Building a Buzz In Pre-Opening Phase: The Palms Five-Star Boutique Hotel, Turks And Caicos

Situation Analysis. The Palms, a 72 suite boutique resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands, wanted to establish itself as one of the top hotels in the Caribbean.

The resort needed to create a major pre - opening buzz in its key national, regional and niche markets that would spur bookings at rates of $750 to $7,000 a night and put the hotel on the map for affluent consumers and their travel agents.
Objectives
  • Build a "buzz" in advance of the opening
  • Position The Palms as the top new resort in the Caribbean
  • Generate awareness among travel and incentive trade and consumer audiences
  • Provide publicity support to marketing programs
  • Generate inquiries and bookings.  [Top]
Needs/Strategies
  • Reach out to opinion-making media who define “what’s hot” and “what’s not”
  • Gain a major placement in Vogue of the pre-opening to secure The Palms' place as the new fashionable resort;
  • Promote the hotel through targeted media visits;
  • Place "exclusive" news items for specific media, working with them one-on-one in advance of the opening;
  • Form a total, integrated marketing communications program to support marketing initiatives, working closely with marketing agency Muzii & Associates;
  • Work closely with Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Turks & Caicos public relations to capitalize on synergies and stretch marketing dollars;
  • Develop and implement a niche media relations outreach program to build awareness in luxury lifestyle media (e.g. design, food, beauty, spa);
  • Use visuals in communications about new facilities wherever possible to break through the media's "copy clutter."  [Top]
Tactics
  • Set up one-on-one briefings with the Managing Director and top opinion-making media who would create the buzz among media counterparts and consumers (e.g. Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet, etc.);
  • Place news items in leading media in each target niche (e.g. bridal, travel agent trade, food, spa, incentive trade, travel general);
  • Build a marketing and public relations campaign around cutting-edge facilities and services such as deluxe bath amenities, iPod minis, underground service tunnels, and street food from around the world that set the resort apart from the competition.  [Top]
Results
  • The Palms opened to 100% occupancy;
  • "The most buzz this winter is about The Palms in the Turks and Caicos" (New York Times);
  • In 12 months, feature articles appeared internationally, everywhere from Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Weekly and Meetings and Conventions to Tatler and The Times in London, New York Times (4 times), Food and Wine, Spa, Wall Street Journal and CNN;
  • A 10-page feature in Modern Bride generated so much business that the resort had to hire a dedicated Wedding Coordinator.
  • Marketing agency President Ron Muzii said the pre-opening press was the most impressive he has seen in his 30 year career.
  • In the first anniversary of the resort, The Palms graced the cover of Condé Nast Traveler.  [Top]
A Sampling
Cover-Condé Nast Traveler Travel - Leisure Modern Bride
Forbes FYI Caribbean Travel & Life Elite Traveler
Condé Nast Traveler Vogue Magazine Tatler Magazine
 
Florida Magazine New York Times  
 

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