The campaign for the launch of Liverpool's Beatles themed Hard Day’s Night Hotel won best European campaign at the 2008 International Business Awards.
Here the team behind it, Eulogy!, tell us how they did it.
Hard Days Night Hotel is a new four-star boutique hotel in Liverpool featuring Beatles-themed artwork. The grade II listed hotel is situated in the Beatles quarter of Liverpool, yards away from the famous Cavern Club. It has 110 guest rooms, Lennon and McCartney penthouse suites, two restaurants, The Brasserie and Blakes, two exclusive bars, Hari’s Bar and Bar Four, two conference rooms and a unique wedding suite, ‘The Two of Us’.
Eulogy! was asked by the management team to launch the hotel, using public relations as the only marketing activity.
The communications and business objectives were:
· Get the regional, national and international media to write about the hotel
· Drive traffic to the hotel website
· Achieve room bookings
The launch was originally planned for November 2007. Eulogy! advised the hotel management to hold back until February, however, so the launch could fully capitalise on Liverpool’s tenure as Capital of Culture during 2008.
The key messages were that the hotel is a top quality boutique four star hotel in its own right. It was important to emphasise that the hotel was characterised with Beatle’s artwork and was completely different to tacky themed hotels.
The PR campaign started in September to create buzz around the new hotel. The team worked closely with government agencies such as VisitBritain and Mersey Partnership to ensure journalists visiting the city as Capital of Culture were aware of the Hard Days Night Hotel as a place to stay or to visit.
Eulogy put together a media contact programme to forge strong relationships with key travel, consumer, lifestyle and arts journalists. The team came up with dozens of creative story angles before and after launch, including big feature ideas such as ‘Celebrity suites in hotels around the world’. Reviews were also placed to raise awareness and maintain momentum.
It was critical to engage Beatles fans around the world, and the team build relationships with key Beatles bloggers and websites by conducting special preview tours and keeping them updated regularly.
In the weeks leading up to the launch on 1st February, Eulogy! analysed coverage by country compared with website visits and actual room bookings. This enabled the team to develop a dynamic, flexible PR strategy that was focused on maximising room occupancy levels and sales for the hotel.
Key hotel staff, including the general manager, received media training before opening day. to ensure all coverage was positive and all media were handled appropriately. On the day, the general manager conducted interview with TV, radio and print journalists, groups of journalists were given tours of the hotel and live feed exclusives were given to the BBC.
When the hotel had been open for a month, a huge launch party was held with 600 of Liverpool’s great and good partying the night away.
Measurement, evaluation and results
The campaign was a huge success and met all the Hard Days Night Hotel’s communications and business objectives:
1. Get the regional, national and international media to write about the hotel. The campaign achieved over 275 pieces of press coverage with a total print circulation of more than 343 million. In addition, extensive British broadcast coverage included BBC Breakfast, BBC North West, BBC Radio 4, Granada and ITV News. There was also international broadcast coverage from one French, three Spanish, eight Australian, and 163 American channels, the circulation. This included CNN, which was broadcast globally.
Of this coverage, over 98% was positive and over 80% adhered to the key PR messages.
2. Drive traffic to the hotel website. Hits to the website www.harddaysnighthotel.com rose from 80,000 per week in the lead up to the launch to more than 1.4 million in the four days following the launch.
3. Achieve room bookings. The day after launch, the hotel took 184 room bookings. The average number of room bookings per day rose from 40 the week before the launch to more than 130 per day following the launch.
The hotel’s occupancy target of 28% was smashed, with 42% occupancy by the end of its first month of opening – an incredible achievement for a new hotel brand. For comparison, its direct competitor, Malmaison Liverpool, had an occupancy target of 15% in its first month with the backing of a national brand, international reservation systems and a large marketing department.
The hotel’s target for first quarter takings was reached within three weeks of its doors opening for business.
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