Episode 10: How The Perry Hotel Key West, Went From Idea, To Boutique Hotel Juggernaut

September 26, 2019

We are having a conversation between Mark Baratto and Jenny Lorenz. 

MARK:           Welcome to the Backyards of Key West podcast, my name is Mark Baratto and I’m with Jenny Lorenz and we are at the Perry Hotel. There may be a little background noise, there’s a meeting going on over here to the right and we are in the bar/lounge type area where there’s an immense amount of happy hour that will be going on later today. Not right now, because it’s about 9:30 in the morning, so the happy hour is the Perry Hotel coffee that I’m guzzling. I am very fond of this hotel. So there’s going to be a lot of biased questions and love for it because I’ve stayed at the hotel and it’s amazing. I’ve eaten here, they have an amazing pool for locals and I’ve splashed in the pool as a guest and as a local and all of it has been fantastic. Why don’t we start by you giving me a little background on what you do here and then maybe go into, I don’t know how The Perry ended up here on Stock Island? Maybe a little bit of the origin story? 

JENNY:          Okay. Again, my name is Jenny and I am the Director of Marketing here at the Perry Hotel Key West and the hotel opened about two years ago, May 1, 2017. Actually, closer to 2 ½ now, and it’s just a really cool property. When they built it they really wanted to embrace the maritime history of Stock Island and with the location on the marina, we really wanted to embrace that and not only did the design and the décor, but in the architecture, so I thin that they did a really great job with that. We’ve won multiple awards when it comes to the design of the hotel. It just really stands out apart from the rest of the properties in the Florida Keys. 

MARK:           I know that Stock Island, because I’m originally from Miami and Miami Beach in particular and then you had Wynwood which at the time was kinda like dumpsville and then has now transformed to be a hot spot and a hot place to go. Now I’m not calling Stock Island dumpsville by any means, but when I was first coming to Key West and you come across this little island right before you got to main lane Key West, proper Key West, was Stock Island which I’m assuming was fisherman, docking, a lot of that stuff going on here. So why this location? I love it. Stock Island in and of itself is reminding me of the direction of where Wynwood is going, there’s a lot of cool and hip things here, a lot of locals like to come here. My gym is here so that’s convenient, I’m in New Town so it’s even more convenient, so tell me why this location?  

JENNY:          I think that our owner really had this vision before anybody else could even conceptualize it. In my opinion, Key West could only grow so much. We face issues with housing regularly and there’s only so much space to grow. Actually, I look at it a little bit like Las Vegas, where you have old Vegas and new Vegas. You get to a point where one section of the land is built up enough and you really just have to grow outward. So that’s the way that I look at Stock Island, it’s the new up and coming Key West. Like you said, it’s not Key West proper but it is still part of Key West. Really, we are just one bridge over, five miles from downtown Duval. Everything is still really easily accessible, but you have a little bit more space to move around, it’s kind of like an oasis from the chaos of what downtown has to offer, and there’s parking! Actually, a lot of amazing great restaurants reside on Stock Island. I’m biased, I love Matt’s (Stock Island Kitchen & Bar) of course, and we have The Salty Oyster, but also there’s Roostica Pizza, Hogfish, El Siboney here now, and I think that we are just going to continue to see amazing new restaurants being built here on the island. 

MARK:           And we can bounce around a little bit but also there, and I’ve heard in the grapevine and I see pictures over here in the front, there’s expansion happening over here. Tell me a little bit about what’s going on here. But first, let’s paint the picture. How many rooms do we have here in the hotel? 

JENNY:          We have 100 rooms, it’s a boutique hotel, so we are not a part of any chain. We stand alone. 

MARK:           Are there height restrictions? Or, no?

JENNY:          I believe that there are. 

MARK:           I think that the whole island there are, but it seems like you wanted to keep it boutique’y anyway, right? So why go up 40 stories. 

JENNY:          The 100 rooms was just the right number from what I’ve heard from ownership and what they originally determined when they were building this whole property, was they started with the marina. The marina was the vision and they said first we are going to build this amazing state-of-the-art marina. 

