Grand Velas Resorts cooks up blogger buzz

Last summer KWE Partners, AOR for the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, hosted a five-day camp for influential food bloggers to build relationships and generate buzz about the resort and its restaurants.

Client: Grand Velas Riviera Maya (Quintana Roo, MX)

Agency: KWE Partners (Miami, FL)

Campaign: Food Blogger Camp

Duration: July 2010 – January 9, 2011

Budget: $15,000

Last summer KWE Partners, long-time AOR for the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, proposed hosting a five-day camp for influential food bloggers to build relationships and generate buzz about the resort and its restaurants. Katia Gomez, the resort's e-commerce director, loved the idea. 

“We have superb dining options, and we want to focus on culinary travel,” Gomez notes. “We were thrilled to have food bloggers on the property taking videos and talking about the resort.”

Strategy

The camp, held January 5 – 9, included professional development seminars and free time for bloggers to explore the property. Various food and equipment brands granted partial scholarships to select attendees. The resort offered special package rates for working bloggers, foodies, and followers.

The camp was announced December 1 at a New York City media lunch. Ongoing traditional and social media outreach drove awareness.

Tactics

Resort chefs served food from their menus to culinary and travel media members at the December 1 event.

KWE principal Megan Sterritt says social media influencers, including Elise Bauer (simplyrecipes.com) and David Lebovitz (davidlebovitz.com), were enlisted to promote the camp.

A microsite was created on the resort's website. The food bloggers posted camp information and experiences on their individual blogs and foodblogcamp.com, which they created.

Camp seminar topics included building traffic, food photography and styling, and cooking demonstrations.

The resort's Twitter and Facebook pages were used to promote the camp, and tout seminar leaders. The team also posted updates, videos, and pictures during the camp. Blogger coverage was posted afterwards.

A post-camp contest, in which bloggers were asked to submit videos featuring their experiences, was held on Facebook. The blogger whose video got the most likes won a three-night stay at sister property Casa Velas.

Results

More than 46 packages were sold, generating nearly $60,000 in sales. Gomez is very pleased with sales and content generation.

“The user generated content was priceless,” she adds. “We're still using the photos and videos to promote the hotel.”

Sterritt reports more than 25 online stories with combined unique monthly visitors exceeding 2.5 million. Other metrics include more than 5 million Twitter impressions and 3.5 million Facebook views. Bloggers posted more than 700 photos to the resort's Flickr and Facebook pages. Six videos were submitted for the contest.  

Future

The team will soon begin promoting a mommy blogger camp slated for early summer at Velas Vallarta. Another food blogger camp is planned for January 2012 at Velas Vallarta.

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