Gaylord Hotels pairs leisure business with charities

NASHVILLE, TN: Gaylord Hotels launched a new cause-driven program that focuses on building its leisure vacation business.

NASHVILLE, TN: Gaylord Hotels launched a new cause-driven program that focuses on building its leisure vacation business.

The resort chain switched its focus a few years ago from its just convention and meeting business to include its leisure vacation packages, said Amy Atkinson, VP of leisure marketing and PR at Gaylord Hotels.

The “Rooms for Good” program begins in March. The hotel chain will donate 10% of all revenue from “Rooms for Good” leisure vacation packages to a different charity every month for a year. For March, the proceeds will benefit Autism Speaks.

Atkinson said direct mailing and advertising will launch this week, but support for the program will be driven mainly by PR and social media. A social media microsite for the program will launch in a few months.

“PR is the only way to fully tell a story with any kind of color, flavor, and meaning," Atkinson explained. “I'm a big believer in online marketing, PR, and bloggers.”

Gaylord Hotel's target demographic for its leisure business is families. In research, Atkinson said that the company found women are the main drivers of vacation decisions in a family so mothers and mommy bloggers are a key target for the program.

Aside from social media outreach, the company will hold events in each of its four resort cities (Nashville, TN; Kissimmee, FL; Orlando, FL, and Dallas, TX) and will hold promotions and giveaways driven by hotel PR directors and local charity chapters.

“It's not enough to have social media. You also have to hold real-life activities to drive awareness,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson said partnering with charities appealed to the company because it wanted to combine the passion and loyal following charities generate from consumers with the following the company has on its social media outlets.

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