FEATURED WORK Finding Bermuda's Adventurous Side
Bermuda has been known for its pink sand beaches, Dark ‘n’ Stormy cocktails and world-class golf courses for decades now. What the island is far less known for is its wide array of adventure travel offerings: incredible cliff diving, deep water solo rock climbing, a historic-railway-turned-bike-trail, and more than 200 shipwrecks to explore, just to name a few.
Located in the heart of a booming downtown and just a few blocks from the Colorado Convention Center, the new Hyatt Place and Hyatt House Denver/Downtown was poised to make a big splash in the Mile High City market.
But there was a challenge: the mid-range, dual branded property shared an opening date with a much-hyped airport hotel expansion in the same city, and came on the heels of numerous other development announcements. So TURNER set about ensuring that Hyatt Place and Hyatt House Denver/Downtown’s launch stood out.
WHAT WE DID
With a central location, a competitive pricing point, carefully curated local art and Colorado craft beer on tap, Hyatt Place and Hyatt House Denver/Downtown offered a quintessential Denver experience, so TURNER’s pre-opening public relations efforts focused on trade publications, the local market and a national spotlight.
- We arranged a sneak peek tour for Ed Sealover, an influential Denver Business Journal writer. We also hosted five local media at the property.
- We secured a partnership with the locally based company, Icelantic Skis, including exclusively commissioned, ski-specific art installations for the hotel, as well as an giveaway for Winter on the Rocks, an annual concert at the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
The TURNER team successfully planned and executed a grand opening media event that was strategically timed to showcase the hotels’ incredible location in the city and vantage point for viewing special city-wide events. The team confirmed 15 media, contributing to local and national outlets, to attend the event.
- We positioned the property as an example of the burgeoning regionalism design movement, where the surrounding local culture is integrated in the hotel design from the ground up.
- We created a signature Colorado Campfire Sour cocktail, using local ingredients and tying in the property’s regionalism design influence, to bring a western flair to the property during the height of the iconic annual Denver Stock Show in January.
TURNER’s six-month campaign delivered nearly 30 articles, published in a wide range of publications, with impressions climbing to more than 132 million. Highlighting the properties’ downtown centric location, just a couple blocks from the convention center, TURNER secured editorial coverage in group business, industry trade and consumer outlets (local and national). Coverage highlights included a trend-oriented story in The New York Times with a quote from the hotel GM; a feature on the dual-branded property in AFAR; and a feature story with accompanying video sneak peek preview, including an interview with the GM, in the Denver Business Journal among others.
Journalists love the word “new.” But what if a destination doesn’t have a fresh attraction or hot event this year? Then it’s time to look at existing assets and see how they might fit into a macro consumer trend or pop cultural shift. Leveraging some amazing established tourism institutions, TURNER garnered national press with an unlikely hook: Geek Chic.
WHAT WE DID
In recent years, the tech-savvy, sci-fi-loving, Comic-Con nerd has gone from social pariah to ahead-of-the-curve trendsetter. All of a sudden, geeks are chic. As a result, TURNER saw an opportunity to highlight Albuquerque’s many geek-friendly attractions.
TURNER designed a geek-themed FAM trip for Albuquerque, inviting some top journalists and bloggers to experience some of the offbeat treasures of the city. In an action-packed journey, they toasted a ghost on a haunted pub crawl; they learned all about the amazing science behind the lavender distillery process at a historic inn/organic farm; they got a Breaking Bad-inspired “Blue Ice” demonstration from the Candy Lady; they took a hot air balloon flight into the clouds. At every turn hyper-local guides (who were sometimes outside the traditional tourism community) greeted the group, giving authentic insight into what makes Albuquerque “Albu-Quirky.” The guides included:
- Troy Bradley – An adventurer who holds the most world records for hot air ballooning (more than 60!).
- Larry Crumpler – A scientist who is actively involved in the headline-grabbing Mars Rover expeditions.
- The Salsa Twins – The guys behind the famed El Pinto salsa shared how they use worm factories and engineering to create their highly acclaimed salsa. Seriously.
- Christine Anderson – Before it opened to the public, the CEO of Spaceport America led a private tour of the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, which has made Albuquerque the basecamp city for future space travelers.
