Forte picks Hill and Knowlton for global PR

Forte Hotels, the hotel division of Granada Group, has hired Hill and Knowlton to handle its global PR.

Forte Hotels, the hotel division of Granada Group, has hired Hill

and Knowlton to handle its global PR.



The division, which owns 250 hotels in 50 countries, was bought from

founder, Sir Rocco Forte, in a hostile take-over in 1996. For a

six-figure fee, H&K will handle consumer, business-to-business and

corporate PR for Forte’s four hotel brands, Le Meridien, Heritage,

Posthouse and London Signature hotels. Forte’s new chief executive,

Antoine Cau, who joined at the beginning of the year, is planning to

expand Le Meridien brand, and 19 new hotels are under development.



Forte’s only retained agency last year was Lou Hammond and Associates,

in the US, which it n o longer works with.



H&K was hired after a non-competitive pitch last year, and has been

working with Forte to design a communications programme which it has now

signed a contract to implement.



Forte Hotels has an annual turnover of pounds 1 billion, according to

the 1997 annual report. It accounts for a quarter of Granada Group’s

turnover.



Granada’s other divisions are media, audio and visual equipment rental

and restaurants , which includes service stations and Travelodge

Hotels.



Forte’s PR is handled from London by a team of four, led by Alison

Carey, who reports to marketing communications director Breffni

Walsh.



Walsh said: ’We have seen the benefits of a central, one-stop operation

for our advertising and PR was the next valuable piece of the marketing

jigsaw.



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