Pre-Opening Campaign, Holiday Inn Resort, Fort Walton Beach, FL

In May 2014, we had a new beachfront hotel to promote. And we thought, “How do we get people as excited about this as we are?” So we asked them what they wanted to bring to the beach. (Are you packing your bags yet?)

When Innisfree Hotels opened the doors of the brand new Holiday Inn Resort in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., it had already broken brand records – hitting $1.958 million in pre-opening revenue.

To reach those numbers, Team Bee Loud worked 18 months in advance, launching a branded multi-channel campaign on our resort website, social media platforms, digital ads and e-mail. Before our page went live, we devised a social content strategy and targeted e-mail campaigns to attract quality traffic to the website. We established Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles for the property, with Facebook as our primary social channel.

Our vibrant, multi-faceted content strategy included sharing custom beach content, posting construction updates and partnering with local Chambers and Destination Marketing Agencies. Yet the greatest key to the campaign’s success was our Facebook contest, ‘Show Us Your Beach Love.’

Building pre-opening excitement, we encouraged our followers to share photos of what they would bring to the beach, then tracked their submissions using a contest management platform and custom hashtag. Tagged photos were displayed in a Woobox gallery, where participants’ friends could vote for their favorites.

In support of our content strategy, we purchased Facebook ads promoting the contest and pre-opening deals, strategically targeting women 25 and older in key feeder markets. We then retargeted website visitors and users who entered the contest via e-mail with Facebook and Google Search ads.

Contest entrants signed up for our e-mail list and received weekly communications reminding them to take advantage of our pre-opening deal. A final e-blast was sent a week prior to opening, creating ‘last-chance’ urgency.

Our Facebook ads yielded 492,723 impressions and 9,115 clicks-through to the campaign website four months prior to opening. On opening day, the hotel Facebook page had 15,185 highly engaged fans, setting an Intercontinental Hotel’s Group brand record.

Show Us Your Beach Love’ contest received 649 entries and 17,929 votes. The photo with the most votes – posted by one lucky family of four – won a seven-day stay at the new Holiday Inn Resort, hotel in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

The campaign broke IHG’s pre-opening sales records.  Gotta love that!