MARK:           Deep water marina, right? 

JENNY:          The deepest water marina. 

MARK:           A 100-foot boat could come in here. 

JENNY:          Oh yeah, bigger than that. I think it’s close to 300. And there’s 220 slips right now and so that was the first phase of the Perry property. 

MARK:           Are they rented by the Perry? Like the Perry owns them or can individuals buy the slips? 

JENNY:          They are owned by the Perry and the Stock Island Marina. We do have transient slips available as well as Coconut Row. And Coconut Row is where people can live long-term. So, they can do monthly, semi-annually and they can do annually. That’s just one of the main cool features that we have to offer here is that when you do live here at the property, you have access to all these amazing amenities that the Perry has to offer.

MARK:           And as a local, we have them, too. Which is pretty amazing. I mean not the inside part of the hotel, but the pool and the outside part. 

JENNY:          Yeah and parts of the inside you know. Especially the lobby area, the bar area, stuff like that, but the marina was phase one, then once that was built they moved onto phase two which was the Perry Hotel and our two restaurants Matt’s and Salty Oyster. Obviously those are up and running and so the next phase is phase three and that should open November 1st and that includes a second waterfront pool, a third restaurant the Barrel House, and an event lawn with a raised stage and will also feature a VIP terrace overlooking the area. Then it’s also going to tie into the opening of a new distillery on property.

MARK:           Owned by the Perry? Or is that separate?

JENNY:          It will be owned by the Perry property and the Stock Island Marina Village, but it will be run by Key West Distilling. Yes. 

MARK:           Interesting. That’s November as well?

JENNY:          That’s all November 1st.

MARK:           Like a month – almost away?

JENNY:          It’s going to be a rolling start. Because it is a lot and so we are still kinda just confirming all of the permitting and the opening of the different parts and pieces of the property. But as of November 1st, we anticipate at the very least the second pool will be open and the event lawn and the stage. 

MARK:           And permitting is done already. Because that’s the thing that will keep it going forever. So, if you have permitting done then – it’s a matter of logistics.

JENNY:          Exactly, so that’s the phase three and we will have a phase four. That’s still in motion, they haven’t started breaking ground or anything like that yet, but the hope is that that will bring additional rooms to the property. 

MARK:           Okay, so the way it works is that when you drive down Shrimp Road and then you make the left into the drop off and the lobby entrance is, if you were to keep going straight past the hotel, you can make another left where you can go to the marina. Then there’s a little area like a dog park kinda thing.

JENNY:          Yup, two dog parks. 

MARK:           And a parking lot over there and if you keep going, because I’ve gone all the way down as far as you can go and it’s like, there’s a bunch of dead land. So, is that where this is all happening? 

JENNY:          Yes. 

MARK:           Okay, so it will be to the right of where the hotel is coming when you’re coming in and the pool, will that be for hotel guests? Obviously hotel guests but locals? Can I use that pool, too?

JENNY:          Yes, so both pools will be available for our guests of course. The pool that’s closes tot the hotel and in between Matt’s and Salty’s will primarily be for hotel guests and marina guests. We will really look to that second pool as the moral local friendly pool.

MARK:           Smart, very smart.

JENNY:          Which is nice just because you know, our guests do pay resort fees and we want to be respectful of that. The pool is right next to their rooms and so there’s, well you kinda want to keep all that in mind. Whereas the other pool is a little bit further down the property and really it will be like the party pool. 

MARK:           No, that makes a lot of sense and I always think about that when I’m in the pool and I’m going, okay so I see 20 people in this pool that I know aren’t staying here. It’s off season, so us as locals we are respectful to that you know. That’s why you guys do that because it’s not like in peak season. We are not here during Fantasy Fest unless you want us to be jumping in that pool. But I’m thinking that if all these rooms are full and it happens to be at pool time, how do you navigate that? But this is a great solution for that because if I was running the hotel, I would want the pool closest to the rooms for the guests and now, if you’re a local you can still go to the restaurant there, just don’t go in the pool because of everybody else. So, then the bigger pool is going to be for all the locals and guests. Now is it bigger or the same size?

