Nestled in the breathtaking mountains of northern New Hampshire, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel is a special place that offers a “magical” experience, which is often difficult to describe. In order to convey that experience, the marketing team of bobdonpaul.com needed a strategy that was equally magic. During one brainstorming session, Don Manley of bobdonpaul.com threw out a wild idea. “Wouldn’t it be great to get someone to live at the hotel and tell the story everyday,” he said.
A year later, Don’s idea took hold, and the creative team of bobdonpaul.com launched the Balsams very first Inn-Bedded Resorter campaign, a social media experiment that turned out better than anyone had anticipated. After a fast-paced online search last June, Martin Earley spent July and August golfing, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying fine cuisine at the grand hotel, as well as going behind the scenes to get a glimpse of what makes The Balsams so special. He shared his experience through various social media outlets, including the resort’s blog and Facebook page. His video and blog posts were followed by thousands of viewers, and traditional media outlets came calling for interviews.
The campaign was a huge success, and The Balsams saw their Facebook statistics and visits to their website soar, as well as a 20% increase in bookings in August. Then bobdonpaul.com was faced with the question of what to do next. Fortunately, Bob Manley had his eye on another Internet sensation—a duo from Canada who were using social media to navigate a North American adventure: Alex and Luke.
“They were on their cross-country journey and they landed in NH,” says Bob. “Tai Freligh from the State of NH heard about them and started posting about them on the state Facebook page, and I just saw one of the postings and immediately took an interest. I followed them all the way around the country, and as it got closer to the end of their journey I started thinking, ‘I wonder if these guys would be interested in coming to New Hampshire in a couple months.’ I loved what they were doing and knew they would make really great candidates… so we invited them to The Balsams.”
Alex and Luke had developed a huge following during their trip, and as The Balsams’ winter Inn-Bedded Resorters, they brought those followers with them and took the program to another level. While at the resort, the couple frequently updated their followers on their new adventures via their own website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with The Balsams’ various social media platforms. Says Bob, “They have done an amazing job and blown away the summer program 10-fold by generating excitement, traffic, and new fans.” The Balsams’ opening week of this winter season nearly sold out and was the busiest holiday weekend in many years.
With Alex and Luke, traffic to the hotel’s website doubled. “January broke the all-time record for the number of people that hit the Balsams website, and that’s January—that’s not a month that we should be breaking that record—so that’s huge,” says Bob. In addition, the entire marketing campaign got some attention and media coverage of its own.
Ultimately, the success of the Resorter program is in the result of the effort. “What we have allowed is a great dialog between guests and future guests,” says Bob. “People who have been guests virtually now want to experience the resort in person.” And that’s what it’s all about.
bobdonpaul.com blogging team
Alex & Luke come to The Balsams
Martin Earley’s video application to be the first Inn-Bedded Resorter
Martin Earley campaigns to be the Inn-Bedded Resorter at The Balsams