As sponsors of the HMA Young Hotel Marketer of the Year award 2019, we recently welcomed the winner – Amy Pattison of Rockliffe Hall, a luxury 5-star hotel in the North East of England – to our offices to spend a day working at the agency with the creative, digital and film teams. To make it an even more award-winning experience, we also gave her our own award – the latest iPhone XS on which to further develop her social and mobile marketing skills.
As an HMA Award-winning agency, we know how rewarding it can be to be involved in a successful campaign, so we had a chat with Amy about the awards night, her winning entry and her thoughts on the future of hotel marketing.
LAW: What’s the first thing you did when you were told you had been shortlisted for the HMA Young Marketer of the Year award?
Amy: My boss got an email through about it and started jumping around the office. It took me a while to realise what was going on. Then we went down to London to the awards ceremony, which was stressful!
LAW: Why was it stressful?
Amy: I don’t think I’d been in a situation like that before. Steve Lowry, Chairman of the HMA, gave me the award on stage and afterwards he said, “I didn’t want to give you the award because your hands were shaking, and I thought you were going to drop it!” Before the award was announced they described the winner’s application and during that I wasn’t sure it was me because the competition was strong, and I thought they could have been talking about any of the candidates. It didn’t feel real until I was on the train home, really. It wasn’t until we were half way back home that I realised what had just happened.
LAW: Did you think you might win?
Amy: I was happy with the submission. I felt it was strong. But then seeing the other candidates they were all at good hotels and also all had good submissions. My submission was based on the family market because we’d just opened Mischmasch, our family area, so it was all about that launch, and I’d managed the social for it, so it included figures on current growth in the family market.
LAW: Why do you think you won the award?
Amy: I think it was because my submission was very specific. It included lots of video content tailored towards families on social media to launch Mischmasch, plus all of the result stats from social media. I showed the number of families that we had following it compared to the number we had the year before to show the growth we’d achieved.
LAW: Tell us about your hotel.
Amy: We’re based in the North East of England just outside of Darlington in a little village called Hurworth. It’s got 61 bedrooms, a spa, golf course, three restaurants, and a family-friendly area we opened last year called Mischmasch, which is inspired by Alice In Wonderland because Lewis Carroll grew up in the village next door.
LAW: How do you approach your work?
Amy: Whatever we’re trying to achieve we look to find the human angle, rather than just saying, “Book this great offer and you can save £x.” We never ever go down that route. We tell a story and say, “If you come and stay this is what you will experience.” Then it’s about finding imagery and videos to communicate that and making sure it works across all channels, so that what’s on the website, the e-shot and social media all ties up together.
LAW: Why do you think storytelling is important in Hotel Marketing?
I think stories connect people with your brand. People aren’t only bothered about the price point, it’s also about experience. Everything is experience led, so if you can get people to engage with your brand you will sell more. Also, everyone’s looking for the ‘Instagrammable’ moment, so if you’re putting out content saying, “Look at this, you could be here,” it engages them and makes them want to come to your hotel.
LAW: What’s next for Rockliffe Hall?
Amy: We’re really lucky that our owner invests any profit that we make back into the business. Last year the investment was in Mischmasch and £750,000 was spent in creating that. Two years before that we built an outdoor spa garden area – an extension onto the spa – so we’re really lucky as marketers because there’s always new stuff happening on the horizon and we’re never stuck in a rut. For example, we now have a gardening team that keeps bees and we use their honey in the restaurant. There are stories everywhere. You talk to someone that you haven’t spoken to in a few months and you find out something you never knew.”
As a forward-thinking agency committed to better results through smarter thinking, we’re delighted to have sponsored the HMA Young Hotel Marketer of the Year award 2019 and wish Amy all the best for a long and successful career. To talk to an award-winning team specialising in hotels and beyond, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.