JENNY:          It’s actually the same as it comes to how much water is in the pool, how many gallons it is. But it’s a different layout though, which is super cool, the actual patio is a little bit bigger and it has a little bit more of a design rather than the rectangle that we have here at this property. 

MARK:           Now, most importantly, will there be a bar connected to this pool?

JENNY:          There will, yes.

MARK:           Okay, then all the locals will be there no problem. 

JENNY:          That will be the Barrel House and that’s actually going to be a BBQ and Brews concept. Because we already have two really amazing seafood restaurants on sight, we were like, you know there’s no need to add a third. 

MARK:           There’s only so many oysters and shrimp I can have.

JENNY:          Yeah and they do it so well, why compete with our existing restaurants. So, we really wanted to go a different route with it and our chefs all come from the south and one of the things that they really wanted to do was to pull in that southern cooking with the brisket and BBQ ribs and that kinda stuff. 

MARK:           I was just thinking about my trip in Austin last summer and all of what’s going on there will be going on in this restaurant. 

JENNY:          We are really excited about it and wanted to go out on our own when it comes to signature cocktails and shareable cocktails. We already have a couple of those really big Moscow mule mugs and I forget how many ounces they are, but they are huge and so…

MARK:           Yeah, two and you’re done.

JENNY:          It’s basically like a fish bowl so it’ll be cool because we don’t know any other restaurants that are doing that around town and we want to be creative and have fun with it and have another reason to come out to the property and just see what we have to offer. 

MARK:           Will the stage be there as well? You mentioned the open lawn and the stage? I’m assuming that that means music?

JENNY:          Yeah, a lot of the events that we have now, we really want to shift over to that part of the property because that’s what it’s for. It will be great for not only events and live music, but also for weddings. So now we have this private space that’s waterfront that our brides, grooms and any other kind of reception or celebration will have access to. 

MARK:           So, if there’s a crazy bachelor party they can be jumping in that pool naked instead of this closer one.

JENNY:          They could, yeah.

MARK:           So how many people can that lawn area hold?

JENNY:          It’s about up to 500. But that would be the entire space. I would say the lawn itself is probably close to like 250 standing. If you open up the bar area, the VIP terrace, the pool area, then we anticipate we could probably get about 500 up there. 

MARK:           Okay, but if we are having a wedding and it’s sit-down, with the stage is the actual wedding is happening, then you’re looking at in the 2’s probably. 

JENNY:          Probably.

MARK:           Is there another area for events? Like say that I wanted to bring down a bunch of businessmen or women and we want to have a corporate event? Is there a space inside for that? 

JENNY:          Yeah, what’s interesting about this property is we have a lot of what we call “out of the box venues.” We not only have a sunset lounge up on our 3rd floor that overlooks the saltwater mangroves, we also have an office space in the Coral Lagoon building that’s right behind the Salty Oyster, and that space overlooks the marina and can accommodate up to 70 people. That’s a really great space. 

MARK:           Is that being redone? I went in that space once before and there was a couple of random offices and the Red Pants Collection were in there. Is that all being converted into space for events or also office? 

JENNY:          Not for events but it’s office space right now. The lower level is actually going to be turned into retail space. 

MARK:           Oh nice.

JENNY:          Right now, there’s on the bottom floor is garage door openings and they are going to change that to glass doors. 

MARK:           Like bay doors but it will be all glass. Wow, that’s nice.

JENNY:          You’ll be able to hang out, really where we see it going is having a bunch of retail shops down there. Cupcake Sushi actually has one of the spots, Lazy Dog has one of the spots, we are hoping to expand maybe to a retail space specifically for the Perry merchandise there. So that’s also part of this development and it’s the third phase. 

MARK:           The indoor event space, how many people can fit in there? What’s that going to look like?

JENNY:          That is in that same building and can accommodate about 70 people.

MARK:           Okay, so it’s in the same building. Are you not building a whole separate building for it?

