Hey blog reader! It’s been a while. Too long, perhaps.
It seems there’s always a reason…
“I’m busy building product.”
“I’m busy getting things Geetha-approved.”
“We have a blog?”
I set out to find out exactly why we haven’t updated this space recently, (completely unannounced, perhaps against their wills, and without even the most perfunctory duties of a stylist or paid hair/makeup professional.)
One of our core values: No minions here. We hire amazing people first, let them tell us what they’re good at, and then help them find their superpower. So as you may have guessed, team is important to us, and ours is made up of some pretty incredible people.
So, last month, our whole team stopped by HQ in Orlando for a week of creative collaboration, coffee brainstorms, and a bit of fun.
Here are some of our favorites moments from the week:
An extra bonus of having the entire team in-house means we get the chance to take advantage of the creative talent of our design team. Any time they’re in town, we schedule a few hours to update the chalk wall in our lunch room.
This time, we set up a camera to capture the entire session:
To meet some of the Flip.to veterans along with some fresh faces, hop over to our about page. Plus, always feel free to say hello 👋 to us here—we’re always eager to chat with other movers and shakers in hospitality!
A few months back, we shamelessly shared our first blooper reel after an excited foray into video production. It’s been one heck of an experience and we’ve learned an awful lot along the way.
At Flip.to we’re all about authenticity and the connections between individuals. So when we first committed to making video there was unanimous agreement that whatever it is we’re talking about in our videos, it should be us talking about it.
I was asked to be the voice of our videos. One never to turn down an opportunity (or a challenge), I was happy to take up the mantle. (To be honest I was more excited about recording impersonations, so I convinced myself this was a step in that direction.)
As fun as it’s been, we’ve been focused on continuous improvement. If you’re thinking of integrating video into your content marketing strategy (and you should), here are some major lessons to help you get started.
1. Spend time on a script…
Going into this, I was working under the assumption that we’d need some manner of script but, for the most part, we’d be winging it. It only took a single video to realize how wrong I was. We were using a script from the beginning. While we did adlib a bit, it was immediately apparent how important the script was.
This may seem like an obvious thing, but when you spend the better part of your day talking about a product, you feel confident enough you can do the same with a microphone in front of your face.
Don’t bet on it–having a polished script ensures you’re covering the important points.
2. …but don’t be afraid to deviate
As critical as the script is, if you want the video to feel authentic and convey real emotion, you’ll need to make changes on the fly. We’ll record each section of the video multiple times to make sure it feels and sounds authentic and natural. The script isn’t gospel. Instead, it’s a guide to tie together the scenes and concepts in the video.
3. Record, record, and record again
Getting a scene right on the first try is akin to keeping a wet dog in the bathtub. Try as you might, there will be slip ups.
Or, it just may not feel right. No matter how you feel after recording a scene, the playback may change your mind. In the beginning, we recorded a scene, played it back, and recorded it again—then repeated. We wisened up and now we record each scene a few times back-to-back and then listen in succession. Doing it this way lets you compare each attempt to single out the best take. If none sound good, well… do it again!
4. Finding the right voice and tone takes time
I don’t mean to say you need to make a host of videos to find your voice and tone. Instead, I’m talking about finding the right tone for a specific video.
We went back and listened. It sounded noticeably different! The final 25% felt so right, that we took the time to re-record everything up to that point so that there was continuity. It was well worth the effort. Once we dialed it in we were able to record much more quickly too.
For future videos we recorded a reading of the entire script, sometimes multiple times, to get a feel for the tone. Ultimately this saved us time, produced a better quality video, and gave the video authenticity.
5. Have fun
It’s not all business. You will definitely need to take breaks. We deviate from the script (sometimes by A LOT) because a good laugh can go a long way.
And like I said at the start, doing impersonations was what I really wanted to do in the first place. So don’t hesitate to cut loose when the urge strikes and enjoy the moment. It’s not often you get an opportunity to professionally record yourself cutting up for, you know, posterity.
Oh, and don’t think we didn’t save some of the fun stuff—listen in for yourself below!
