After an extensive renovation of the historic hostelry by Salt Hotels, The Chequit was set to open in May 2015 on Shelter Island, a bucolic retreat nestled between Long Island’s North and South Forks.
The 37-room inn was opening at the start of the summer travel season with a new crisp and contemporary design, a new restaurant Red Maple, a grab-and-go White Hill Café, and a retail outlet. The Chequit is the third and largest property opened by Salt Hotels, a newly launched brand that redefines the concept of a traditional bed and breakfast with a fresh approach. The hotel company ethos is to celebrate the history of its properties along with their specific locations, so the campaign needed to reflect The Chequit’s special character and tradition. The somewhat sleepy destination of Shelter Island, appeals to those seeking a low key and relaxed yet sophisticated getaway, unlike its well-known and flashy neighbor The Hamptons.
The goal was to introduce and publicize the opening of The Chequit and position it as a relaxed yet sophisticated getaway to both a regional and national audience.
Publicity efforts centered on creating a buzz with the local, regional and national media as well as key influential editors. The ultimate goal of garnering media interest and coverage of the hotel was to generate bookings in advance of the summer. As this was also an opportunity to showcase the evolution of Salt Hotels’ with its third property and how their unique vision is integral to hotel’s style and service. We wanted to illustrate the stunning renovation of the historic property and the contemporary appeal of its new design and amenities. Alerting both island residents and North & South Fork locals about its new retail and food outlets was also a critical component.
The target audience for The Chequit launch message was fairly broad since Shelter Island as a destination has wide consumer appeal. In addition, the reasonable starting price point of $195.00 expands the demographic slightly beyond the traditional “luxury” travelers.
We were seeking to reach a chic and savvy national audience as well as in both the New York region and the local island/Hamptons given the likelihood to travel a short distance.
A photo shoot of the mock-up room was also organized. This release and photos were used to tease the media and secure appointments with key long-lead outlets in New York for the owners of Salt Hotels in February when they were planning their early summer coverage. As a result of these meetings, a national exclusive was given to Vogue to break the news in their May issue, while a regional exclusive was granted to Hamptons Magazine for the second issue of the season. Following the Vogue piece, the press release was disseminated widely. Additionally, we worked with the local Shelter Island Reporter to offer first access to the property for a large feature to appear in May. Media stays were scheduled media stays which continued throughout the summer.
The campaign’s key message was announcing the opening of The Chequit. The historic property on Shelter Island, long known as a fading grand dame, had been given a top-to-bottom renovation and now offers stylish design and service appealing to today’s chic and savvy traveler.
Rather than a typical renovation and reopening, we needed to communicate the distinctive touch of the new owners, Salt Hotels. The hotel company celebrates the history of its properties along with their specific locations, so messaging needed to reflect The Chequit’s special character and tradition. The campaign was differentiated by a strong focus on the owners’ personal approach to the design, décor, food and operating style of the Inn. We included lengthy individual quotes from the owners’ in our announcement release that conveyed their vision for the hotel and what sets it apart. We ensured that we had an extensive library images that would visually tell the hotel’s story.
From launching the hotel with an exclusive in Vogue to a 6-page feature in Hamptons magazine, and placements in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, T Magazine, Star Magazine, OK! Magazine, and more, the quantity and quality of coverage of The Chequit’s opening was incredible.
While online coverage included Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Financial Times, and regional print coverage included features in The New York Post, Newsday, and New York Observer.
The campaign generated a total of 205,740,164 impressions with an equivalent advertising value of $2,850,735.77. The hotel was sold out on weekends for the entire summer season, and the trend seems to be continuing with strong year round occupancy.