JENNY:          No, it’s in that same building and it’s on the second floor so you have really beautiful views of the marina. Then we actually have a third location as well. That’s our captains’ lounge and it’s at the very end of the pier. That’s birds eye view of the marina, you can see the shrimp boats that come in and out of the harbor and it’s a really beautiful space. That one is a little smaller, probably can accommodate about 35 or so. 

MARK:           Okay, and that’s if someone wanted to do an event at the end of the pier or something like that. 

JENNY:          Like receptions. We have had bachelorette party receptions, we just had meetings out there, baptism parties, you know so pretty much anything. 

MARK:           You’re doing a great job, you’re looking at any notes, you know all these numbers, you are definitely in charge of marketing. You’re doing a wonderful job. 

JENNY:          I have it here just in case though. 

MARK:           You’re doing great, don’t worry. 

JENNY:          Let’s talk about social media. I know that you don’t do the social media, well sometimes you do because we communicated a little bit but tell me about that because this is what I do. I do marketing, sales consulting and all that and the job you’re doing on social is fantastic. 

JENNY:          Oh, thank you.

MARK:           I just want to know how is the return on that happening? Because, are you doing paid advertising? Let’s start there, you do paid advertising on there as well? 

JENNY:          We are.  We do have a variety of different campaigns on social media. We do an email acquisition, promotional and then we do one specifically promoting Matt’s as it comes to whatever specials we are offering, like right now it’s locals’ appreciation. And next month it will be the brunch. We also do some Instagram feed and story advertising. 

MARK:           Are you, and sorry I’m getting nerdy everybody, are you breaking that up into a particular amount? Meaning this percentage is for return on investment? Like we are doing things that we can prove that people are walking into the door because of social? And then another percentage just for branding?

JENNY:          Yes. What’s nice about it is that even though you may not be able to tie each one directly to that ad, you can see your clickthrough rates and you can gage it based on impressions as well. So, it always comes down to attribution, I would say. You can see either if it’s last click attribution where they are actually coming straight from the ad into the booking engine. Or, you can just look at really your return on ad spent. As it comes to clicking and viewing and engaging with the app. 

MARK:           Well, something like this in my opinion, you definitely want to go a little heavier on the branding because someone may be planning to come down here in six months and not know where they want to go and they see all these amazing pictures and all these different things and then when they are ready, then they remember it. That’s heavy on the branding. But what’s cool on Facebook, on their business page to get even nerdier, you can do ads for shopping. Like actually coming into the location so if you are capturing emails and phone numbers and stuff, even of guests, you can upload that and then you can track to see how many people clicked on that ad and came in here because they used a credit card and stuff like that. So it makes it really good because even if you show that to me as a local, and you’re like local specials, and then I come here and I actually pay, you can track because you upload that and you’re like, Mark came in here and he saw this ad and he came in here and spent. So, there’s a lot of great things that Facebook business page which change all the time. 

JENNY:          It’s funny how much they can track nowadays. 

MARK:           It’s pretty amazing. I’ve heard a couple of times, maybe the audience heard a couple of times, you refer to the Perry Key West. Does that mean that there’s expansion of the brand to other locations? 

JENNY:          No, it’s just really our full proper name. The Perry Hotel Key West. 

MARK:           I thought it was going to be like, Newport, Rhode Island. 

JENNY:          Not at this time, but who knows? 

MARK:           Well, you are expanding here and it’s smart from the business that I’ve done and a lot of my mentors, you’re focusing on the core business. You are growing that and you have a big expansion coming, you might as well put all your efforts into that to get that brand really strong, which in my opinion, is very strong already. 

JENNY:          It’s pretty amazing how far we have come in just two short years. And even with Hurricane Irma back in 2017, we had just opened. So, the fact that we were able to bounce back right after that and come back even stronger, it says a lot about the product that we have to offer. I feel like the hardest thing in my position is getting people out here. There’s so many people in Key West who are like, “Oh it’s so far.” It’s like, really? It’s four miles. But I get it because we are a really small community on a really small island so my goal is to get them here. And once they do, they fall in love with it. 

