Social Marketing: Social Media Meets Up With Feet-on-the-Ground Sociability in New Savannah Georgia Travel Video

SAVANNAH Georgia (April 6, 2012) — Thunderbird Inn in downtown Savannah takes social marketing to a refreshing level. The Swinging Sixties, retro hotel weaves real world sociability into win-win relationships with its neighbors. The result is a lively video that introduce to new and less-publicized attractions near the pop culture traveler’s favorite lodging.

Titled Meet Up on the Boulevard, downtown Savannah, the YouTube-hosted travel short delivers a one-minute teaser focusing on the northwest quadrant of downtown Savannah. “It just makes good marketing sense to tap video and social media [like Twitter and Facebook] to get out a bolder, more far-reaching message to the public!” Mark Thomas adds. “By sharing the spotlight, we truly get across our message to create win-win relationships.” The marketing team is collecting Twitter and Facebook addresses, too, as they broaden the inn’s social marketing reach.


“I control the biggest neon sign in Chatham County, Georgia. I have put Thunderbird’s marquee into overdrive talking about nine pubs and restaurants, eight museums, three trolley companies, two historic cemeteries, one welcome center, plus churches, art galleries and the Civic Center in our immediate area,” Thomas adds.

“I’m a team player interested in pointing to unique things to do near Thunderbird Inn — retro, pop culture, nightlife, one-of-a-kind restaurants, historic spots, and only-in-Savannah attractions that entertain. Tourists and locals never tire of exploring the beautiful Bull Street Corridor, River Street, and Broughton Street [downtown Savannah’s Main Street],” adds Thomas. “Off the beaten tourist path in the northwest quadrant of downtown Savannah, there are character-rich, entertaining places that are truly worth the trip, too.”

Even the daisy flowers have special significance. They are a nod to Savannah-born Girl Scouts founder, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, who is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery, just off MLK Jr. Boulevard near Gwinnett Street. Thunderbird Inn participates in the “Daisieis for Daisy” grassroots initiative to pay tribute to Mrs. Low during the organization’s 100th Anniversary year. “Anyone can do it. Just plant or use daisies somehow.” Thunderbird has been actively championing that initiative as well.


Mark Thomas is known as a neighborhood team player. He’s Thunderbird Inn’s general manager and a 2012 NEXTGeneration award winner. He set out two years ago to enliven the buzz about the often overlooked treasures that visitors and locals alike will find west of Barnard Street to Boundary Street, and along the MLK Jr. corridor downtown.

“In 2012, there are many wonderful and new tourism points of interest close by that make this the perfect time to ratchet up the conversation,” Thomas says. “What we’ve learned using social marketing tools is that ‘social’ is a key word that requires spirited interaction — listening for great information, asking and answering questions. With improved information we can do a better job of passing along Savannah travel tips to the inn’s visitors, especially about our downtown neighbors,” says Thomas.

“Through the process of making this video, we are now more sociable with our neighbors. We know more of them by name, and we better understand more of the unique offerings now, too. That equates to Thunderbird Inn being a valuable go-to source. We want to do ‘social’ very well in person and through social media.”


Dubbed ‘The Boulevard’ in the Thunderbird Inn’s latest marketing campaign, the name is shorthand for the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, plus a few blocks east and west — Barnard to Boundary streets. If Thomas and his neighbor businesses have their way, “The Boulevard” [Twitter hashtag #TheBlvd] will soon be among the top-of-mind answers to ‘What are some new things to do in downtown Savannah?’

More than a dozen businesses, including Ships of the Sea Museum, SCAD Museum of Art, and the Georgia State Railroad Museum participated in the first of a series of videos that Thunderbird Inn plans to produce. The collaborative video project was developed by Thomas, local marketing consultant Sandy Traub, and Guy Smith’s Popcorn Octane LLC digital production firm based in Hilton Head Island, SC.

“Stay tuned. We’ve only scratched the surface,” Thomas concludes.


Declaring itself The hippest hotel in Savannah™, the delightfully quirky, Thunderbird Inn (42 rooms) is where the historic downtown Savannah location and hip motel eccentricities meet up. Featured in New York Times, Southern Living,,, Dog Friendly magazine, the downtown inn-motel recaptures the southern retro spirit of the Swinging Sixties. The youthful General Manager, Mark Thomas, has directed the much-touted marketing toward a bold, free-spirited and young again approach, making the most of the popular resurgence of retro in the United States. Discounted Savannah lodging was never so much fun! Ask about discount local coupons, Staff Picks, MoonPie® on your pillow, and dog friendly / pet-friendly vacation accommodations. 611 West Oglethorpe Avenue, Savannah, GA USA 31401. Toll Free Reservations (866) 324-2661; International +1/912-232-2661; Fax 912-233-5551. Twitter: @TBirdInn; E-mail; Web:

Copyright (c) 2012 The Thunderbird Inn / Sandy Traub


Our Man Mark: Young, Hip and Awarded

Mark Thomas, Thunderbird Inn in downtown Savannah GA downtown

General Manager Mark Thomas named to 2012 GenerationNEXT in Savannah, GA

Hats off to our own Mark Thomas, general manager of the Thunderbird Inn (that’s us!)

