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


Retro Savannah Hotel’s Terrific, Modern Savannah Pace

Some businesses choose to keep pace. Others want to set a smashing pace. The Thunderbird Inn’s marketing team, lead by General Manager Mark Thomas and Marketing Executive Sandy Traub, decided to quicken the inn’s marketing pace in 2008, and have not stopped! In August 2011 the national newsletter pacesetters, MYEMMA points to the inn’s social media genius using Facebook.