MARK:           You are focusing a lot on locals, not on locals first but getting a lot of locals to come to the hotel. When it comes to Matt’s, that is definitely my focus, Matt’s and Salty Oyster because locals is what keeps this island running. We are the ones who really, I mean you need the local support if you want to be successful. 

MARK:           Since this is September.

JENNY:          Exactly, and September is kind of rewarding them for that loyalty that they’ve given you throughout the rest of the year. 

MARK:           The deals on the food are pretty amazing. 

JENNY:          And, it’s very competitive too. Anywhere you go they are offering a really great special. 

MARK:           I don’t know if I’ve seen, and it’s funny because in my marketing psychology plays a lot of play on things, and you can say half-off dinner specials, or you can say you buy one and you get one free. And for some reason, the one free sounds better even though 50% off dinner is the same exact thing. So that’s a good move doing that. 

JENNY:          It’s really funny because I actually have a retail background. One of my first jobs out of college was working at a major department store in downtown Milwaukee and that’s one of the campaigns that we used to run all the time. Not buy one get one free, but we would always look at what the offering should be and the wording of it. There is a lot of psychology that goes into it. What triggers that good feeling when you hear it or see it and you’ll see it in grocery stores, any kind of retail offering. I think they’ve really done their homework and understanding what it is that drives sales for their industry.

MARK:           Oh yeah. We can get really nerdy, and we’re not going to get that nerdy on this one, but that could be a marketing podcast and I’ll get all the marketing heads together. The power heads together here in key West and we can talk about that because I could go on and on because I’ve studied psychology and all that, way many years. And the littlest tweaks make a big difference. 

JENNY:          My favorite class ever was consumer behavior in college and you learned a lot about what makes people want to buy things. And what kind of connections they have to brands. You know the emotions that are triggered and the different types of advertising that you can do based on fear, based on emotion, it’s just so cool. 

MARK:           There’s a great book by Robert Cialdini called Influence. If you haven’t read it or listened to the audio book, I will show you after. So, let’s get into some juicy things here and people always want to know, and I want to know, so how about that? If I go to Expedia over coming to the hotel, what’s the better deal for me? 

JENNY:          Always booking direct. It kills me. It’s so funny because we actually are running a promotion right now, I have the perfect example, and within the last four days I think, I’ve received at least ten inquiries via social media saying “I booked through Expedia or I booked through Hotels.com and I want this offer.” And I said, you know that’s why you don’t book with those companies because you can’t get that offer then, and I said it in a much nicer way, but. 

MARK:           Oh, so they saw a better offer and they are like – I want this – and you’re like sorry. 

JENNY:          Well, we are always happy to work with guests on that sort of thing. Our recommendation is to call the front desk first so that we can understand what you booked through that third party and then help you maybe cancel that reservation and then rebook directly with the hotel. 

MARK:           Or, what about if, for whatever reason, they find it cheaper, they can call the hotel and you’ll match that? 

JENNY:          We have a best rate guarantee. If that ever does happen, let us know, and unfortunately it does happen because those third parties can undercut the hotel. What they do is they collect a commission for every booking that they get, and so if they aren’t getting the bookings that they think they should be getting, they will actually cut their own commission so that they can get more bookings. It all comes down to the most beneficial to any guest is to book direct, because not only is the reservation in your hands but the payment is also in your hands as well as the hotel. You have full control over that and you’re much more likely honestly to get an upgrade when you come to the property and additional perks. 

MARK:           I agree, I agree, and I’m not knocking any of those services because I know that Expedia is knocking on my door to sponsor the podcast, but I have recently because I travel a lot had gone direct. I will do price searching and then I go direct because you do have the at control. You have the ability to say, like let’s say that I pay for a room direct and I got to my room and I wanted it on the ground floor instead of the second floor, I may not be able to get something like that. With your hotel, you’re very accommodating, others they don’t. They are like, well that’s this rate, you can’t change it. If you book directly with us, we can play with all those different things. 

