Grand Opening Social Media Q&A

On October 24, 2019, we opened the iconic Guitar Hotel in true Hard Rock style— with guitars smashing, fireworks, and the world premier of our Guitar Hotel light show. Front and center of all the action was our social media team of nine, including the help of seven team members recruited from various Seminole Gaming properties, who captured the best moments of the night for over 700,000+ followers across our social media platforms! We caught up with them for a Q&A interview to show you grand opening night through the eyes of the social media team.

From left to right: Lewis Leveille, Erika Castro, Sarah Kick, Katherine Lindo, Lisa Cardia, Brett Lyons, Lindsey Lorelei, Nikaya Tarver, Kenneth Cheshire

What celebrity were you most excited to see walking the red carpet?

Nikaya: Morgan Freeman.

Lewis: Jeremy Piven! I grew up watching Entourage and Ari Gold, played by Piven, was who I always imagined myself to be. LOL.

Brett: It was insane for me to be so close to Pete Wentz. I wanted to thank him for providing me a soundtrack to my high school career.

Kat: Pete Wentz! Middle school me was fan-girling SO HARD. Runner up had to be Morgan Freeman and being able to hear his voice in person.

Sarah: Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman & Khloe Kardashian.

Lisa: There were two celebs who made my heart absolutely MELT at the grand opening. First, I saw Tyler Cameron from The Bachelorette. He seemed so calm and friendly, taking photos with any guest in his path. Second, I’ve been a HUGE fan of Johnny Depp since I was a kid – specifically him as Captain Jack Sparrow. Once I saw him on the red carpet, I didn’t know how to contain my excitement. So awesome!

Kenneth: Johnny Depp.

Lindsey: I was most excited to see Morgan Freeman, then Johnny Depp and Stipe Miocic.

Erika: Miguel. I’m a big fan of his music and it was such a cool moment to be able to chat with him on the red carpet and then get a social media shout out!

What moment evoked the most emotion in you?

Nikaya: The Guitar Hotel Light Show.

Lewis: Watching the Guitar Hotel Facade show. Behind the scenes, I saw our marketing team work around the clock to make sure that everything went smoothly. Finally seeing the end product was most gratifying.

Brett: When Khloe Kardashian walked onto the red carpet, my heart started pounding. Not so much because I was star struck, but because I knew that this was a photo-op that I NEEDED to get.

Kat: I’m a very visual person, so the Guitar Hotel Light Show. Wow…just wow. Closely following that is the Oculus.

Sarah: Honestly, the day was full of great moments, but I just loved the finale of the Guitar Hotel Light Show with the fireworks.

Lisa: It was really amazing to hear the Tribe and Jim Allen speak about our incredible company and team members who made this opening come to life. From the inspirational speeches, to the exciting guitar smash, the moment felt surreal. Really made me proud to work for Seminole Gaming!

Kenneth: The Guitar Hotel Light Show was stunning to watch, and definitely made me very proud to work for the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Lindsey: The peak of the evening for me was the Guitar Hotel Light Show, especially the fireworks addition at the end.

Erika: I always love hearing the members of the Tribe speak. When they tell their story and what these milestones mean to them, it definitely pulls at my heart strings.

How did grand opening night compare to the expectations you had leading up do it?

Nikaya: Exceeded my expectations fully. Nothing compares to actually seeing everything happening LIVE.

Lewis: I was really nervous that things might fall flat. Sitting in those planning meetings, hearing about traffic, the possibility of rain and trying the nail down the red carpet made me think that this could really go wrong if we’re not careful. However, our team is unbelievable and we pulled it off. This was unlike anything seen in South Florida.

Brett: There was a lot of stress leading up to the event. Obviously, all eyes were on Hard Rock and so to be a part of the opening – I felt that pressure too. However the actual grand opening night went so smooth that the day just flew by.

Kat: There was an unprecedented amount of buzz in the building on grand opening day and night. So many celebrities, so much energy.  

Sarah: I knew it would be overwhelming, it was, but also I just considered it work to be there. After leaving, I realized how epic it was to be a part of it—I was impressed by the whole event from start to finish, and impressed by the work put in to such a beautiful property.

Lisa: I really had no idea what to expect going into it. I heard many rumors about the expansion, but it really took my breath away being there in person. There were many moving parts, and I think all teams really succeeded to make it run as smooth as possible. I thought that nine people seemed like a lot to cover social media, but really it is a huge job and we couldn’t have done it without each other.

