Through a previous snow-related project, 15 years ago Lynsey found herself in Ischgl with Heston Blumenthal and had invited the MD of Momentum Ski and the culinary magician, Heston Blumenthal for dinner at the Trofana Royal. Over lunch the idea of developing the ultimate weekend that combined their twin loves – fine-dining and world-class skiing – was cooked up.
Heaven was subsequently tasked with launching the inaugural four-day Mountain Gourmet Ski Experience event in early 2014 and ensuring the spaces for 45 guests were filled.
Playing on Courmayeur’s reputation of having a wide choice of gastronomic restaurants, Heston was to be joined by fellow Michelin-starred chefs Marcus Wareing and Sat Bains. Against the spectacular backdrop of the Aosta Valley, their mission was to celebrate the rustic charm of the local cuisine and inject an exciting new gourmet dimension into the resort. And, with the package catering for experienced skiers as much as beginners, the chefs had to ensure their special guests were suitably refuelled for a demanding day on the slopes.
To capitalise on the launch and create a drip-feed of coverage to boost sales for subsequent events, the team hand-picked 4 travel and lifestyle journalists to travel out for the first Mountain Gourmet Ski Experience and sample the high-altitude haute cuisine experience prepared by some of the world’s top chefs.
Such was the success of the concept and the high profile coverage achieved that the initial event sold out within weeks. It has subsequently gone on to become a popular annual fixture in the ski calendar, with new celebrity chef involvement adding to its newsworthy appeal for the third year in a row.
Results: Widespread national and regional coverage secured, with 69 features reaching over 10 million readers and generating an AVE of £2,000,500. These included features in City AM, Conde Nast Traveller, Metro, The Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, The Independent and The Irish Times. In addition to widespread pick-up in the British regional press and snow sport titles, the event also generated significant local coverage in key Italian titles, further boosting the destination’s prestige and epicurean profile.
For TUI Travel’s sports division, the Football World Cup (FWC) in 2010 was a major opportunity to increase awareness of their expertise in sending fans to high profile events and increase sales. Plus for the corporate hospitality of Sportsworld to attract more high profile clients. However, responsible tourism was also a key element of how both companies operate and the desire to create a legacy in South Africa was strong.
With this in mind, Lynsey Devon helped devise an integrated campaign that would tick all the boxes and help increase the coverage potential from the two companies’ involvement in the event.
This included traditional PR elements such as pre-promotion, an extensive visiting journalist programme – both in the build up to the FWC and during the event itself and interviews with the brand MDs for thought-leadership web TV.
However, one of the most impactful elements of the campaign was to work with TUI Travel’s sustainability team and local NGOs to build an extension of a kindergarten at Masiphumalele outside of Cape Town. In recruiting celebrities – as well as visiting media – to do shifts at the site, the PR team was able to gain additional coverage. Furthermore, the sales and marketing teams were able to further promote the building work to customers as a way for them to be part of the FWC legacy; something which received positive feedback.
The marketing team was then able to capitalise on the presence of celebrities for the high-profile event by working with the organisers to coordinate a celebrity football match for the same charity. This well-attended event helped create a lot of buzz amongst the spectators and helped bring home the responsible tourism message.
Strategic partnership with book and Voice of Sport also spread the word of the charity work and gained more recognition during the event.
As a result, from just a £10,000 budget, in working closely with other teams – internal and external – the PR team was able to deliver almost £3million in terms of AEV and reached an audience of 616 million people, both in the UK and South Africa itself.
Whilst European mountain resorts receive their fair share of coverage in the winter, it remains a challenge to promote the summer opportunities to UK and Irish holidaymakers.
To try to put Jungfrau on the map and drive awareness of the breathtaking scenery and holiday opportunities in this Swiss gem, Lynsey and Vicky came up with the concept of taking the world’s fastest man to Jungfraujoch – considered the Top of Europe – and getting him to set a world record for the highest ever 100m in the company of famous sprint athletes from across Switzerland.
To maximise the marketing opportunities and help budgets go further, they worked with their client to secure Hublot, Jungfrau Railways and Interlaken Tourism as industry partners. This partnership ensure the team were able to invite 10 International media to travel out and witness the record against the picturesque backdrop of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau Mountains, whilst building in a wider itinerary to experience the regional highlights. The event will also attract a wide number of local journalists, ensuring it achieves national news coverage.
In addition to the anticipated coverage, the local partners have been able to capitalise on the occasion to promote it as a special event to locals and holidaymakers alike, helping put the destination on the map, In particular, the event is expected to inspire spectators to share their images across social media channels.
This project involves integrated media as for marketing we can show Usain’s relationship with these mountains and thus promote to direct customers through newsletters etc.