An added bonus? The FAM trip kicked off on May 4th – the international day of Star Wars celebration (“May the fourth be with you”). Because, after all, geeks are all about the details.
Albuquerque’s Geek FAM resulted in a diverse range of travel media coverage in non-travel outlets that reached target visitor audiences, such as GeekDad (a WIRED Magazine blog), Atlas Obscura (a trendsetting tastemaker outlet that explores the odd, weird and unknown), Vagabondish (a leading travel and lifestyle blog) and Adventures by Daddy (a family oriented blog written by a biochemist). Along with more traditional placement, the FAM put Albuquerque on the radar of travelers who might not have otherwise known about the city’s geekier side.
Every fall, Estes Park – the quaint mountain village that serves as the basecamp of Rocky Mountain National Park – is invaded. No, not by space aliens or Vikings.The invaders are lumbering, majestic elk, who descend upon Estes for mating season. It’s one of the nation’s highest concentrations of wild elk – and TURNER knew that it offered a prime opportunity. Say goodbye to October … and hello to Elktober.
WHAT WE DID
Estes Park officially renamed October Elktober in 2007 as a celebration of the rut season, but TURNER kicked things up several notches with a proactive pitching campaign that highlighted the quirkier elements: elk bugling contests, elk-themed craft beers created by Estes Park Brewery and elk-inspired crafts made by local artisans. Additionally:
- We created an evergreen Elktober infographic (see below) that could be used by media outlets that wanted a fun, eye-catching and informative piece of visual content.
- We championed the charge to create a destination-wide “tailgating” elk-watching offering (the name a play on football season pre-game activities) that we were then able to use in pitching efforts.
- We timed our NYC media tour in August to capture short-lead opportunities from key outlets.
- We used b-roll assets of elk bugling to secure broadcast coverage in NBC News.
- We suggested the idea of a social elk tracking component (#EstesElkWatch); and used a Google map of suggested Estes Park elk viewing spots in pitching.
Elkmania! Elktober and Elk Fest are now among the town’s most popular events, with room nights at local hotels filling up during what was once part of Estes Park’s slow season. As a result of our efforts, TURNER secured valuable Elktober coverage in USA Today (who published our Elktober infographic), NBC News, The Active Times, The Weather Channel, Budget Travel and Successful Meetings. Who knew an invasion could be such a good thing?
TURNER aimed to make The Mighty 5™ even mightier, increasing awareness of Utah’s iconic Mighty Five National Parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion) among print and online media, as well as new geographic consumers.
What We Did
TURNER reached out to priority media contacts in the outdoor/adventure and general travel verticals, highlighting appealing aspects of The Mighty 5™, such as guided tours, affordability, popular gateway cities and accessibility, as appropriate angles for current editorial calendars, all-season stories, and fresh takes on the classic American road trip.
Our digital team created a Tumblr micro-site packed with inspiring, diverse content (images, video and text) that told the story of The Mighty 5™, drawing from the Utah Office of Tourism’s existing assets, as well as material found throughout Tumblr. Additionally, the team designed the #MyMighty5 sweepstakes, encouraging users to submit their own posts, and lending another level to the authentic voice of the campaign.
The Mighty 5™ looks great in photos and videos – but it looks best in person. With that in mind, TURNER secured several individual press visits to one, several or all of The Mighty 5™ national parks. These “solo” trips allowed for a wide variety of narratives, from affordable to luxury to extreme adventure.
Thanks to proactive pitching, media visits and the in-market press tour, TURNER garnered coverage in top outlets within Utah’s targeted publications, including Travel + Leisure, Outside, Budget Travel, Sunset, MapQuest.com and ShermansTravel.com. The first social destination marketing campaign of its kind for the brand, the launch of the Tumblr microsite allows Utah to use it during future iterations of the campaign. In addition, the hashtag #TheMighty5 saw nearly 250 Instagram photos over the course of the two-month digital campaign.
How do you take the wildly popular Breaking Bad TV series’ potentially polarizing subject matter – meth creation and consumption in Albuquerque, NM – and turn it into a media relations win for the destination? You have to take the good with the Bad.
