How to make a hotel the best in a city
with a professional PR agency

Opened in June 2018 in the historical center of Rostov-on-Don, the Boutique Hotel «39» has become a real representative of the classic boutique hotels concept in Russia. The uniqueness of the hotel lies in the distinguishing author's design, intimacy, personalized service, in the place own story, a small number of rooms (44 design rooms) and the opportunity to purchase any interior item: a painting, a chandelier, a statuette and even furniture. For corporate clients, the hotel has created a MICE floor with it gross area of 250 m2, and the only Roof-Top-Bar in the city with panoramic views on the hotels roof with it gross area of 200 m2. The hotel is not a part of any hotel chain and is managed by a local general manager.
Three months after the Boutique Hotel «39» opening, the hotel management contacted the SEA Company to share the tasks the hotel has faced:
1. Sales strategy development and setting up business processes for the work of in-house sales department.
2. Effective and competitive rate policy creation with a profitability forecast for several years ahead.
3. Formation of the major corporate clients' pool, contractual campaign conducting, maintaining customer loyalty to build a long-term and effective partnership with them, including transferring the existing volume of business from other hotels in the city.
4. Building up the hotel's public image for individual guests; raising awareness about the hotel among the target audience, maintaining the loyalty of journalists from federal and regional media to the hotel; setting up and testing effective algorithms for working with guest reviews.
    During the opening preparation period and in the first three months after the opening, the hotel management tried to solve the set tasks by its own, but faced the following difficulties:

    1. Independence: competing with international hotel brands that have established standards and a strong reputation on the market.
    2. The hotels novelty: most of the clients prefer to cooperate with the time-proved hotels.
    3. Distance: the decision-makers on the distribution of corporate guests and the holding of events are in mostly located in Moscow and find it difficult to contact the regional representatives of hotels.
    4. Low awareness: lack of information about the hotel in the media and, as a result, in the target markets.
    As a result of the negotiations with Hotel management, it was decided to start the work in several directions simultaneously:
    • Sales Representation Package – monthly based pro-active sales in B2B and B2G segments.
    • Continuous PR Support Package – monthly based newsmaking, publication activation, cooperation with journalists and creation of hotel's positive public image in media and Internet.
    • Consulting – site audit by SEA Company specialists to analyze the existing business processes, develop and adapt algorithms that contribute to the formation of a global development strategy, optimize revenue and expenditure budgets, as well as the implementation of international standards for operating activities.
    • Design – the marketing materials updating (hotel presentations, banners, leaflets etc.) with the focus on new hotel positioning on the market.
    • SEO-optimization service – website optimization and promotion for increasing the direct bookings from hotel own website.
      The Project consultant:

      Mr Andrey Shemyakin, Managing partner of SEA Company, a hotelier with more than 15 years experience in hospitality.
      • 7+ years working experience at the international hotel chain (Radisson) in Russia.
      • The international PR working experience, received in USA.
      • held the position of Sales Director at the international Finish chain in Russia (Sokos), which later became a client of SEA Company.
      • a member of pre-opening team of the most luxury hotel in Russia (Hotel "Ukraina", Moscow) responsible for Government Relations and Sales.
      • lead as PR & Marketing Director in restart of the historical five star hotel in the heart of Moscow (Hotel "Metropol"), managed full re-branding and new market positioning, created the effective hotel team who returned the former fame to the hotel as one of the significant place in Moscow.
      • established the SEA Company in 2013 the alternative way in the hotel business management. In 2017 has changed the company positioning and re-branded it. These measures helped the company to achieve new ambitious goals. During the years of successful operation have implemented a range of consulting projects in bringing the premium and luxury brands to the market, the same as the global governmental project, which rated as one of the TOP 5 in Moscow according to the Government of Moscow.
      SEA Company was awarded as the "BEST PR and consulting company in travel segment in Russia" according to the Hospitality Awards London in 2019.

      Implemented steps

      Pre-project analytics
      SEA Company team spent several weeks at Boutique Hotel «39» to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the hotel and analyze the current business processes, operational standards, rate policy, contractual database, budgetary policy. Held meetings with all departments and highlighted the hotel USPs.
      Marketing materials
      SEA Company PR and marketing department developed new presentations, informational and press materials, advertising leaflets, organized the photo-shooting. As a result of this block, the sales department received the necessary tools for successful work, and the PR department began active work on briefing journalists and initiating publications in leading international and Russian media.
      Pro-active sales
      The SEA Company Sales department, as a representative office of the hotel, took a proactive position in the first month of work, having researched all the main corporate clients in the region, which provide the largest volume of business.
      Hotel positioning
      The SEA Company PR and Marketing Department has completely updated information about the hotel on the Internet on all significant media resources in order to align the strategic hotel positioning.
      Website optimization
      The SEA Company SEO-specialists carried out the hotel website optimization and correction of errors both from the technical side and in the content part (full text rewriting and copywriting).
      Business breakfast
      The SEA Company project managers held a business breakfast in Moscow dedicated to the hotel for the most important and demanded clients in order to increase loyalty and increase chances to sign cooperation agreements.
      Press tour
      The SEA Company PR and Marketing Department organized and conducted a press tour for the leading Russian media journalists with the subsequent publications about the hotel. Among the participants were representatives of the main on-board magazines, news agencies, glossy travel and lifestyle media.

      The Results

      1. During the first three-months-work, more than 30 profitable contracts were signed, which have been providing a fixed occupancy of 20% - 30% for two years non-stop.
      2. A basic pool of loyal corporate clients has been created, who are giving up to 80% of the hotel's occupancy during the business season.
      3. The permanent fulfillment of the revenue budget approved by the hotel owner is achieved by a well-built rate policy, revenue management and a balancing between the profitable and expenditure budgets of operating activities.
      4. At the end of the pandemic 2020, the growth in indicators by 2019 was:
      - Occupancy: +12,7%
      - ADR: + 16,78%
      - RevPar: +31,0%
      5. The hotel website traffic increased by 530%, which translates into a high percentage of conversion and direct bookings.
      6. PR-indicators influence on a percentage of direct bookings, and for 3 years the OTS indicator was more than 700 million people, and the AVE indicator was more than 70 million rubles.
      7. The hotel became one of the top 10 the best boutique hotels in the world, according to the ELLE Decoration magazine.
      8. In 2020, the hotel became a finalist for the Russia Hospitality Awards in the category "Opening of the Year".
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