Quark Expeditions challenged the team to capitalise on the centenary of Shackleton’s famous attempt to cross Antarctica and generate interest in the operator’s new loyalty programme, named after the famous explorer.
Deciding that a well-chosen partnership could further cement Quark Expeditions as leaders in their field and increase the coverage potential, we discovered that the original Endurance expedition team had all been wearing Jaeger – an upmarket brand synonymous with quality – during their unsuccessful mission.
Heaven had a further ace up its celestial sleeves. The great great grandfather of one of its top contacts – Jonathan Thompson, a freelancer who’d been hosted on a Quark trip four years previously – was on the expedition with Shackleton.
Working with Jaeger’s Endurance project to mark the anniversary, the team sent the award-winning journalist on Quark’s Antarctic Explorer trip along with photographer Mark Chilvers. With their itinerary including several stops from the iconic 1914-5 expedition, the two were supplied with clothing from Jaeger’s new autumn / winter range and tasked with capturing the Quark crew modelling the kit on board for a UK photography exhibition.
They also agreed to send back regular reports which could help build excitement about their mission back in the UK and position Quark as the experts enabling intrepid travellers to follow in the footsteps of great explorers.
Results: 13 pieces of national coverage were secured on the Quark adventure to coincide with the January 2015 anniversary, reaching a total audience of over 191 million and achieving an AVE of over £1.5 million. Highlights included features in The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, Huffington Post, Esquire Magazine and The Australian. Extra awareness around Quark’s involvement were negotiated through a series of seven blog posts from the adventuring duo posted on the Jaeger site (2.1 million unique users) along with mentions in their direct mail campaign, sent to over 250,000 affluent professionals. The partnership with such a revered British brand also lent itself to a social media campaign, with Jaeger promoting the blog posts and exhibition via its own Twitter and Facebook channels.
As the PR manager for Quark Expeditions’ activity in the UK, Lynsey knew that the unveiling of the company’s newest ship to trade as well as consumers had great significance for the company and that an integrated approach would be required.
Working with the wider team together they came up with the idea of a maiden voyage for the MS Sea Spirit down the Thames. They agreed that this would fulfil a number of objectives; giving the PR and sales team the opportunity to host influencers on-board and providing an alternative advertising mechanic to the marketing team than traditional advertising.
Knowing that the guests would have differing time availability, they agreed to give the invitees two travel options – the first a full day cruise, embarking at 10am and staying on board for breakfast, the chance to sail through Tower Bridge (opened for the occasion), lunch and presentations and the second, a condensed option involving lunch and presentations before disembarking at 4pm.
As the guests were to be made up of travel agents, VIPs and industry influencers as well as media, it was important to work closely when coordinating the day’s arrangements to ensure the differing needs were recognised and met.
To ensure the press and the marketing team received the images they needed, a photographer was sourced to take iconic shots of the ship in London and passing through Tower Bridge. These images were subsequently circulated in e-newsletters when announcing the new ship and used in Quark’s brochures.
Given the high-profile nature of a large ship passing through London, the event also resulted in passers-by taking photos and sharing them via social media, helping build word-of-mouth whilst it was in town and – thanks to the visible branding – generating a spike in web traffic visits.
A TASTE FOR SKIING: We were tasked with positioning Alta Badia in the Italian Dolomites as a gastronomic destination for the winter season for skiers. Alta Badia has a trio of Michelin starred restaurants within just a few miles of each other as well as a plethora of mountain huts/restaurants. In order to complete the task the strategy involved utilising the best of Alta Badia’s gastronomic characters including Norbert Niederkofler, chef at the 2 Michelin star St Hubertus Restaurant. A Taste for Skiing features typical South Tyrolean fare interpreted by Michelin star chefs which were then turned into gastronomic delights – it was a winning combination of winter sports and gastronomy on the slopes.
The latest creation was “Slope Food – the aperitif on the slopes”, a very special version of the famous finger food or street food. These tasty creations were designed to accompany aperitifs, the wine pairing is very important and the snacks were served with the finest wines from South Tyrol, suggested by the chefs themselves together with the best sommeliers of the region. The 12 Michelin-starred chefs, including the Dolomitici, the three Michelin-starred chefs of Alta Badia, then had their creations featured throughout the season on the menu at fourteen local mountain refuges priced between 8 – 15 Euros for a glass of wine and the snack. From the UK the celebrity chef John Burton-Race created a dish – this was to access stories with a UK twist to attract the UK ski market effectively.