What We Did
Working off of tourism marketing and social efforts that the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) initiated, a Breaking Bad-themed press trip to Albuquerque brought targeted national media to filming sites, favorite local hangouts of the cast and crew, film office representatives, and businesses that had a cheeky approach to welcoming tourists and fans of the show to the city.
Meanwhile, a pitching campaign showcased Albuquerque businesses visitors could experience – such as The Candy Lady, who made the original “meth” for the show and bike tours of famous sites, not to mention locally-produced items fans could order from afar, including “blue sky” donuts, crystal bath salts, and spice rubs inspired by Los Pollos Hermanos, a fictional restaurant chain on the show.
Thanks to integrated destination marketing efforts with the ACVB Coverage, more than 740 articles promoting Albuquerque in relationship to “Breaking Bad” appeared in 2013 alone, including top tier outlets such as People, Budget Travel, Hollywood Reporter, MSN.com, Thrillist.com, TheDailyMeal.com, and many more. The coverage contributed to significant growth in tourism and visitation for the city in 2013 and 2014. Not Bad, at all.
Eating is in. Culinary tourism is on the rise, as travelers seek out authentic and local flavors – and Four Seasons Vail is perfectly positioned as a property that can offer luxury accommodations along with some unique culinary adventures. TURNER worked with the resort to create a “fun-with-fungi” experience.
What We Did
A local mushroom forager took guests on a day trip to “hunt” for mushrooms (complete with private, Mercedes SUV transport to the most scenic locales), where they learned all about the Vail Valley’s wide array of indigenous mushrooms. Back at the resort, the executive chef led a culinary demonstration on how to prepare and cook their findings. Finally, guests enjoyed a specialty dinner featuring the mushrooms they foraged during the excursion.
To increase awareness, TURNER launched a campaign strategically targeting top tier national culinary, travel, outdoor & lifestyle media, crafting individual pitches tailored specifically to each outlet, journalist and opportunity.
This culinary adventure caught on with travelers – the Mushrooms & Mercedes experience sold out completely before end of summer.
The media took note as well. The overall campaign resulted in coverage in a variety of targeted outlets including Food & Wine, Associated Press, FoodandWine.com, Travel + Leisure, Departures Dispatch, Outside, CBS News, SKI Magazine, USA Today, Go Escape, Forbes.com, Boston Globe, Gadling.com, San Francisco Chronicle, ABCNews.com, and many more. The Associated Press placement also generated coverage in an additional 60+ outlets across the country.
As a whole, the Four Seasons Mountain Collection experienced an increase in bookings as a result of the coverage these experiences garnered.
With a scenically spectacular location in the heart of Mendoza, Argentina, the Vines Resort & Spa, which opened in early 2014, was perfectly positioned to become one of South America’s foremost luxury wine experiences.
But there was a problem. While Argentina was starting to appear on travelers’ “must-go” lists, and Mendoza was becoming more known as a top wine region in South America, the Mendoza Tourism organization put little effort towards proactively promoting the area to outside visitors and U.S. travelers.
What We Did
We knew we could do better. TURNER launched a national campaign to introduce the new hotel to key media and targeted consumer audiences across the U.S. We also developed specific messaging to educate consumers about the destination & the emerging wine region in an effort to bring it to center stage while also spotlighting the resort within it. We conducted proactive, strategic outreach to penetrate targeted, top-tier media & also executed select media FAMs to the resort & region in order to increase awareness of it as a vacation “hot spot”.
As a result of our efforts, we secured several feature stories & generated continuous significant coverage in top priority print & online outlets, including feature placements in Robb Report; Food & Wine; Conde Nast Traveler; Travel + Leisure; Elite Traveler; Departures.com; Celebrated Living, NYTimes.com and countless others.
They called it the “1000-Year Flood.” In September 2013, northern and central Colorado faced torrential downpour and extreme flooding. One of the worst hit spots was Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and a TURNER client. How can a destination that relies heavily on tourism deal with a nationally covered crisis of this magnitude … and come out of it stronger than ever?
What We Did
During the crisis, TURNER served as the primary spokespeople for Estes Park:
- We ran social media channels, responding to inquiries and gathering and distributing information to media and the public.