JENNY:          Exactly, when you have a specific – and really the large hotels – they are going to have a specific range of rooms or room types that they give to all those Expedia bookings. And there just isn’t a lot of flexibility there as it comes to upgrades or anything like that, whereas if we are going through all of our inventory and we see one day that we are overbooked in this one room type, the first thing we are going to do is look to see who booked direct and we are going to upgrade them. 

MARK:           Wow, so listen everybody, you’re getting it here. The thing about Key West is that we don’t have 100 story hotels. It does help the local businesses by going direct because then they don’t have to pay a middleman and like you just heard right here, you’re going to possibly get an upgrade or a little perks or little things like that when you’re going direct. Speaking about all these perks, I see that you have a very strong influencer program with social media. Especially Instagram. 

JENNY:          Yeah. 

MARK:           Are those people that are like? Hey, can I get a deal? Or, are you actively searching them out? 

JENNY:          It’s a little bit of both. What every marketer…

MARK:           Let me interrupt for a minute, what I mean by that is, there will be guests who come to the hotel who heavily promote the hotel and their overall experience because they are very good story tellers. Maybe they have a half million followers or a million followers, maybe 100,000 followers, sometimes 20-30,000 followers, these are what we call influencers in the space, because this is the person that when they speak to their audience then their audience listens and they are able to then show their experience in the hotel. Sometimes they get the hotel for free, sometimes at a discount, sometimes they get food and I understand why because it would be like if Brad Pitt came walking in the hotel and he’s gonna get something free because he can promote. 

JENNY:          Yes, what I was going to say is that what every marketer needs to understand in this day and age is that influencers are very important. It’s interesting to me how quickly they skyrocketed to those positions but because they have such a large following, it’s a really relatively cheap way to get in front of a large audience. When you’re going into sales funnel, you want to touch every person you’re reaching out to at least 5-7 times. If that first touch point is then learning about you from an influencer then that’s great because then they are starting to get that introduction to the property, maybe they will come visit the website, maybe then we can serve them up an ad in the future or maybe they follow us on social media, whatever the case is. We really embrace the influencer community and I’ve had some really great partnerships with them where it’s nice because they are all pretty strict sometimes about this is what you get for this. When they come to this property, I never have to worry that they are not going to post enough, take enough stories, it’s just really organic and I’ve never been let down – knock on wood – but I’ve had a lot of really successful influencers stay with us and just promote the property to the level that I can’t do because I’m sitting in my office all day and they are really experiencing it as a guest and that’s what I want on my side. I want that guest point of view and I want to share that with our followers so that they can see this is a true experience, this is not me telling you what you’re going to experience at the property, this is somebody who is truly experiencing it. 

MARK:           So that people at home will understand, the way that it typically works is that if I’m an influencer with a million followers, maybe I reach out to Nike and say I’m going to wear your shoes, or they will reach out to me and they are going to pay me for that, and right now there is no gage on what that payment should be. 

JENNY:          Everyone negotiates it really. 

MARK:           For some people it’s $50,000, and for some people it’s a free pair of sneakers. When you have great product and something that’s beneficial, it is a lot easier to trade a hotel night’s stay, a dinner, and what people don’t understand is that a dinner that costs $100 for you, doesn’t cost the hotel $100. This is their cost and time and a loss of maybe somebody else. So, the benefit of doing that at a hotel like this is that it’s better than paying somebody for it. The reason why is because, just like you explained, I come to the hotel and I am promoting to my audience that, and this isn’t me it’s them, love them and will follow them and want to hear their story and they are sharing the story of I’m on the bed with my robe and here’s the hotel lobby and oh my God I had this cocktail, and look at this amazing food, and they are posting like crazy just like if they didn’t stay for free they probably would do the same thing anyway. 

JENNY:          I was going to say with all of those different concepts that you just mentioned, they are doing that on their own. So really, I’m giving them the venue and then they are running with it. It’s really amazing to see and work for a property that has such a great product that I know when influencers come and stay with us that they are going to do a great job promoting it, because they love it and they are experiencing it and they are happy with it. 

MARK:           Has anyone yet said, “Oh my God I’m staying here because of this person.”

