Project Profile: Allison Inn Custom Magazine

hawthorn creative hospitality marketing Project Profile Allison Inn Custom Magazine feature a

The annual Roots custom magazine we’ve produced for The Allison Inn & Spa since 2014 has been one of the most successful magazines in our 16-year history. And we know it has for our client, too. The hotel marketing team and hotel Managing Director Pierre Zreik have worked hard to establish their authenticity and, no pun intended, roots in the Willamette Valley. It’s that kind of connection with the surrounding area that has helped turn the hotel marketing magazine into a valuable tool for guests to maximize their stays and a must-advertise-in publication for local wineries and businesses, too. Here’s the story behind how Roots cements this luxury resort’s reputation as the “living room” of Oregon wine country.

The Client

Newberg, Oregon is the gateway to the booming Willamette Valley, named the “2016 Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast and known especially for its pinot noir. And the 85-room boutique hotel that opened in 2007 has become the place to stay for luxury guests enjoying this wine country escape less than an hour southwest of Portland, Oregon. Despite that close proximity to its major feeder market, the resort has successfully shifted the mindset from the region being considered a day-trip destination into a place that guests could enjoy for days. Hoping to expand on the hotel’s growing credibility in the winemaking world, our client commissioned Roots to continue those efforts.

The Project

The 96-page, annually published Roots magazine first ran in 2014, and highlights the region, winemaking, and winemakers in three out of the four feature stories included in each edition. While we also profile things like the hotel’s 15,000-square-foot spa, acclaimed Jory restaurant, and $1 million art collection (featuring 500 pieces by Oregon artists), the focus of Roots is the region’s world of wine, and it serves as a strong destination marketing tool for the resort and advertisers – in fact, we sold out ad space in 2017. To make sure the magazine maintained its editorial feel and didn’t get taken over by ads, we guaranteed a certain ad-to-content ratio to the client. We’re happy to oblige, and our client is happy, too, as those ad dollars help increase the number of content pages we produce in each issue.

Our Take

To integrate print and digital efforts for their hotel marketing and speak to the client’s desire for user-generated content, we developed a cross-medium campaign built around the hashtag #mywillamettewinetime in the 2016 issue. We then created the print collateral to be used on property to encourage guests to share photos of a tasting with friends, a favorite bottle of wine, or a vineyard. More than 230 Instagram posts have included the hashtag since, and its use has expanded beyond the hotel, something that reinforces our client’s vision of being a part of the fabric of the region. To turn the magazine’s spotlight on the readers, we then came full circle, pulling the best photos to create a spread in the 2017 issue of the magazine.

Last Thought

More and more, reviews are a central part of any hotel’s marketing ecosystem. So how do you help garner positive ones? It’s all about making sure guests have great stays, and then helping them post reviews with friendly reminders when they’re leaving and after they’ve returned home. An in-room custom magazine that arms guests with ideas of what to do and connects them to the local culture is a great tool to that path to positive reviews for new business, and repeat bookings from those original guests as well.

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