NASSAU, BAHAMAS: When Baha Mar posted a job ad seeking a "chief flamingo officer" to work at its 1,000-acre resort in the Bahamas, it found an audience well beyond job seekers. Media outlets pounced on the story and people shared their "dream job" posts on social media.
"The essence of the story is cool," said Karin Salinas, SVP of marketing for Baha Mar. "It’s about flamingos and taking care of them. Who wouldn’t want to live in paradise at a beautiful beach destination in the Caribbean?"
Salinas emphasized that the position is "really not a PR stunt," explaining that the resort is simply looking for the most qualified person to take care of its flamingos.
"There is no title out there that is common for this kind of job," she said. "Chief flamingo officer was a cute title, but it actually aligned with other titles we have here [such as our chief scientist]. Our chief finance officer had an interesting couple of days though, with people reaching out to him asking if he was leaving when they saw we were looking for a CFO."
Filling this position is a challenge for Baha Mar because of the specific qualifications needed for it. Salinas collaborated with the resort’s HR department and decided that to widen the applicant pool, it would be best to "get the job post out in a more modern way," not just posting it on LinkedIn.
With help from Baha Mar’s agency partner in the U.S., Parasol, the resort put a release over the wire about the position last Wednesday. Globalika Comunicación is aiding the resort with comms on this initiative in Latin America.
"We wanted to have as much distribution as possible so someone in Australia, South America, or right around the corner here in Nassau could see this and we can get the very best candidates," said Salinas.
Baha Mar also posted about the job on its social media pages.
In 2018, we're thinking pink! Join us as we begin our search for our new CFO - Chief Flamingo Officer. pic.twitter.com/6XRtsoVxbx— Baha Mar Resorts (@BahaMarResorts) February 14, 2018
The job post has garnered more than 100 media placements including broadcast. The first outlets to cover it were Cosmopolitan and Condé Nast Traveler. The job was also featured as a headline in The Skimm newsletter, and has been covered by outlets such as CBS, Fox, Lonely Planet, HuffPost, New York Daily News, The Sun, The Independent, Daily Mail, and Uproxx.
"It was quite surprising to see how fast the story picked up," said Salinas.
Media outlets from around the world have been reaching out to Salinas and her team. She has received 30 requests for interviews. One challenge has been coordinating calls with reporters in different time zones; respondents from Australia, for instance, have shown intense interest in the job post. Outlets in Brazil have also been reaching out, so the resort has had to source spokespeople who speak Portuguese.
"Local media has been embracing of this," added Salinas. "On [February 19], the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism mentioned the chief flamingo officer role at a conference."
Media coverage of the role has been fair and accurate because qualifications needed for the position were clearly stated in the release, she said.
"Although online activity has spun this role in a funny way, people who have gone through the effort of applying seem to have a concrete interest," said Salinas.
She is taking advantage of press attention by using the opportunity to show how Baha Mar is prioritizing preservation efforts to counter the decreasing population of Bahamian flamingos. The chief flamingo role story is also attracting much-needed attention to the Caribbean, said Salinas.
"There are still some parts of the island that are not fully operational or are struggling because of the effects of the hurricanes and haven’t been rebuilt," she explained.
Baha Mar is a relatively new resort, so the coverage is also putting its name on the map. Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and the SLS Baha Mar made their debut in The Bahamas last year, and Rosewood Baha Mar is set to open this spring. Salinas said the virality of the chief flamingo officer position has aided with the resort’s exposure globally.
The publicity has led to more than 150 applications for the gig. Since news about the job got out, website referral traffic has gone up 73% versus the prior period, driven by all of the media placements. Additionally, U.S. search interest on Baha Mar is up 8%. Interest on the term "chief flamingo officer" skyrocketed. Volume was non-existent prior to the news from Baha Mar, said Salinas.
"This has allowed us to increase the platform of Baha Mar’s DNA of education, conservation, and community," she noted. "Some of the subsequent interviews or stories coming out [highlight] that we are doing this for a longer-term effect, not just for notoriety we got when the story went viral."
The window for applications will close on February 28, and Baha Mar hopes to make its selection as soon as early March.
Once the chief flamingo officer is hired, Baha Mar plans to publish a profile on the person and introduce him or her to the world.
"That person, aside from taking care of the flamingos, will be responsible for doing the programming to convey the story and the education facts of the flamingos, their lives, and their impact and how we can take care of them," said Salinas.