JENNY:          Actually yes. We have had a couple of them. 

MARK:           Yes.

JENNY:          Yeah, the last one we had has a huge account with over 430,000 followers and she focuses on really amazing decadent food and so she came and stayed with us and she was an amazing partner, and was just really excited to work with us and everything and after she posted our lobster mac and cheese that we welcomed her with, I had somebody email me right away, and said, “I’m specifically following you because of this post.” 

MARK:           Right, of course!

JENNY:          I said well that’s great and now you’ll have to come down and have it for yourself. 

MARK:           Listen everybody, if you do have a business, small or big, you don’t have to sit there and go well I don’t have free stuff I can give away, I don’t have a budget for something like this, you don’t have to go with massive influencers, you can go with micro-influencers. If you’re in a small town in Kentucky, not that Kentucky is small, but if you are in a small town there, you can find the stay at home mom with 5,000 followers where they engage with her, meaning that they are liking her posts or commenting. You can see that these are people that actually that what she says and does mean something to them, that’s an influencer in that town. If you’ve got 10 of these people, you can move your product or at least your brand. 

JENNY:          I think that you really hit the nail on the head because the key is finding somebody in that target market that is alignment with yours. So, if that mom in this random town is not your target audience, then that’s not going to work for you. But if it is, then you are really targeting a key market for your business.

MARK:           Right, you sell moms clothes or sell stuff for a mom to help with her kids or something like that, and you’re like global, you can target all those mini-cities with all those mini-influencers. Sometimes, especially if they have 10,000 or 5,000 or 20,000 followers, then you can say “Oh I’m going to give you these free diaper bags to do this.” And they are over the moon to get that. 

JENNY:          Exactly, or even just a discount sometimes if, let’s say it’s a really busy time of year and we do have an influencer that we would like to work with, sometimes we have to charge them a media rate which is just a discounted rate. And we can do something for free and as long as they have that experience and they understand that and so it’s kinda every single influencer that I work with each deal is negotiated separately then each one is very different and unique. 

MARK:           Don’t try to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes, we can look by seeing your engagement if you have a million followers and twenty likes and one comment and they are all from some foreigner. 

JENNY:          Then you are paying for followers, which is a big no-no.

MARK:           You might as well not even bother. 

JENNY:          If I can just say really quickly that I’m very excited that we just hit our 10,000 followers.

MARK:           I saw, congratulation on that. Maybe when people listen to this you’ll be over that number, I am sure you will. 

JENNY:          Yeah, one million. 

MARK:           You are doing it the right way because it is the marathon not the sprint when it comes to branding in this business and you don’t want to go from 10,000 to a million overnight that would be good if Will Smith came here and he started posting stuff and he probably would, but …

JENNY:          Well, we did have Mark Wahlberg not too long ago.

MARK:           Oh nice. I didn’t see any posts from Mark, damn it. 

JENNY:          I really wish I could have; it was all top secret.

MARK:           he was here on vacation? Not for a movie or anything. Well that’s cool though. 

JENNY:          Yeah, we had to keep it on the down-low, so that was kind of a bummer, because I would have been following him around with my camera. But it was an honor have somebody of that caliber come stay with us. 

MARK:           Very cool and I know, and staying off the beaten path and not in Old Town is nice, too. So, we are wrapping up, but let me ask, and I ask every guest the same thing and we’ll mix it up a little but very deep and dark personal questions. Which is… what’s your favorite event here in Key West to attend?

JENNY:          Songwriters Festival. 

MARK:           Nice, I like that! Finally, we didn’t get a Fantasy Fest answer.

JENNY:          I do love Fantasy Fest but, yeah.

MARK:           What about, favorite place for happy hour and it cannot be here. 

JENNY:          Uggh. 

MARK:           Even though, I will be coming for happy hour here. 

JENNY:          I would probably say Mellow Ventures. 

MARK:           I love Mellow Ventures! Yes. They have great beers and the location is. 

JENNY:          They are really great, super casual, it’s on the water, there’s usually parking.

MARK:           Yeah, and you’re into the parking. You’re all about the parking. 

