Effective PR spreads the word about glamping

The Resort at Paws Up has been on the leading edge of the modern travel experience of "glamping" (short for "glamorous camping").

Client: The Resort at Paws Up (Greenough, MT)
Agency: Laura Davidson PR (New York)
Campaign: Give me s'more glamping!
Duration: January - December 2011
Budget: $72,000

The Resort at Paws Up has been on the leading edge of the modern travel experience of “glamping” (short for "glamorous camping”), boasting four individual camps, each with six luxury tents, a “camping butler,” and a chef.

“About half [the resort] is luxury camping, and it's critical to our success,” explains owner Larry Lipson. “We don't have the budget to run significant print ad campaigns [and we also] believe the third-party advocacy PR delivers is more compelling.”

Specific objectives of last year's campaign, devised and executed with AOR Laura Davidson PR (LDPR), included extending coverage beyond travel outlets and increasing unique website visits and overall traffic by 30% each compared to 2010.

“The goal is to lead the glamping trend in every story and to drive sales,” notes agency president Laura Davidson.

Messaging positioning Paws Up as a glamping innovator and the premier glamping resort was disseminated throughout the year via ongoing media and blogger relations, social media outreach, and the resort's website.

Lipson says accommodations are always improving, which helps drive coverage year over year. A new ultra-luxurious “Pinnacle Camp” launched in June. Familiarization trips dubbed “Glam Fams” introduced it to traditional media and bloggers in three categories-meeting/group, luxury lifestyle, and family.

Three rounds of three-night Glam Fams were hosted back-to-back June 2 to 12. Invitations were mailed in a “S'more Kit,” which included a note from the Pinnacle Camp's butler.

Targets for ongoing outreach included travel, business, bridal, general consumer, and lifestyle traditional outlets, as well as mom, lifestyle, travel, and bridal bloggers. Lipson conducted desk-side meetings around the country.

Pitches included glamping trend stories and broll.

Photos, media coverage, and resort updates were posted regularly on Facebook and Twitter. The resort's blog, which includes numerous short videos, was updated several times a week.

Lipson says the campaign generated about $450,000, noting that aggressive reservation tracking allows him to “pretty easily” attribute sales to PR.

LDPR reports 184 total traditional media and blog placements and a 50% increase over 2010 in coverage outside traditional travel press. Highlights include “The Early Show,” “Good Morning America,” Sunset, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Smart Meetings, and Huffington Post.

Comparing August 2011 to August 2010, unique website visits increased 94% to 19,179 and page views were up 76% to 84,466. For the same time, Lipson says traffic referred from online media was up 33%.

The team is promoting new property additions and upgrades as well as culinary events happening in May, July, and September.

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