Kenneth: I didn’t realize there would be so many A-list celebrities! Seeing all these people who I’ve seen on TV so many times in person was awe-inspiring.

Lindsey: My expectations were far exceeded, from the celebs in attendance to the Oculus and light shows, not to mention finally seeing the completed construction all around.

Erika: Everything went way smoother than I expected. That night was so important. I had concerns maybe we wouldn’t be able to get everything together on time, or traffic issues, or things not running smoothly on the red carpet, but everyone worked so hard to prepare as immaculately as possible. Every detail was considered, so the night was on point.

What was your biggest takeaway from the night?

Nikaya: Thank goodness we have photography and video capabilities to remember and relive this historic occasion!

Lewis: I walked away feeling like all eyes are on us from this moment forward. We have an iconic hotel to sell, an unbelievable attraction with the Oculus, a state-of-the-art spa, and some of the best restaurants.

Brett: There are so many moving parts that go into these events. I couldn’t believe the amount of hard work put forward by everyone involved. From the construction workers to the Public Relations team to the beverage staff, you got to respect them all for making that night run as smooth as possible.

Kat: Team work truly does make the dream work. When we were able to finally sit down and eat at the end of the night, I was able to reflect on the day. I am excited to have been a part of this monumental grand opening with a team that worked diligently to make it a success.   

Sarah: I couldn’t believe how much work had to be done to hit the targeted opening date. The property is gorgeous, really impressive, and I felt like I could live there and be happy. Haha. I loved all the energy surrounding the night but the property was the star.

Lisa: My biggest takeaway is that it really does take a village to make something like the grand opening come to life. Watching all of the hard work of internal team members, to seeing construction workers out late the night before, every single detail from big to small did not go unnoticed.  

Kenneth: The new Guitar Hotel, along with all of its amenities, is amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Lindsey: Everything was so impressive and on a much grander scale than I have seen during my time with Seminole Gaming. There was definitely a buzz in the air.

Erika: Planning is everything, prepare for as much as you can. Also, with a great team anything is possible.

Lastly— what was it like to be a part of the Hard Rock Hollywood social team for grand opening?

Nikaya: Extremely rewarding! One of the amazing things about being a part of an organization like Hard Rock is the opportunity to work with some amazing and talented individuals within your profession, who work at different locations across the globe. It was exciting to share this monumental experience with this team.

Lewis: It was awesome! Lisa, Sarah, Brett, Ken, Erika, Lindsey, Katherine and Nikaya are awesome. I didn’t know what to expect because all of our social media platforms are like children to me. It’s like dropping your kids off at school in the morning hoping that they will be okay when you see them again. When I went home that night and saw all of the great content, I was grateful for their help.

Brett: I couldn’t be more thankful for being invited to help with the grand opening. I’ve only been with the company for a couple months so there was a part of me that thought, “Why me?” However the team was more than welcoming and I felt that I made an impact.

Kat: The Hard Rock Hollywood team’s planning was crucial to our success (seriously, amazing job guys) and the dynamic between all the team members from other properties was seamless. It was beautiful being a part of a team where strangers came together to assist with this monumental event.

Sarah: Our team is so amazing in so many ways, and being a part of Hard Rock Hollywood social team just solidified that for me. Also, I don’t typically work in social media and I realized how much work and effort it takes to document a day like that for our followers. Everyone did a great job and rolled with the punches.

Lisa: Since most of my focus at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is on physical collateral and signage, it was really interesting to engage and interact with our followers on Instagram. Every second I refreshed the platform, there was a new comment, like or post that we were tagged in. It made me feel like a celebrity. I loved how the Hard Rock Hollywood social team designated different social media platforms to the volunteering team members. It was truly a great experience!

Kenneth: Although it was definitely challenging and hectic at times to get the right content to post, being able to spread the word of this massive celebration on social media was very satisfying!

Lindsey: It was great to be a part of an awesome team and to be on the inside of an amazing event. It was really nice to bring everyone together for a unified mission. I think we collaborated well together and strengthened our relationships across properties.

Erika: It was such a gift to be able to meet a group of team members who were not only great people, but so willing and excited to help us with grand opening night. I’m so proud of the social presence we had on that night and it was only possible because of our team!