Meeting the Faces behind the Bellagio Facebook

July 2012

My wife and I were having a late dinner at Café Bellagio on our last night in Vegas. As we waited for our Cobb salads, I checked my twitter, again, as I often do, obsessively. Earlier, I tweeted to the Bellagio (@bellagioLV) because my wife was intrigued by the hospitality crew’s cleaning supplies.

I tweeted, “Only my wife @y_anne_kees goes to #vegas & wants tips on cleaning products from @BellagioLV hospitality.”

I wasn’t surprised to see the following response so quickly-

“@salvegas24 you have to get tips from the experts! She should speak with Mr. & Mrs. Green Thumb in our Conservatory daily at 10am.”

Over the past few weeks, I tweeted to the Bellagio from several of my accounts. They always seem to respond very quickly. Impressed, I relayed my gratitude and compliments to the Bellagio via tweet and mentioned that I would love to stop by and meet them. Moments later, I received a direct message that read, “We’re located in the Hotel Sales & Marketing offices and would love to say hello!” 

The following day, Anne and I checked out of the hotel and decided on having our last meal in Vegas at the Aria Buffet. She encouraged me to accept their invitation and stop by the Sales and Marketing office. She appreciates and shares my love of Vegas. While she might not be quite as obsessed as I am, she knew that the idea of meeting the faces behind the Bellagio social networks would be a “big deal” to me and it certainly was.

We exited the Aria Express tram to the Bellagio and had no clue as to where the Sales and Marketing Office was. We wondered through a good portion of the convention center which included beautiful artwork and some really comfortable looking sitting areas. After walking through, what seemed like, the entire convention center, we came upon the Sales and Marketing Office. 

Entering the reception area, I was greeted by a lovely young brunette woman who looked a few years out of college. 

“Hi,” I said as I began to explain my bizarre visit to the office, “My name is Sal Rizza. I tweeted to the Bellagio yesterday and asked if I could stop by to say hello.” I rambled on about how impressed I was with the responses I received and how excited I was to meet the “faces behind the account.” In other words, I couldn’t be dorkier. 

She sent a message to Patricia the Director of Marketing to let her know I was in the front and if she had a few moments to meet with me. I was impressed by the Bellagio on a number of levels and shouldn’t have been surprised by the professionalism in the office. The secretary offered me water and asked if I could wait a few minutes for Patricia.  

 After a few moments, she made her way from her office and greeted me warmly.

 “Hello,” she said shaking my hand as her curly brunette hair fell slightly over her shoulder as she greeted me, “I’m Patricia Goodman, Interactive Marketing Manager, thanks for stopping by. I recognize you from your twitter picture!” I smiled awkwardly like a teenage girl meeting Justin Bieber or some other Teen Beat cover boy.

 I thanked her for taking time from her busy schedule to spend a few minutes with me. Patricia is more than just the woman who runs the twitter account, which I assumed, but I was surprised to learn that she is responsible for the entire branding and marketing for the Bellagio Hotel. (The casino has their own department). She, along with a staff of four, manages the social network sights, email promotion and campaigns, website, signage within the resort, and overall branding of the Bellagio name and image. What was most interesting is that she works with such a small staff that seems to manage so much. The Bellagio, arguably, has the most distinctive and recognizable brand in Las Vegas and for years, has become symbolic of the current Vegas era.

As fascinated as I was with everything Patricia offered, I was most interested in how they coordinate the social network sites and how they mange the Bellagio brand through social networking. I asked how they seem to respond at all hours of the night and it as expectation. While she didn’t detail a precise plan, I got the impression that between Patricia and her staff, they were expected to monitor the sites almost continuously and respond to messages that required responses as well as keep the conversation going. While several of my tweets to the Bellagio were in regards to being excited about my vacation or interesting observations, at a closer look at the resort’s twitter account activity, the staff is continually responding the questions and/or concerns regarding early check-ins, reserving specific colors or just thanking guests for comments. As an avid “tweeter” that manages 11 accounts and an obsessive Vegas fan, I’ve been most impressed with the Bellagio’s social networking staff. While other resorts respond to tweets or Facebook comments, Patricia and her staff seem to be a bit more sincere and genuinely interested in their guests. I asked Patricia if she as always “on duty” to which she explained that unless she’s away on vacation or inaccessible she’s dedicated to responding to questions and to comment on interesting observations or retweet pictures and posts. They have developed a strong web presence that includes an informative website, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare pages and continue to provide web resources to their guests. 

This was the overarching theme of staying at the Bellagio. While I am unable to find the Bellagio Mission statement on-line, the feeling that staying in the resort promotes is that they are truly committed to creating a guest-first experience in all that they do. This was evident in each and every interaction I had with a staff member during my four-night stay. Everyone including the black jack dealers, concierge, hospitably staff, bell desk & restaurant staffs seem to genuinely care about every guest’s experience. This is certainly how I felt while speaking with Patricia.

 Our informative conversation ended with Patricia answering some of my random questions including where the scenes in Oceans 11 were shot. Many were filmed at the Petrossian Piano Bar off the main lobby. The scene (one of my favorites) of Tess, played by Julia Reports, descending the stairs was shot near the concierge desk. However, the stairs were removed to expand the resort and add a new tower. The scene of Danny, played by George Clooney, and Tess having a drink was filmed in the Picasso restaurant. The scenes of Terry Benedict, played by Andy Garcia, in his office were filmed in the Bellagio chairman’s office. 

While I could have annoyed Patricia and her staff for hours with my never ending Vegas curiosity, I thanked her incessantly for her time. She provided me with her card and invited me and my wife to take site tour when we return. In true Bellagio fashion, Patricia and her staff demonstrated great class and kindness in meeting with an obsessive and awkward guest.

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