With a relatively modest budget, the Villa and Alpine Guru brief for Rooster PR consisted of: launching new summer brand, Villa Guru, to the UK market; promoting the re-launched Alpine Guru brand, product and website; developing a network of UK media supporters; positioning founder and director, Oli Corkhill, as the ‘go-to’ ski and villa industry spokesperson for commentary and insight; raising awareness of the luxury product offering and personalised service of both brands; and ultimately, supporting the companies’ sales efforts by driving quality traffic to the Villa and Alpine Guru websites and generating genuine sales leads.
To achieve these objectives, Rooster’s strategy focused on securing profile opportunities for founder and director, Oli Corkhill, as well as issuing stories drawing upon his ‘insider’ knowledge, tips and recommendations; monitoring the news agenda to create relevant, timely and topical hooks for stories and press releases; and promoting the success of the Alpine Guru business story to grab the media’s attention.
Challenges, however, were palpable throughout the campaign and included: the difficulty of getting our voice heard in the hugely competitive spaces of both the villa and ski markets; a late launch for the Villa brand, missing the key booking period for the summer holiday market; the absence of additional budget or third party buy-in to carry out press trips or run competitions, which meant that we were unable to maximise opportunities to secure the more extensive dedicated review-style features that are usually valuable for this type of client.
Through dedication, creativity and sheer enthusiasm for the product, however, in just six months, Rooster secured coverage for the Villa Guru launch in titles such as Metro, The Independent, independent.co.uk, TTG Luxury, Mail Online, Wedding Ideas Magazine, cntraveller.com, Travel Daily and Yahoo!, whilst Alpine Guru coverage in the run up to the 2014/15 season to date, has included pieces in The Times, In The Snow, AllThingsAlpine.com, Oxford Mail, Oxford Times and no less than 12 pieces in top regional UK newspapers following the sell-in of Alpine Guru predictions and trends for the coming season.
Pending coverage as a result of Rooster’s efforts is also worth a note here: Villa Guru is set to dominate a half page of the prestigious 2015 Harper’s Bazaar Travel Guide; three of the brand’s villas are to be included in a design-led piece in Conde Nast Traveller; and Villa Guru will also feature in a ‘private island for NYE’ story in luxury lifestyle title, PrivatAir. All are key outlets in terms of reaching the AB1 target audiences.
The major coup during the campaign was a hugely successful Alpine Guru media lunch. Ski writers and editors were unfamiliar with this relatively young brand (operating for the last three ski seasons only) and with little to announce in terms of product news or developments, Rooster focused on the successes and growth of the company to appeal to targeted journalists. The turnout for the niche ski specialist exceeded expectations with top ski writers Neil English (Mail on Sunday), Henry Druce (Telegraph Ski), Celia Thursfield (Tatler), Gabriella Le Breton (FT, Daily Telegraph, Tatler, Ski & Board…) and Ben Clatworthy (Times, In The Snow, Sunday Times Travel Magazine…) in attendance. Twitter activity by these influencers post-lunch led to a significant spike in Alpine Guru web traffic, as well as a flurry of enquiries and Rooster is in ongoing discussions with the writers regarding future editorial opportunities.
In terms of business results, with the 2014/15 ski season yet to kick off, Alpine Guru pre-season sales exceeded the total sales for the 2013/14 season, with average spend also up considerably on the last year.