Campaign: Hutton Hotel launch
PR Team: Amerimar Enterprises (Philadelphia, PA) and M Frenkel Communications (New York)
Time frame: February – August 2009
Last February, Amerimar Enterprises opened Hutton Hotel, a moderately priced luxury property with numerous green features and practices, in Nashville, TN. Jon Cummins, COO of Amerimar, says the PR objective was to raise local, regional, and national awareness of the hotel among leisure and business travelers.
“It's a custom-designed property that's very unique,” Cummins explains. “Communicating specifics of the hotel's design, sustainability features, and service would be the meat behind driving awareness.”
Amerimar asked M Frenkel Communications to drive the campaign; Logic Media Group in Nashville helped with local media relations.
Michael Frenkel, president of M Frenkel Communications, explains that launching a hotel in a recession is tough, so messaging was developed around the idea of “responsible indulgence.” Media relations was established as the primary means of communication.
“We wanted to highlight the hotel's appeal as a cost-effective but luxurious alternative to bigger branded luxury hotels,” Frenkel says. “It's a luxury hotel that's green and eco-friendly and provides [everything] upscale business and leisure travelers look for.”
For the opening, travel journalist Peter Greenberg broadcast his nationally syndicated radio show live from the property.
Cummins and the hotel's general manager did media tours for business and consumer outlets in New York and Chicago. The hotel also hosted consumer, business, and travel and lifestyle journalists.
The Climate Project, Al Gore's organization, held its annual conference at the hotel in June, which Cummins says “established credibility to our messaging” and helped drive media coverage.
It also created a grand opening weekend package called “With Love from Nashville.” Nashville country pop star Billy Currington, who Frenkel says had been to the hotel and liked it, lent his name to the package, which included a $5 Amazon.com gift card to download his music.
Twitter and Facebook pages were also created to aid the launch.
The hotel reports 230% increase in traffic on HuttonHotel.com in the past six months. "With Love From Nashville" generated nearly $10,000 (room and ancillary revenue).
Media impressions total more than 20 million in outlets including Fox Business News, Conde Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and American Way. Cummins says national media results exceeded his expectations, surpassing previous results on similar projects.
Frenkel says hotel management attributes at least $25,000 in food and beverage revenue to Nashville Lifestyles naming the property “Best New Hotel.” He adds that PR efforts caught the attention of a national healthcare organization, which booked a meeting that brought in more than $37,000.
As of late September, the hotel had 394 Facebook fans and 206 Twitter followers. Cummins says the team is working to improve social media strategy.
M Frenkel Communications will continue media relations for the hotel at least through the end of the year.