Hawaii hotelier drops in to the blogosphere
General Manager Robin Graf isn't just writing memos anymore.
"I've never been one to be mainstream ... I always try to do things a little differently," he said.
Blogs linked on company Web sites are increasingly popular, in part because a blog can be an inexpensive marketing tool that, done right, expresses the heart of the company.
Graf has been in the hotel business for 19 years and is one of a growing, but not yet staggering, number of executives in any industry with a blog.
"Obviously it's a great way for us to bring more exposure to our property," he said. However, company bloggers who only pump the company tend to lose some street cred.
The same can be said of biz-bloggers who don't actually write all the bits bearing their bylines.
Hotels Magazine reported the confession of Bill Marriott, chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International Inc., that his public relations staff sometimes writes his entries.
Graf is a hotel exec and a surfer, so the blog title "Drop in to the Wyland Waikiki," is a play on words reflecting his personal life and the hope that readers will become guests.
His musings are varied and include entries about a surf trip he and his 17-year-old son took to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Beyond writing about great surf and fish tacos, Graf offers counsel to those looking to travel, not just to Hawaii or the Wyland Waikiki, but anywhere.
Travelers need to ask the right questions, as do travel agents.
He cited a couple booked into his hotel that actually had wanted a vacation full of country music and line-dancing.
Graf's blog also has sought to dispel travel industry talk about the expense of coming to Hawaii.
For the $2,400 he spent for six days in Cabo, "you could fly to Hawaii ... and get a great experience," he told TheBuzz.
He tries to write an entry for each day. He can write weekend posts during the week and the software will post them at the directed time.
Blogging does not sap his productivity, as he'll write a few paragraphs when inspired and it doesn't take long, he said.
Linkages are akin to gold in the blogosphere, so Graf has guest-posted on other blogs. The link-backs to his blog expand exposure to eyeballs that could belong to potential guests.
Aside from the benefit of overtly promoting the Wyland Waikiki and its amenities, Graf's blog seeks to personalize the hotel.
"I just feel that when people can identify with something or they have a personal stake in things, that they're more apt to want to be involved with it, participate, purchase," he said.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org