Jumping into your own recordings? Let me know! We’re always eager to share and learn more, and collaborate along the way.
If the Chickasaw Nation wasn’t on your travel list, it should be. They have some spectacular offerings in store for their guests. From the breathtaking landscapes of their rec areas to a rich cultural center, opportunities to explore are limitless. Visitors can also relax in luxury at the Artesian Hotel, unwind at the Chickasaw Retreat spa, or even enjoy top-notch gaming at the WinStar World Casino and Resort.
Bedré is something really special, too. This small chocolatier was brought to life by the rich legacy of the Chickasaw Nation. Purchased in 2000, they’ve completely transformed it into a nationally recognized luxury chocolate brand. These sweets are offered in retail stores across the country, including The Artesian Hotel and Bedré Café.
(And our whole team can attest to the chocolate—we snagged a few pics prior to the devouring!)
The sounds of grumbling stomachs were heard far and wide, and the torment of a bagel-less, muffin-less, and cold-brew-less morning in the office had to stop. Plus, the line at the Starbucks machine was getting a bit lengthy thanks to the 32 ounce option. (I mean, really, Kevin? Who needs 32 ounces of coffee in the morning? All those dev hours, I guess…)
The decision was clear. We needed help:
Director of Breakfasts Flip.to seeks first-meal-making wizard
We are looking for a creative and gifted Director of Breakfast. You will be known as “the meal-making wizard” and maintain complete control of the kitchen and breakroom.
Making breakfast taste good
Cold brew making ability
Can incorporate tasty, vegan alternatives
Must hail from New York City
Sure, these were HUGE shoes to fill, and quite honestly we weren’t too sure they could.
To our surprise, the response was overwhelming. We had lines of people outside our office giving us tastings of their best breakfast dishes for days. In fact, we’re still getting the occasional chef trickle into our office. It’s a tear-jerker turning down so many crumble-top muffins in the past few days. Regardless, we had to stay strong and move on.
After countless hours of taste testing, résumé reviewing, and deliberation, a decision had been made! We couldn’t be more ecstatic to announce our new Director of Breakfasts, Traci Kent—sister of CEO and fearless Flip.to leader, Brian Kent.
The NY Style Bagels—you should’ve tasted them. And don’t get me started on the multitude of muffins. They’re so good that Traci was once asked to come to the White House for a Presidential Breakfast. She kindly turned it down. With gumption like that, we couldn’t be more proud to have her on the team. She captures the essence of Martha Stewart with the execution skills of highly trained Swat team. In other words, she’s the best.
UPDATE: Traci had to return to Brooklyn after the holidays. The team didn’t take the news very well, but we’re working out a plan to bake remote.
The aprons were tied, the Crock Pots were in-line, and the heat was ablaze during Flip.to’s First-Ever Chili Cook-Off. With chilly weather (74˚) sweeping across Florida, there wasn’t a better time for a warm bowl of chili topped with ooey gooey cheese and a dollop of sour cream (unless you are Ed who despises anything with sour cream.) Plus, office bragging rights were on the line, which hold a lot of weight around here!
For some, it was about trying the newest recipes they found online the night before or maybe stopping at Wendy’s and asking to fill their Crock Pot. For the seasoned veterans, it was about cooking recipes passed down from generations and toiling over perfection for hours, days, or even weeks! Contestants were starry-eyed and hopeful, however, they were unaware of the domination that was about to pursue.
Everyone was given a ballot to cast their votes for Team Favorite, Best Texture, Best Color, Best Consistency, Best Spice, Best Flavor, and Best Aroma. After the votes were counted, the winners are (drum-roll):
Overall, the hard work paid off (mainly for Rosana) and the team got to eat some pretty darn good chili. I mean, look at those happy Flip.to-ers!
After the tastings were done, votes tallied and the TUMS taken, all-in-all things didn’t get too fiery. The bar was set high thanks to the winners’ Martha Stewart like chili-cooking skills. Truly, everyone was a winner–even the slackers who didn’t participate, which I can say because I was one of them. Until next time!