JENNY:          Does that make me old? 

MARK:           No. Absolutely not! 

JENNY:          Is there parking here? 

MARK:           You’re smart.

JENNY:          And the food is really good. 

MARK:           It is, it’s healthy and it’s good, prices are great. 

JENNY:          I don’t feel as guilty when I eat there. I do love my bar food but I try to eat healthy whenever possible. 

MARK:           Okay, so bar food, what’s your favorite one for bar food?

JENNY:          Lucy’s. 

MARK:           You knew that one right away, too. You were holding out with that. What about thing that if a tourist came into town, who is a friend of yours, never been here, what would you do? 

JENNY:          I would try, if I have somebody who could take us, take us out to Snipes. 

MARK:           Snipes, nice. I don’t know Snipes. 

JENNY:          Really? Oh, you have to. It’s just a beautiful sandbar in the middle of the ocean. Yeah and it’s so pristine and there’s really nothing like it. 

MARK:           That must be the pictures that I’ve seen because I’ve seen these pictures and I’m like where the heck is this?

JENNY:          If I can just say that one of the things that I feel really bad about is that when people do come to Key West for the very first time and really haven’t done their research, I feel really bad when they never get out on the water. Because that’s why Key West is such an amazing place and the Florida Keys in general. Duval Street is great, our food and drink and all that stuff is great, but in order to truly understand what it’s like to be on an island, you have to go out. Some kind of excursion or if you can get on the water and get out to a place like Snipes. 

MARK:           Yeah, and not to knock the beaches, you cannot judge the entire water experience on the quality of the beach. The beaches are okay here, I mean South Beach beaches are better, some of the islands are better, but you cannot judge it on that. You have to get out on a boat on the water and it’s worth it, spend the money and get out there. 

JENNY:          or even on a Jet Ski, or just do parasailing or something like that, so you can get a view of the water. 

MARK:           Or under the water, if you want to go scuba diving or snorkeling. There’s a reason why Key West is what it is, and it’s protected and all these things, because of the reef that surrounds it. So if you get out past that reef and I’ve been on, and I remember when we first were coming to visit, I did a tour where you can rent a boat and I think 4-5 people can go on it and you go and you go view dolphins. So, you drive around and you’re guaranteed to see dolphins and you do and then it’s like, oh my God.

JENNY:          We have that here, one of our experience partners is the Dolphin Safari. They are the #1 South Florida excursion when it comes to dolphin watch. Every single time you go out you will see dolphins because they know exactly where they hang out. They just go to each of those locations and they know how to just hang out for the right amount of time and eventually the dolphins pop up and kinda hang out and play with the boat. 

MARK:           Amazing. Well listen this was great, thank you so much for taking the time. 

JENNY:          yeah, thank you! 

MARK:           We learned some things and got some inside scoop if you want to come to the hotel, book direct. There’s a lot going on here, so I’m not going to hold you back and I’m sure you’re super busy. Thank you very much. 

JENNY:          I was going to say, there’s only five days left of our locals’ appreciation, so what we were talking about earlier with the buy one-get-one-free entrée, we do that for dinner every night here at Matt’s through September 30th. Then we do it at Salty Oyster all day long. If you’re looking for really great food, a cool vibe, on the water, lots of parking, then you can come on out through the 30th and enjoy those specials. We also have our own signature beers where if you add on a growler it’s only $15.

MARK:           Tell me about this growler. What is a growler? 

JENNY:          If you look over there, I know our listeners can’t hear, but that big brown bottle? 

MARK:           It’s like a big brown jug that you think a thing of honey would be in. 

JENNY:          It’s a huge jug and it’s just convenient if you want to take some beer home. After you buy a growler, every refill is 20% off for every refill. 

MARK:           Nice.

JENNY:          Yeah, so you can take a growler with you and it’s $15 for a great deal on amazing beer. 

MARK:           Okay, in true marketing fashion, we ended with a wonderful plug. But it was a good one because if you are local like me, you must come for the 2-for-1.

JENNY:          Yes please!  Thank you. 

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