- We created talking points that were shared by the destination marketing office, shareholders and Turner PR.
- We also distributed media alerts, along with a media list of local and regional print and broadcast news for immediate outreach.
Post-flood, TURNER worked to show that Estes Park was on the road to recovery by:
- Ensuring that the open route to town was prominently featured in messaging (via written directions and a Google map linked in all media communications;
- Encouraging media to participate in a show of support via social media with the hashtag, #MountainStrong.
During and immediately following the floods, TURNER garnered top national and regional coverage including an NBC Nightly News segment, The Denver Post, Mountain Living, and more. Post-flood efforts have been equally successful, with coverage in Front Range publications including The Denver Business Journal, Colorado Parent, Mountain Magazine, Elevation Outdoors and more, in turn, driving visitation and aiding in the town’s economic recovery. With Rocky Mountain National Park’s 100th anniversary in full swing, Estes Park’s future looks bright.
The Wild West thrills of the world’s biggest outdoor rodeo – Cheyenne, Wyoming’s annual Frontier Days – are a dream for real-time social content. The challenge was to create buzz and momentum well before the event actually started (and ultimately inspire travel).
What We Did
The #ShowUsYourCowboy campaign asked fans to submit a photo of their best cowboy impersonation for a chance to win a trip to Frontier Days and serve as the “Official Instagrammer” of the Visit Cheyenne Instagram account for Frontier Days 2014. To further increase buzz, TURNER targeted online influencers received themed seeding packages as inspiration for sharing #ShowUsYourCowboy content on their networks.
Yeehaw! The awareness campaign returned more than 400 photo contest entries and collected a total of 235 #ShowUsYourCowboy Instagram tags. The campaign was promoted by 11 online influencers who shared #ShowUsYourCowboy content on their blogs and social media networks. Overall, the campaign boosted awareness of Visit Cheyenne’s social media efforts and created excitement for their signature event.
Having a great destination is the first step. Making sure the right people know about that great destination is the next step.
Barceló Hotels & Resorts, one of the largest hotel and resort chains in the world, with more than 80 years of excellence behind it, had taken the first step long ago. However, the lack of properties inside of the United States meant that Barceló is not widely known to an American audience.
What We Did
To boost awareness of (and ultimately driving bookings for) the luxurious Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort and Barceló Maya Beach Resort, TURNER launched a strategic, results-oriented, national PR campaign aimed at direct flight markets, important regional publications, and top-tier media outlets.
Instead of starting from scratch, the travel public relations campaign took a more holistic approach, highlighting the resorts’ already fantastic assets, and positioning them as a complete, unique experience. Innovative tactics were used to further help the resort complexes stand out from the competition, including media seeding mailers to select journalists and infographics that conveyed an engaging message.
The response was strong with TURNER secured significant consumer-driven placements in top-tier outlets.
- A brand-oriented article in Skift, “Barceló Hotels Working to Balance Owned and Managed Properties,” singled out Barceló as a leader in travel trends;
- Articles appeared in outlets that don’t typically cover all-inclusive resorts, such as National Geographic Traveler, Shape, Refinery29 and Details;
- Feature coverage included a multi-page spread in Islands naming Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort as one of the top five beach resorts in 2014;
- Numerous articles in MICE and weddings outlets to drive group bookings including Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Bridal Guide, 201 Bride, Successful Meetings, Smart Meetings, Meetings Focus and Prevue;
- Mainstream news media such as USA Today, LA Times, Chicago Tribune and FoxNews.com.
- Albuquerque CVB
- Audley Travel
- Barceló Bávaro
- Barceló Maya
- Bermuda Tourism Authority
- Four Seasons Vail
- Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen
- Hyatt House Naples/5th Avenue
- JW Marriott Austin
- Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa
- Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
- REI Adventures
- Royal Hideaway Playacar Resort
- Sunriver Resort
- Toronto Tourism
- Travel Alberta
- Utah Office of Tourism
- Viceroy Snowmass
- Visit Cheyenne
- Visit Estes Park
- Visit South Walton
- Waldorf Astoria Park City
- Westin Austin
- World Nomads