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Q & A with Abi Tottenham-Smith, SLH’s Head of Social Media

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF. WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

I am originally from Surrey, just south of London but I have been living in London for the last 5 years and just bought a little flat in East London.

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT SLH AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT IT?

I am the Head of Social Media, looking after all our social media channels, as well as blogger and influencer relations. I have been with SLH for just over 4 years now and really love the company and the brand – the diversity of hotels and locations makes my job very easy and I never struggle with creating content for social media!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST EXPERIENCE WHEN VISITING AN SLH HOTEL?

Oooh can I have two? My first was staying at Viceroy Bali in Ubud. I spent 3 months working from our Singapore office and during this time I managed to visit Bali a couple of times over the weekends. On my first visit, I spent 1 night at Viceroy Bali (below) and it was a true pinch-me moment. The hotel is absolutely stunning and I was given a huge suite with private infinity pool overlooking the Balinese jungle. I definitely wished I was sharing it with someone and not alone though… the second was last year during a trip to the Amalfi coast. Myself and my boyfriend stayed at Punta Tragara hotel in Capri and as soon as we arrived we were treated like royalty- they gave us the Penthouse Suite and treated us to a 10 course tasting menu at their Michelin starred restaurant… it was a struggle to go back to living like paupers afterwards!

 

WHAT SLH HOTEL DO YOU MOST WANT TO VISIT?

Again, I can’t just pick one! Firstly Sikelia has been on my list ever since it joined the SLH portfolio a couple of years ago. It is a super stylish hotel on the tiny island of Pantelleria which is in between Sicily and Tunisia. I love that it seems undiscovered and away from the usual tourist trail. I am also dying to do a road trip through Canada and would love to visit Trout Point Lodge, a secluded eco-lodge in Nova Scotia, surrounded by forestland with the most amazing looking hot tub and barrel sauna right on the river. I am so attracted to hotels in the middle of nowhere and in nature, disconnected from it all. Which is why my third choice would be Petit St Vincent in St Vincent & The Grenadines, a private island hotel with 22 cottages, all scattered around the island. It looks like the place for ultimate relaxation and they even have no wifi or phone signal so you can completely cut off from everything!

WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE CITY AND WHY?

There is a theme here, but again I am going to break the rules and give you three. My first is Copenhagen. The restaurants and shops are amazing and I was utterly fascinated by the Freetown Christiania. Second is Tokyo. I went this year and it is just mind-blowing, such incredible hospitality and the karaoke scene is out of this world! Thirdly, and I never thought I would say this, but I have spent a lot of time in New York over the last couple of years and I feel like part of my heart lies there. I never used to be a fan, mostly due to the constant beeping of horns by taxi drivers, but I have fallen in love with it recently after discovering all the neighbourhoods in Brooklyn and spending time away from Manhattan.

WHICH DESTINATION DO YOU MOST WANT TO VISIT AND WHY?

As I mentioned already, I am desperate to get to Canada so that is very high up on my list. But apart from that, I still haven’t visited anywhere in South America so I would love to do a big trip and travel around South America.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE HOBBY, OUTSIDE OF WORK?

Apart from travelling and spending all my money and free time on holidays, I am a bit of a musical theatre geek. I love going to the theatre and watching shows but I also love performing. My friends know me for always trying out different dance styles and I recently took courses in tap dance, street dance and musical theatre.

DESCRIBE AN AVERAGE DAY WORKING AT SLH

My average day involves starting with all the fun admin-y stuff, like answering emails and responding to queries on our social media channels and then I will be doing anything from creating content for the channels, working with our graphic designer to plan the Instagram feed for the month, arranging photography shoots at our hotels, arranging trips for bloggers and influencers and planning group press trips. I also try to get out the office as much as possible and meet with influencers and potential partners as well as attending events and talks on social media and PR.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PROJECT YOU HAVE WORKED ON AT SLH?

I currently have an ongoing project which started last year, creating photography at our hotels. I was struggling to find decent photography and videography to use on our social channels, Instagram in particular, as we had to rely on stock hotel images or user-generated images. I wanted our Instagram channel to have a very specific look and feel where followers would automatically recognise an image was ours when it came up on their feed. Therefore, I started the Instagram Revival Project last year (see below), sending social media photographers all over the world to visit our hotels. The project started with one couple visiting Italy, Greece and Spain. We then had another couple visiting the UK and France, then Thailand. This year, we have completed the project in the USA and Caribbean, as well as Japan and China, with Australia and New Zealand coming later in the year. By the end of the year, our photographers will have visited and created content at over 125 hotels. I also have great fun working with our Digital Content and Design Manager, Jemima, planning the Instagram content and getting creative on Illustrator to add fun design elements to some of our content to ensure it stands out from the crowd.