At Flip.to, we’re constantly striving to innovate for our hotel partners, aspiring to find new and creative ways to help hotels earn new guests. As we continue to grow, so too does our team. In fact, this constant growth is what helps us serve our hotels even better! That’s why it makes me extremely proud to see two of our members moving up among the Flip.to ranks in the Marketing department.
Thanks to stellar performance and “gong-banging” ability, the one and only David Bruce is being promoted to the Account Management team. Stepping up to fill in for Mr. Bruce is our very own Crystal Ellington, moving from her research role up to the big stage as our new Business Development Representative.
So, what’s all this talk about a gong anyway? Think of it as a badge of honor, a celebration of the little victories along the way, heard loud and clear through the halls of Flip.to. It’s our little reminder of why we’re here—success through collaboration and innovation. As David passes the gong to Crystal for new pastures in the Accounts team, we’re all more inspired and motivated to achieve more. Congratulations to David and Crystal!
(P.S. Flip.to all-stars making moves means that there are more shoes to fill! Check out our openings here.)
Duncan, a nearly two-year-old American Foxhound Beagle mix, has joined the team to diligently guard the trophies and awards Flip.to has won.
Duncan came highly recommended by his housemate, Richard Dunbar, who also recently joined the Flip.to team. They’re both confident that working in the same office will not interfere with their home life.
I recently joined the Flip.to team, and being based out of Madrid, I’m very excited to be the first European team member! With that said, here’s a little bit about my past (and future!)…
Tell us one of your favorite memories from childhood?
I grew up in a large family. I was one of 5 kids. Once we were a bit older my dad created a family tradition. Each weekend he would take one of us on a weekend trip. We traveled all over Spain and Portugal. Each weekend was a mini holiday alone with our parents in hotels both good and bad.
How did that influence you as a grown up?
It gave me a great love of hotels and travel. I knew then that I wanted to do something that let me travel and stay in amazing hotels.
So, is that what drew you to the hospitality industry?
Oddly, that is not how it started. In the 1980’s, I moved to the United States and got a job with the Tourist Office for Spain in Chicago. It was my job to represent Spain to cities in the midwest. It was while doing this that the hospitality bug bit me.
What was your favorite part of that job?
As the junior employee, I had to do the trade shows in smaller cities. I would hop into my old station wagon and drive to places like St. Louis, Minneapolis, and other cities in the midwest. I really enjoyed seeing the US by car.
And you got hooked and stayed in hospitality forever?
Not quite, when I moved back to Spain, I applied for a job with Hertz. Alas, it wasn’t the car rental divisions it was the heavy equipment rental division. I got the job and was the operations manager for a couple of years. But, ultimately, I missed the hospitality industry and I found my way back.
Where else have you worked in the hospitality business?
I worked at an OTA back before they were big. Ultimately, I moved onto EZ Yield and helped hotels better learn how to manage OTAs.
Alfredo, you’ve been around the industry for a while, and you’ve been on the ground floor of some interesting products. What was it about Flip.to that you liked (other than the completely awesome people who work here)?
Over the past 2 years, I’ve seen hotels do more and more on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. However, when I have asked them about it, there were two things that always seemed to be an issue for them.
What’s the first one?
The amount of time it takes to properly manage the social networks. For most hotels this takes hours per week. However, the Flip.to platform isn’t something that needs to be managed constantly. It’s designed so that hotels can turn it on and almost walk away. So, the hotel reaps the benefits of reaching more people via the social networks without having to invest a lot of man hours to do it.
And, the second thing?
The tracking, the platform tracks multiple different metrics for hotels. In the blink of an eye, a hotel can see how many people shared a message, how many social connections were reached and how many people visited their website as a result of their posts. Beyond that, they can tie that to room nights booked.
So, ease of use and tracking, was there anything else that made you excited about Flip.to?
I love that there wasn’t anything else out there like it. Most social networking depends on using another brand to market your brand. Flip.to uses your guests’ networks as a new marketing channel and points their friends over to your hotel’s website in a way that feels personal. So you get to broaden your reach but ultimately drive traffic to your own site. No one else is doing that. I really like being a trailblazer.