Awareness was raised through press releases and an opening weekend event including a group press trip. Run in conjunction with a tour operator partner the trip saw a range of the top ski and food journalists travel to Alta Badia for the launch of the ‘Slope Food’ initiative. Coverage was instant with social media and online media during the trip itself. Since the trip major pieces of coverage have due to individual trips included Daily Telegraph, Metro, Independent, Mail Online, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Delicious Magazine, easyJet Traveller, The Wall Street Journal Europe and Italia Magazine.
The challenge: MSC wanted to raise awareness of their products with new and younger audiences across the UK and Europe. The groups were put off by preconceptions about cruising: e.g. ‘it’s expensive, it’s for older people, you never get to see the destinations properly’. The campaign looked to target 6 core target markets globally. Heaven Publicity and Media Ark created a compelling campaign.
The brief was to introduce skiing in Japan to the UK travel media – positioning Inghams as the most innovative ski operators, ensuring they are firmly established as the best in their market.
Having worked and become friends with the most influential and important media for the market, we introduced Inghams MD to key ski writers and luxury travel and lifestyle journalists. We arranged meetings with key contacts (including Tatler, Vogue and Conde Nast Traveller) that ensured the Inghams MD was front of mind when thinking about ski and the new destination of Japan for winter holidays.
Furthermore, we achieved strong coverage in relevant media and secured press trips that resulted in great features where Inghams saw an initial 600 bookings from the media coverage alone. We also secured the BBC with a film crew and Colin Jackson to make the very last BBC Holiday film with a reach of 6.8 million viewers. This put Inghams in a very strong position for the following winter ski season.
Results: In summary, we arranged press trips for titles including the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Financial Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, Welove2ski,com, Conde Nast Traveller, The Sunday Times, Ski and Board, The Daily Mail Ski Magazine, The Independent, FT How to Spend it, Red Magazine, and Harpers Bazaar, Evening Standard and the Metro, LBC, The Today programme BBC Radio 4 and many more. The BBC film…. All articles featured in a timely manner.
The brief was to highlight the opportunities of taking a gap year to the UK media. We created a publicity campaign for Real Gap Experience & i-to-i Volunteering holidays as an option to gain valuable work experience, new skills, personal challenges and cultural experience overseas, targeting 18 – 35 year olds as well as their teachers/lecturers and parents. With Real Gap Experience and i-to-i Volunteering we carried out research illustrating that a Gap Year experience can develop qualities required in the work place, as believed by over 500 employers of young recruits. To position Real Gap and i-to-i Volunteering as front of mind gap year providers. We secured Matt Lacey of Gap Yah viral campaign (Orlando) as a credible brand ambassador for the campaign who appealed to the core target audience. We used these findings to run a national radio campaign highlighting the benefits of gap year travel.
Over the year’s campaign we also ran two press trips that would focus on the popular destinations of Costa Rica and Thailand. In addition we organised a young writer’s competition to win a trip and to write about it with National Geographic Traveller as well as a robust competition with Waterstone’s for the launch of Matt Lacey’s Gap Yah Plannah.
Results: In Summary we arranged two press trips for titles including The Sunday Telegraph, The Sun, Red, Cosmopolitan, The Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Express, The People, The News of the World, National Geographic Traveller, The Press Association, Planet Confidential, Woman’s Weekly, ABTA magazine. The radio campaign featured on 153 radio stations with 30 audio features taken by target audience focused websites/blogs. This alone hit an audience of 1.5 million listeners and a total of 34 excellent travel features.
Telegraph.co.uk article People.co.uk article
The challenge was to make the Adventure brands of TUI Travel PLC’s Adventure Division famous. Some of the company’s awareness levels in the UK were relatively low and we were set the task to create a buzz about Adventure travel. The travel companies included: The Adventure Company, Headwater, Exodus, Imaginative Traveller, Quark Expeditions, Peregrine and Geckos. We created a campaign that incorporated market research from YouGov and generated the first industry report about the Adventure market to show past, current and future trends.
Results: As part of the campaign we worked with leading Adventurer Kate Humble and secured a total of 71 radio interviews about the report. Sitting on the TV sofa with Colin Stump, MD of Adventure we also secured 18 interviews for web TV channels. The report was launched at an Adventure themed media event at Inn the Park, St James Park where 68 media confirmed attendance. Attendees included influential freelancers plus travel editors from: Condé Nast Traveller, The Guardian, Guardian Unlimited, Harper’s Bazaar, The Independent, Men’s Health, Reader’s Digest and Times Online.
All those who attended enjoyed a presentation on the report and received an electronic press pack. The release and report were featured in web, trade and national press. To help bolster coverage we secured 10 travel journalists on press trips for the brands for future coverage in national media to create compelling copy and third party endorsements. Highlights from these travel features included coverage in the Times Online, The Sun, Country Life, Scottish Herald and The Telegraph.