Macdonald Hotels chain prepares for media blitz

Hotel chain Macdonald Hotels and Resorts is gearing up for a consumer PR assault as it undertakes a £150m refurbishment programme over the next two years.

Macdonald will target lifestyle and leisure titles as well as travel media to promote activities such as golf, music and murder mystery role-playing that the chain offers.

‘The hotels are all about leisure and relaxation,’ said Macdonald marketing director Tony Seaman, pointing out that nearly all its 60 properties are based away from city centres.

Macdonald will use health and beauty media to publicise its Vital Leisure clubs that currently feature in one third of its hotels. Wedding titles will also be targeted.

The consumer PR push follows several years of change in which it made a number of acquisitions and went private through a £600m deal, which required a focus on corporate PR and IR.

Seaman, who became marketing director in March, said it was appropriate to create a consistent message for consumers.

He explained that Macdonald has disposed of properties with ratings of less than four stars, or those that could not be developed to include Vital Leisure clubs.

‘The focus has been on other things. For a few years there was quite a lot of acquisition and integration and it’s important not to go out to the consumer with an unclear message,’ he said.

Macdonald has appointed its first external consumer PR team in Magnetic PR, which has handled trade PR since December.

Seaman said that trade communications will attempt to build its profile in the conference and incentive press.

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