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SOLID AS ROCK

WEATHERING THE WINTER CHILL: HOW INNOVATIVE PR AND DESIGN IS KEEPING A CORNISH HOTEL AHEAD OF TARGET

It’s inevitable that South West hospitality businesses feel the ‘winter chill’, however design agency Absolute and its collaborative PR and communications partner Excess Energy have been keeping their joint client, the St Moritz Hotel buzzing with customers.  The award-winning hotel near Rock recently launched its ‘Solid As Rock’ (for very important locals) club and the management and staff have been astounded at the enthusiastic reaction to the new scheme.


Both Absolute and Excess Energy are dedicated to creating continual effective results. Working with the St Moritz Hotel team, they identified the opportunity to create a local’s loyalty programme. The key objective of the campaign was to engage with a new audience who were local to the hotel and who may have not experienced our facilities before.


Excess Energy recommended an initial research period to ensure that the resultant concepts were refined to meet the real needs.  The corresponding research then identified two particular target groups during the initial work. The first group was the higher spend local who would naturally consider using the hotel regularly – the scheme would attempt to increase secondary spend of this group at the hotel. The second group were those which may be intimidated by the hotel, seeing it as possibly too expensive, not child friendly etc.


Absolute and Excess Energy therefore deduced that a classy membership scheme would break down those preconceptions genuinely engage with Cornish residents throughout the year.  We therefore collectively provided them with an innovative membership marketing scheme that rewarded them for their loyalty to the business, and their location, 365 days of the year. Absolute managed the design and production of a range of new marketing tools including postcards, adverts and e-flyers to engage potential clients, and in just over six months over 1,100 people have driven up to the hotel to sign-up and get involved.  


In addition to offering Cornwall’s residents 10% off treatments at the Cowshed spa, 10% off membership at the St Moritz Leisure Club, 10% off hotel rooms and 15% off all food and drink at the celebrated St Moritz Restaurant, the ‘Solid as a Rock’ campaign has also included the launch of ‘Moules Wednesday’ – a specially-created weekly £10 per person menu offer that includes an oversized bowl of Porthilly Mussels straight from the Rock Estuary, frites, chunky bread, plus a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Again, this has been promoted with the use of specially designed cards and the results speak for themselves.   These special menu options – and a newly developed Plat Du Jour option – can see up to an additional 60 covers in the restaurant per day.


Solid As Rock has also enabled the hotel to grow its database and use that to design special offers for hotel stays that could be limited to friends and family of Solid As Rock members so the margins were not over-exposed. This is particularly helpful for late bookings or in tough months when reservations are looking lean – the current recession means this is happening more often but Solid As Rock is an immediate reactionary mechanism against this.   A well-attended Solid As Rock cocktail and canapés event was also held bringing over 200 of the members together at the hotel and allowing subtle face-to-face marketing opportunities.


The immediate success of this scheme has increased off-peak business which enables the St Moritz to retain staff that previously would have been unnecessary in low season, therefore benefiting the Cornwall economy.  In terms of income the overall spend of additional Solid As Rock customers is a minimum of £1,000 per week – reaping significant profits for the hotel at a very low investment level. 
“We’ve seen a huge surge in the number of people visiting the St Moritz during the shoulder months as a result of the new scheme and long may it continue!,” says the founder and owner of the St Moritz Hotel, Hugh Ridgway. “This is a thank you to the people of Cornwall for their loyalty and continued support throughout the year. The new Solid As Rock scheme is all down to Absolute and Excess Energy and is a tribute to the value that the right combination of PR and design work can bring to an establishment such as ours. We’re delighted with the response.”