A case study: Tranquility Bay Resort
A ‘brand’ new approach after Hurricane Irma
With its private white sand beach, blend of luxurious beachfront accommodations, and multitude of resort activities, Tranquility Bay Resort has been a firm favorite since it opened in 2005. In September 2017, due to minor damage caused by Hurricane Irma, the hotel closed its doors to visitors while compulsory work took place.
Guests were welcomed back a month later, however there were two major challenges the hotel faced into 2018 and 2019: 1.) There were significant declines in market performance as many customers were slow to return initially after Irma, and 2.) The hotel faced the grueling challenge of competing against numerous hotels that were fully renovated after Irma, in addition to new hotels entering the market.
Improving market position after Hurricane Irma
To improve market position and effectively convey Tranquility Bay Resort’s enhanced offering, the hotel decided to refresh the property brand and evolve all marketing communications accordingly. Tranquility Bay Resort has a valuable, loyal customer base. Therefore, it was important to preserve the hotel’s original essence while refining its USP, by better defining the hotel’s key brand pillars of togetherness, family, romance and relaxation. Voyage Travel Marketing worked with the property to define the following objectives:
Refresh the hotel brand to drive brand-direct revenue and better compete in the market
Implement detailed brand guidelines and revamped hotel copy to evoke a more emotive tone
Promote the hotel’s renovation refresh after Hurricane Irma
Grow website revenue by implementing a hotel brand refresh of design elements and new brand copy
Implement refreshed brand email campaign designs and copy to grow brand-direct revenue
Grow social media engagement and conversions through enhanced brand marketing, imagery and social ads
Launch new display ad designs with refreshed brand copy to grow brand-direct eCommerce revenue
Revive the hotel brand and post-Irma mindset through positive PR
REFRESHED MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
The hotel website, email communications, banner ads, online listings and social media were refreshed, with new imagery, copy, and design, to create a more modern feel and to reflect the hotel brand pillars. A more personal and transparent approach was introduced, by displaying more user generated content, video footage and personal accounts from the General Manager. Very successful public relations activity centered on generating domestic and international media visits to help ease the mindset about visiting the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma. The hotel better communicated its offering with completely revamped brand voice communications and taglines that simply and subtly convey its messaging effectively. Sample copy phrases include:
A million miles away is so close
Make more moments that matter
Together is our favorite place
Treasure isn’t always buried
Grab life by the memories
Breathe in the moments
Crushing the comp set
New brand guidelines were created and all marketing communications refreshed, allowing Tranquility Bay Resort to better compete in an increasingly challenging marketplace after Hurricane Irma. Hotel occupancy and revenue grew significantly from 2017 to 2018 and is also on track to continue growing in 2019.
When comparing 2017 and 2018 data, as well as 2019 year to date results, significant growth can be seen across all marketing communications. Website, email, display ads and listing revenue increased by 23.23% in 2018. Year to date (January to May 2019) displays a 26.36% increase in marketing revenue with return on advertising spending rising from 2,418% to 11,078%. Year over year website and email bookings grew by 18.81%. Year to date 2019 revenue shows a growth of 26.85%. Social media performed particularly well in 2018 with engagement up 316% year over year, and conversions up 498%. The growth has continued into 2019 with year to date comparisons displaying a 3.31% rise in engagement and an 8.19% rise in conversions.
A new PR strategy was introduced to revive the hotel brand and post-Irma mindset. Domestic and international media coverage highlights include features in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Southern Living, The Scottish Sun, Irish Daily Mirror, Sun Sentinel, Voyager Ici et Ailleurs and Die Aktuelle to name a few.
In all, implementing a full marketing mix and brand refresh for Tranquility Bay Resort resulted in amazing performance during a time that was quite difficult for the Florida Keys. Tranquility Bay led the market against its comp set, saw excellent marketing performance and utilized a brand refresh to more effectively convey its brand pillars and marketing message. Utilizing a mix of eCommerce, social media, digital marketing, brand development, sales promotions and public relations was vital to communicating the message and achieving results that click with hotel fans.