Case Study: Tried and tested tactic converts to targeted coverage for wellness resort

Enticing journalists and influencers with free trips to see the work of its client - which just happened to be an award-winning, four-star resort on Koh Samui, Thailand - worked wonders for health and lifestyle specialist Aspire PR.

Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui, Thailand
Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui, Thailand

The traditional approach resulted in a series of stories in target media and boosted the profile of Absolute Sanctuary, a luxury wellness resort in Thailand offering everything from yoga and pilates to detox programmes.

Aspire was appointed by the resort last November for a three-month project to raise its profile among UK health and fitness journalists and influencers.

The agency focused on key messages, such as the wellness resort having a holistic approach to mind, body and soul, being a place that gets results, and that it is not a holiday, but hard work under the guidance of professionals.

The target audience were adults over the age of 35, as Absolute Sanctuary is an adult only resort.

New packages

Aspire worked to highlight a new 30-day 'Lifestyle Change' programme offering complete physical and mental restoration, and tailored five-day programmes ranging from improving sleep and fitness to general mindfulness.

Nicole Love-Lloyd, PR strategy lead, Aspire, said: "We needed traditional media coverage to ensure the brand had credibility, while social channels created online noise. It was important that we had good-quality content online as we knew our audience would undertake research, so we needed influencers we were confident could take beautiful images."

The client was looking for: "Good quality content online that would help their consumer make decisions when choosing their next holiday."

Free trips

A small media visit took place last December to allow several targeted journalists to try out the resort for themselves – a move that resulted in increased visibility and awareness among target consumers as a result of editorial exposure and content online, in print, and across social media.

And in January this year two influencers – Bonnie Rakhit, the travel blogger and former fashion editor, and Dominika Trzaska, aka travel blogger Blonde Flamingo – were sent on a trip to the resort.

The timing of the trips, in December and January, was chosen to coincide with "a key booking time" for the Sanctuary and "media titles and influencers were selected to ensure their target audience was appropriate", according to Love-Lloyd.


The approach paid off, with features in leading health and travel titles such as Men's Health, Condé Nast Traveller and the Sunday Times.

In addition to mainstream media coverage, taking influencers on trips to the resort resulted in a further boost online and awareness of Absolute Sanctuary among a new audience.

Aspire also worked with the resort to pick specific wellness programmes that would resonate with Britons, such as sleep and anti-stress therapies.

The agency produced focused press material highlighting these programmes and worked with Absolute Sanctuary's experts to produce 'hints and tips' content. This was placed with media outlets that did not make it onto the coveted press trips to the resort.

There were at least 17 pieces of media coverage generated over the duration of the campaign, with a total media reach of more than 2,950,000.

In addition, more than 247,000 people were reached by social-media coverage.

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