A.R. Constitution Hall, followed by a post-party at the Mayflower Hotel. “So many people came with their gowns and tuxes to celebrate, and since Saturday got canceled, we definitely had some extra interest [as the only other formal event],” said event producer André Wells.
The official memorial dedication is being rescheduled for September or October, according to the foundation.
(Originally published 2.23.11 in BizBash Washington)Originally founded in 1866, the Robert Port Brewing Company reopened in Alexandria as Port City Brewing Company on February 4 after being closed for nearly a century, after Prohibition expanded to Virginia. For $8 per person, groups of as many as 20 can get a behind-the-scenes tour of Port City.
The experience includes a look at the 30-foot-tall grain silo (which holds 56,000 pounds of grain imported from Germany) and the brewing rooms where the grain is cracked, mixed with water, and later fermented. Afterward, Port City offers a tasting of four of its beers on tap, as well as a complimentary glass as a souvenir. Two weeks’ advance notice is required for private tours.
(Originally published 03.09.10 on BizBash Orlando)
New restaurants, hotels, and attractions continue popping up around central Florida. Here’s a look inside five of the region’s most anticipated venues and attractions scheduled to open this spring.
1. After nearly two years of construction, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando, which broke ground in summer 2008, is projected to open in late spring. The $200 million venture includes recreations of signature locations in the Harry Potter movies, like Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade village, and a Three Broomsticks restaurant. An extension of the Islands of Adventure park, the Wizarding World will also have roller coasters and virtual rides. The park will host private events, but officials are still determining which areas can accommodate them.
2. Improv Comedy Club and Fat Fish Blue restaurant are scheduled to open in late spring at outdoor entertainment complex Pointe Orlando. The attached venues will span 14,000 square feet and accommodate more than 700 guests. There will be a 300-seat theater, three private rooms, and a patio for 120. The New Orleans-theme restaurant will serve specialty items like jambalaya and gumbo, as well as burgers and salads.
3. Scheduled to open in April, International Drive’s new Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort will be the first outdoor version of the national water park chain, whose 10 other properties have indoor parks. The 386-room resort is currently under construction (in a former Ramada Inn) and will have a 7,500-square-foot arcade, on-site event space, and a 54,000-square-foot water park. Dining options will include TradeWinds restaurant, Callaloo Grill, and a food court in the water park.
4. In April the Mall of Millenia will have a new resident restaurant with the opening of Crave. The 8,600-square-foot venue will seat 250 in the main dining room or host about 300 for receptions. There will also be a private room for 60 and an enclosed patio for 30. The menu will focus on American cuisine with Asian and Mediterranean influences.
5. Landmark concert venue Jannus Landing in downtown St. Petersburg is scheduled to reopen later this month as Jannus Live, following extensive renovations and upgrades. The standing-only venue can accommodate crowds of 2,000 and will have a new stage and lighting system, upgraded restroom facilities, and a new color scheme and flooring. New owner Knight Global Entertainment is also adding eight V.I.P. suites to the balcony level with lounge seating, wood floors, flat-screen TVs, and mini kitchenettes. There will also be a new patio bar with mobile bar stations in the courtyard.
(Originally published 01.29.10 on BizBash Miami/South Florida)
The Super Bowl returns to Miami for the 10th time next Sunday, February 7, and after a lackluster 2009 in Tampa, the game’s notorious hooplah is back. Brands such as Maxim, ESPN the Magazine, and Bud Light will be touting themselves at events held throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties, as will Playboy, after skipping last year’s game in Tampa to save money.
The marketing stunts kick off today with the opening of the Bud Light Hotel in South Beach, where Anheuser-Busch gave the Doubletree Surfcomber Hotel on Collins Avenue a head-to-toe rebranding. The venue will be home to a week’s worth of events, with the likes of GQ, Ultimate Fighting Championship, Jamie Foxx, and Usher hosting parties through next Saturday, the day before the game.
Further north on the beach, the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach will first host the Jordin Sparks Super Bowl Experience on Wednesday, after which it will be transformed into Hotel 944, helmed by 944 magazine. Produced by Relevent’s Tony Berger (who produced Audi’s Super Bowl event in Phoenix and NetJet’s party in Tampa), the four-day all-day ticketed event will mix hosts like NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, Nick Lachey, and Russel Simmons with a roster of talent that includes Common, Drake, Snoop Dog, Wyclef Jean, Kid Sister, and Mario.
Next door, ESPN the Magazine will host its sixth annual Next Big Weekend party at the Fontainebleau on Friday night. The brand forwent its traditional two days of events this year and refocused efforts on this invite-only party staged in a 25,000-square-foot tent on the property’s back lawn. Los Angeles-based Event Eleven is producing the bash, which will have performances by Ne-Yo and Keri Hilson.
The next day, DirecTV returns with its annual Celebrity Beach Bowl (after incarnations in 2008 and 2009), this year taking place on the sand behind the Gansevoort Hotel. The satellite TV service is once again creating a 5,000-person stadium on the sand where celebrities and athletes will play a jovial game of flag football, followed by an after-party in the same space that night.
Also on Saturday night, lad mags take center stage, with Maxim hosting a 1950s-style beach party at the Raleigh, Playboy setting up shop at the Sagamore Hotel—the future site of the Playboy Club—and Penthouse throwing a burlesque-infused party at Passion Nightclub at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.
Phoenix-based M Group Scenic and Party Planners West from Los Angeles are once again producing the N.F.L. On Location and N.F.L. Tailgate events, respectively, at the newly-named Sun Life Stadium (formerly Landshark Stadium).
Other brands hosting parties during the weekend include Coors Light at Mansion; talent agency CAA at the W South Beach; Dewars at a private residence; Bon Appetit, Mario Batali, and Emiril Lagasse at the Viceroy; and CBS behind the Loews Miami Beach hotel.