Create buzz. Open hotel. Fill rooms.

In a challenging economy, people naturally trim their budgets – cutting out things like new clothes, dinners out, and of course, vacations. As a result, the hotel industry suffers. But when new hotels open, it’s a prime opportunity to build the buzz they need to fill the rooms and keep the travelers coming – even in a down economy. And that’s where innovative marketing, public relations, and advertising techniques come in.

Case in point: Revere Boston

Over the past few months, I’ve been following a grand opening campaign for Revere Boston, a luxury hotel and entertainment destination, which opened in Boston on April 18. To help build excitement, they used a mix of public relations, social media, and on-site marketing.

Instead of simply revealing the specifics of the renovated hotel formerly known as the Radisson, the campaign centered on the theme: “Find out who we are before anyone else does.” To help Boston residents and visitors do just that, Revere Boston utilized social media and email blasts with clues to a scavenger hunt where participants could win exclusive prizes.

Revere Boston also gave hints about how participants could learn their identity by tweeting locations where they could be found such as at the Boston Wine Expo photo booth and a catering truck on Boston Common where staff distributed free cupcakes and hot chocolate.

By staging these events, Revere Boston was able to reach a wide range of their target consumers – from young professionals and industry executives to business travelers and tourists – who would be interested in the property’s guest rooms, innovative function space, and lively bar/lounge. Revere Boston

Case in point: The Falls Center and La Quinta Inn and Suites

At EVR, we recently worked to promote The Falls Center and La Quinta Inn and Suites in Amoskeag Falls. Formerly the Clarion Hotel, the new facility has amenities – like a business center, fitness room, and outdoor swimming pool – that appeal to both business and vacation travelers alike.

By working closely with the owners, EVR developed an integrated communications plan to generate publicity and earned media coverage for the new hotel, starting with the purchase of the property all the way through to its grand opening.

In November 2011, EVR hosted a groundbreaking ceremony with key partners and city leaders. While the hotel was under construction, EVR created a unique microsite – whatsupatthefalls.com – where the public and media could track the project’s status and even watch the live “construction cam.” Signage, press releases, and social media posts all drove to the microsite.

The day before the property opened, we held a “sneak peek” for media to preview the renovations and amenities. The campaign yielded segments on WMUR-TV and feature stories in the Union Leader, New Hampshire Business Review, Hippo, New England Real Estate Journal, and hotel industry publications. And at the end of March 2012, the hotel opened with renewed vigor and interest from local business owners, area residents, and tourists.

Photos by Rex dart: eskimo spy Flickr