Biltmore announces the launch of a new blog, Open House, that is proving to be a highly effective tool in building an engaged community of enthusiasts for this National Historic Landmark and its Biltmore For Your Home program of licensed home products.
Launched on Dec. 15, the new blog provides a powerful communication channel for Biltmore to share behind-the-scenes information, news and expert tips with Biltmore enthusiasts. In its first 30 days alone, the blog attracted 19,000 visitors.
"It has changed the way we market Biltmore For Your Home and given us rich content for our social media efforts," said Christy Hodgins, director of marketing for Biltmore’s Home Products Division. "The launch of the blog opened up an opportunity to share truly unique information that has never been shared before."
Recent blog content includes little-known Biltmore history, the similarities between Biltmore and PBS’ "Downton Abbey" series, memorable wine pairings and tips for creating a home spa experience with the Biltmore Bath & Body collection.
"Biltmore is, at its foundation, a home that needs to be cared for each day. We also care for our guests with a true focus on hospitality," said Hodgins. "With that comes a tremendous amount of expertise in home design, housekeeping, gardening, culinary arts and entertaining that is great content for our blog, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter."
According to Kathleen Mosher, Biltmore’s director of communications, the blog was developed after listening to conversations taking place in Biltmore’s social channels, especially Facebook. "Fans were eager to learn more about everything from objects and art original to the Vanderbilt collection, to the running of Biltmore House, to expert tips for entertaining - subjects that a format like Facebook or Twitter, with limited character counts for posts, can’t accommodate. With the blog, we’re able to explore specific topics in great depth and deepen the connection we have with our fast-growing online audience," said Mosher.
Biltmore’s Facebook page currently has 82,000 fans who receive regular updates about the historic Biltmore House and gardens, and the number grows every day. On Twitter, Biltmore has more than 10,000 followers, who link to the page for news and discussion about Biltmore events, products and history.
The estate’s website at Biltmore.com draws about 3 million unique visitors annually, and its branded e-newsletters connect to a half million subscribers each month. Hundreds of fans also enjoy the visual splendor of the Biltmore experience through Pinterest.
Along with providing a vehicle for sharing product inspiration stories, expert advice and decorating ideas with Biltmore enthusiasts, social media also is used to promote Biltmore For Your Home products and licensing partners. During recent months, Biltmore’s Facebook posts included items about serveware from Belk, decorative rugs from Capel and framing ideas from Larson-Juhl, with links to the partners’ websites.
"Partnering with Biltmore on social media allows us to provide their audience with relevant, useful and interesting custom framing information in context with the Biltmore brand, while also reaching potential consumers for our own dealers," said Lynn Fey-Duncan, vice president of corporate identity for Larson-Juhl. "For Larson-Juhl, this is what social media is all about — working together to make an impact. And when we have an opportunity to partner with Biltmore in social media, we’re creating a stronger brand presence." Fey-Duncan added that in addition to the exposure such information gets on Biltmore’s social media platforms, Larson-Juhl shares the postings on its own sites, "allowing the message to travel farther and touch more people."
"Biltmore is deeply rooted in history and tradition, but we also strive to stay current with the latest methods for connecting with our enthusiasts," says Hodgins. "With social media, we have an ongoing dialogue with visitors and other fans throughout the country and the world."
Social media and more traditional merchandising and advertising efforts have created a highly informed and motivated customer base for Biltmore For Your Home, which has grown to become a highly recognizable home brand since its launch in 1990. Inspired by the timeless elegance and gracious hospitality of Biltmore, the Biltmore for Your Home program includes four main product lines — home furnishings, gourmet foods, garden and patio, and licensed art — from more than 30 leading sources.
Biltmore Chateau Reserve offers richly designed products with the finest materials and craftsmanship, and Biltmore For Your Home provides updated traditional style that is affordable luxury for today’s homeowners.
"The Biltmore brand embodies hospitality and home," says Tim Rosebrock, vice president of Biltmore’s Home Products Division. "Our brand resonates with consumers across the country who are drawn to the gracious lifestyle of Biltmore and eager for fresh ideas and unique products to make their homes warm and welcoming."