Influencer Relations

Launching A European Brand In The US

AC Hotels by Marriott

More than one million
earned media impressions
Top performing AC Hotel
in the country
"The Crossroads plan is best in class"

Challenge

AC Hotels was founded in 1998 by renowned Spanish hotelier A. Catalan. Following its success in Europe, a joint venture was formed with Marriott International in 2011, bringing AC Hotels by Marriott to the United States. One of the first debuts was March 2015 in Kansas City. After considering several firms to help share their story, AC Hotels by Marriott selected Crossroads to increase brand awareness and initiate a positive perception of the brand to locals and those traveling to Kansas City.

Solution

To initiate and continue AC Hotels’ buzz with local influencers, Crossroads developed a strategic influencer relations plan. The team developed story angles and influencer pulses and facilitated interviews between hotel representatives and influencers. Each pitch and pulse the agency created was tailored to meet the individual needs of a specific outlet. This approach allowed an exclusive story for each outlet, as well as the opportunity to develop great relationships.

With the target audience being millennial men and women, everything Crossroads did was tailored to this audience. Three examples include:

  • Instead of having a traditional hiring fair, Crossroads suggested the brand have a hiring social at a local restaurant frequented by millennial audiences
  • Rather than leveraging Valentine’s Day as a way to tout the property’s culinary offerings, the team leveraged “Galentine’s Day”—a day highly celebrated by millennial women
  • This property needed more than a standard grand opening. As such, Crossroads worked with the Mayor’s office and the hotel’s neighborhood to create the inaugural Westport Millennial Weekend, of which AC Hotels by Marriott Kansas City Westport was front and center

Results

Expectations for the opening were not only met, but thoroughly exceeded. The team secured more than 60 news stories and blog placements generating more than 40 million earned impressions. Further, the client continually commented on Crossroads and the positive work and vast placements the team generated.

“I cannot tell you how impressed I am with the energy, creativity and understanding of the business demonstrated in the Crossroads proposal. I’ve worked with many brands and many agencies over the years, and the Crossroads plan is best in class and one of the most creative and brand right plans I’ve seen. Their ideas and thinking are right in line with where the brand is headed from a PR perspective. I will absolutely be using some of their ideas as ‘best practices’ for both other hotel teams.”- Catherine Leitner, former Senior Director, PR, Marriott International, Inc.

“The Westport opening is the best PR job we’ve ever done.” – Steven Nicholas, Principal and Executive Vice President Asset Management, Noble Investment Group

Of the five AC Hotels open in the United States at the time of the Kansas City launch, the Westport property was the top preforming location in the country.