Client: The Out NYC (New York)
Agency: Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations (New York)
Campaign: The Out NYC launch
Duration: March 2012 – September 2012
The Out NYC is a gay-oriented, straight friendly lifestyle resort that opened in Manhattan March 1.
Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations was hired to devise and execute a launch campaign to generate awareness and buzz and drive bookings.
“The Out NYC is a first-of-its-kind lifestyle resort – gay-oriented, gay-owned, operated and programmed, and officially straight friendly,” says owner Ian Reisner. “PR is our major means to communicate what we've created. If we get that message out, we have a winning formula to fill beds for years to come.”
Outreach to LGBT and mainstream media outlets, events, and social media engagement drove awareness.
“This was a unique situation, and not your typical travel story,” explains Nancy J. Friedman, agency president and chief creative officer. “It was a good news story because New York had just legalized same-sex marriage.”
Fran Drescher, a longtime LGBT advocate and star of TV Land's sitcom “Happily Divorced” (in which her character learns her husband is gay), also helped drive awareness.
Select travel- and LGBT-focused media got hard-hat tours of the property in April. Local and national media attended a March 1 ribbon-cutting ceremony. Property tours with media and bloggers continued after the launch.
Other media events included a weekend stay in August for reporters from LGBT outlets in key feeder markets and a dinner in September at the resort's KTCHN Restaurant for food journalists and bloggers.
Additional angles pitched included a package deal for military members in honor of the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” during Fleet Week in late May and multiple events at the resort's XL Nightclub.
In support of the premiere of the second season of “Happily Divorced,” TV Land hosted Fran Drescher's Love Is Love Gay Marriage Contest on the show's Facebook page. Drescher officiated the marriage of the contest winner and the XL Nightclub owners on March 6 at the club. The agency secured two features in The New York Times “Vows” section and video coverage on NYTimes.com of the marriages.
Reisner reports room occupancy averaged more than 70% in the first 50 days and exceeded 80% during August, September, and October.
“One-third or more are international [bookings], and we're not on any of the major online travel portals,” Reisner adds.
Overall, the guest mix averages 70% gay, 30% straight.
Story placements through September topped 360 (more than 2 million impressions). Highlights include placements in four sections of The New York Times, a “Chelsea Lately” segment, as well as stories in Time, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Metrosource, and Queerty.
The Out NYC will continue working with the agency. Reisner plans to open additional resorts in the US and abroad.