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Hemingway Challenge Tells Ritz-Carlton 'Wow Stories' in 6 Words

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Clayton Ruebensaal refers to them as the "wow stories." And they are seemingly endless, as well as inspiring.

So inspiring, Ritz-Carlton Hotel decided recently to start a social media campaign to share its accumulating wow stories from guests gushing about their memorable, unforgettable and treasured Ritz-Carlton moments.

But in the world of social media oversharing and brands giving away a little too much at times, Ritz-Carlton is opting for a spare, unique approach.

Last month the luxury hotel company issued a six-word challenge to guests via social media, a la the fabled challenge friends once issued to Ernest Hemingway to write a story using just a half-dozen words.

Hemingway, according to legend, won the bet by writing:

For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

Ritz-Carlton clientele have responded with equal flair when asked to share their six-word Ritz-Carlton memory on the hotel's social media platforms using the identifier #RCMemories.

The responses have been playful, intriguing, eloquent and exactly what the company was hoping for -- abundant. To wit:

First Tooth.
Fairy Knocks.
Girl Delighted.


Treasures lost.
Memories Restored.
Kindness Remembered.

The campaign is part of a larger effort by Ritz-Carlton to own what Ruebensaal calls "the power of memories" in the luxury hotel industry.

"We have this huge pile of amazing stories about how we've created memories for our guests. The ladies and gentlemen [who work for The Ritz-Carlton] have done such amazing things to engage our guests and create special memories," Ruebensaal says. "We needed to pull the curtain back on what is really special here."

The six-word challenge is just Ritz-Carlton's latest innovative approach to social media. It started its Twitter account in April 2009, and is now on Facebook at the brand and local hotel level, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram and YouKu and Sina-Weibo in China.

A little more than one month ago the company also launched on WeChat in China, increasing Ritz-Carlton's social media presence to a dozen social media channels with a total audience of 2.2 million people.

Allison Sitch, vice president of global public relations at Ritz-Carlton, has said in interviews that each social channel the company establishes plays a different role in the memory-making that the company prides itself on and encourages staff to create for guests.

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