Mark has been named to GenerationNEXT, a group of 20 (actually, 21 this year) business leaders under age 40 recognized for their business sense and humanitarian efforts by Savannah magazine and Business in Savannah (BiS). You can read Mark’s story, and those of his fellow honorees, in the March/April edition of Savannah magazine. It notes: “Mark Thomas found his business niche in the world of ‘retro travel’ by creating a uniquely Americana-style experience at the Thunderbird Inn.”

Congratulations to a forward-looking man who saw the future of the past. The circa 1964 Thunderbird got its groove back, thanks in large part to Mark, who crafted one of America’s dwindling numbers of classic Sixties motels into a fun, relevant and affordable lodging alternative. The Thunderbird is simultaneously the hippest hotel in Savannah™ and on the National Register of Historic Places. How’s that for versatility?

We’re proud of you, Mark! Give that boy a MoonPie® !

Press Release: Thunderbird Inn – March 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Thunderbird Inn. All rights reserved.

Downtown Savannah’s Newest McDonald’s Restaurant Sends The McBites Mobile on a Social Call to Thunderbird Inn

McBites Mobile (c) McDonald's Savannah GA

McBites Mobile to visit Thunderbird Inn in downtown Savannah GA

SAVANNAH Georgia (March 22, 2012) – Thunderbird Inn in downtown Savannah is one of the first downtown businesses to reach out and welcome the newest McDonald’s restaurant to the neighborhood. On Friday, March 23, 2012, at 2:00 p.m., the fun-loving McBites Mobile and team pop in for a social call under the giant neon sign at the so-hip Thunderbird Inn.

Thunderbird Inn manager, Mark Thomas and his Twitter team reached out to cheer on McDonald’s arrival in the northwest quadrant of the Landmark Savannah Historic District. “This is southern reciprocity at its very best to have The McBites Mobile pay a social call at our fun-loving inn! What a pleasure for us, our guests, and all our neighbors!” Continue reading

Modern Amenities and Yesteryear Treats at the Thunderbird Inn in Downtown Savannah GA

SAVANNAH GA (March 19, 2012) — What if you could get the best of the present and the past in a hip hotel room you could actually afford?

Funny you should ask, because that’s exactly what you can get at the Thunderbird Inn, the hippest hotel in Savannah. Three special rooms – the deluxe king – have now been outfitted with perks that offer the best of modern entertainment, along with some retro treats that helped define “deluxe” back in the Swinging Sixties.

Let’s review the new (and new-old) treats:

Magic Fingers! Yes, the real Magic Fingers! Time was, they were the cutting-edge amenity for circa-1960s motels. You dropped a quarter in a bedside slot, and the bed vibrated in a relaxing massage. Call it kitschy or call it kinky, it was a cultural icon. Anyway, the Thunderbird’s new Magic Fingers are better than the old version because you don’t even need a quarter to make them work.

Vintage typewriters! Yes, texting had a grandmother, and her name was typing. To go with these venerable communication devices, the Thunderbird Inn will throw in a stamped envelope so you, too, can send snail mail.

Wii game consoles, with games available from the front desk.

Streaming Netflix®, where the thousands of movies and TV shows include both contemporary fare and vintage Sixties offerings, like the original “Star Trek” series.

• Radio alarm clocks equipped with iPod® docking stations, so you can go retro while keeping your ears firmly planted in the present.

The Thunderbird Inn also offers free Wi-Fi to all of its guests (sorry, we just couldn’t stomach the idea of re-creating the screech of the dial-up modems of the recent past.) But wait – there’s more! A tiny little mint isn’t cool enough for the Thunderbird Inn. When we turn down your bed at night, we put a MoonPie® on your pillow. Welcome to Southern hospitality!

See what we mean about the best of the present and the past?

Savannah Americana nostalgia | Thunderbird Inn has nostalgic Magic Fingers

Nostalgic 'Magic Fingers' in Savannah, GA -- FREE in Deluxe King Suites

Magic Finger, Wii, and Wi-Fi are only a few of the reasons to stay at The Thunderbird Inn, the hippest hotel in Savannah ™. Stay tuned, and ask us anything on Twitter @TbirdInn and Facebook.

About The Thunderbird Inn

Located in downtown Savannah, Georgia USA, the popular Thunderbird Inn is the poster child for southern retro travel in America. Offering a delicious, newly refreshed slice of Americana lodging, the classic roadside motel was originally built in 1964. It now features 42 well-designed and stylishly appointed hotel rooms, featuring new colors that blends authentic historic Savannah colors and Thunderbird’s original paint palette. In keeping with the fun hotel’s southern retro vibe, nightly a MoonPie® is on your pillow and Krispy Kreme® donuts are the highlight of an on-the-go breakfast 365/7.

(c) 2012 The Thunderbird Inn. Savannah, GA. Toll Free 1/866-324-2661

Thunderbird Inn in Downtown Savannah Begins a Sustainability Plan to “Go Green”

At Thunderbird Inn in downtown Savannah, Georgia, there is a bridge to cross between the starting point of wanting to “Go Green” and reaching our destination as a green hotel. “One does not get across that bridge by simply looking at it. So we began, and we invite our guests to begin with us to earn our way among eco tourism champions!” states Mark Thomas, General Manager.

SAVANNAH Georgia (August 31, 2011) – Thunderbird Inn in downtown Savannah, Georgia, wants to be known as very active participants in the “sustainability” movement. By definition, sustainability is the capacity to endure.

Continue reading