Classic Christmas at The Artesian
The Artesian Hotel is a boutique hotel in Sulphur, Oklahoma, that hosts an annual Classic Christmas celebration starting in November each year. The celebration brings a Christmastime storybook to life in south-central Oklahoma.
Festivities begin with the City of Sulphur’s Opening Night on the Plaza, as The Artesian Hotel and other downtown businesses begin the Christmas season with the official lighting of several outdoor holiday displays. More than 150,000 LED lights outline The Artesian’s classic spires and turrets while two-dozen Christmas trees fill the inside of the hotel, including a grand 20-foot tree at the hotel’s entrance.
From the last week of November until the day after Christmas, every guest at The Artesian Hotel receives an exclusive gift when they arrive in their room. On select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the Classic Christmas celebration, guests can also make reservations for exciting traditions such as breakfast with Santa in The Artesian’s ballroom, gingerbread decorating classes, story time with Mrs. Claus and horse-drawn carriage rides throughout the plaza. Carolers in 19th century dress are also common fixtures during the celebration.
Classic Christmas at The Artesian presented a handful of marketing challenges. The primary objective was to use Classic Christmas as an opportunity to brand The Artesian as an in-demand, premier destination in south-central Oklahoma. While The Artesian stands up against any boutique hotel, its location can be a challenge because of competition with hotels in the Dallas and Oklahoma City metropolitan areas. It also competes with many other Christmas celebrations in the region. Classic Christmas was also viewed by hotel management as an opportunity to develop leads for future bookings and events.
Additionally, The Artesian wanted to cultivate and enhance their relationships with media contacts and bloggers. They also hoped to increase traffic to their website, grow their business development initiatives and community involvement, and increase engagement on all of their social media channels. The Koch Communications team used these challenges and directives to build a strategy that would help The Artesian surpass their goals and expand brand awareness.
Koch Comm’s overall strategy was to support The Artesian’s business goal of selling out room nights throughout the celebration period and selling tickets to Classic Christmas activities to families throughout Oklahoma and the North Texas area. Tactics were developed for social media and public relations to drive traffic to The Artesian’s website, highlighting not only Classic Christmas activities but the hotel’s many other amenities and lodging options.
Using a more targeted approach than in previous years, Koch Comm used previous guest lists to target prior attendees and encourage them to return. Koch Comm also used these guest lists to identify new audiences similar to those who had attended in the past and suggested Classic Christmas as a new family tradition for these audiences. Additionally, Koch Comm created a social media giveaway to not only generate brand awareness and traffic to the website, but to also build a web audience to advertise to throughout the campaign. A Facebook offer to promote mid-week room bookings was also developed and implemented. Throughout the campaign, engagement with The Artesian’s social media audience grew while simultaneously increasing web traffic.
A dinner for regional media also provided impressive results for Classic Christmas and has continued beyond the celebration with those media outlets treating The Artesian’s content more favorably. Additionally, an email was sent to previous hotel guests promoting the Classic Christmas activities and hotel bookings. The email had a 50% open rate.
On their own, digital media and public relations efforts are powerful, but when they are integrated they deliver a big impact. In turn, the strategy developed for Classic Christmas integrated digital media and public relations to raise awareness for the celebration and established The Artesian as the place to visit during the Christmas season. News releases were distributed, stories were pitched to local media and visitors were encouraged to use #TisTheArtesian throughout the festivities.
The partnership between Koch Comm and Classic Christmas at The Artesian resulted in an exceptionally successful campaign. Results included:
– The Artesian Hotel’s website saw 32,947 sessions, with 22,090 new users. Of the sessions, over 25% were referred from social channels.
– The Classic Christmas page had 8,034 visits and 6,783 of those were unique visitors. With a conservative advertising budget for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, paid reach was more than 153,000 people, more than 522,279 impressions, more than 58,000 engagements and resulted in more than 5,500 clicks to the website.
– The Ultimate Classic Christmas Giveaway was the most viewed and most entered giveaway in The Artesian Hotel’s history. It received 6,703 views and 4,805 entries.
– Twitter advertising for Classic Christmas had over 38,000 impressions and resulted in 1,542 engagements and 1,076 clicks to The Artesian’s website.
– The Santa Claus Reveal video created for the Classic Christmas Breakfast with Santa activity received a total of 7,466 video views.
– The media dinner provided an opportunity to host five different media outlets at The Artesian for a sneak peek of the celebration and led to increased local coverage from each of those outlets. For those media members unable to attend, Classic Christmas themed gifts were delivered, which led to increased goodwill among those media members.
– Classic Christmas had 29 media mentions with earned media totaling more than $57,000 during the campaign. The calculated PR value for print media equaled $24,651 and online media equaled $32,751.
– Hotel occupancy hit 99 percent each weekend of Classic Christmas, more than a 4 percent increase when compared to 2016.
– Total attendance at the Classic Christmas events, including Breakfast with Santa, Gingerbread House Decorating and carriage rides, experienced a 54 percent increase when compared to 2016 attendance.