Project Profile: Benchmark Digital Meetings Guides

Have a need to drive more corporate groups to your hotel or venue? So did Benchmark. We brought their meeting offerings to life with content marketing.

Benchmark Hospitality, a Hawthorn client since 2011, manages 41 resorts and hotels that span the globe. Our relationship with them started with Mosaic, an annual in-room magazine full of stories about Benchmark destinations. A couple of years ago, happy with the results of Mosaic, Benchmark expanded their digital marketing efforts with us by tapping our content marketing team to create online guides for each of their hotels. These “Wanderlust Guides” (see an example) give leisure guests a full lay of the land of the hotel and destination through four pieces of content, such as “Flavor Of” (can’t-miss food and drink spots) and “The Weekender” (how to spend 36 hours in the destination), and were a key component of the campaign that landed Benchmark the 2017 INDIE Award for “Best Digital Marketing Campaign.” But corporate groups have long been a central part of their business, so that became the next frontier for our content marketing work with this client.

The Project

Benchmark came to us and said that they wanted “Wanderlust, but for meetings” for each of their properties. While the Wanderlust Guides content is a little more angled, the new meetings guides were to be more informational and straightforward, yet still employing the same editorial reporting and writing skills we use in all of our content marketing projects. Each Meetings Guide has five sections: Team-building (activities offered through the resort or with local businesses, like escape rooms), Culinary (mixology classes to menus), Off-site (local venues great for groups), Amenities (the most novel on-site offerings from an on-property water park to private demo kitchen), and Themed Events (top ideas from the hotel planners for corporate planners to consider.) When looked at collectively, these sections of their hotel’s websites now bring to life their meetings offerings in a way that only an in-person meeting with a client could previously deliver, plus the added benefit of digital data and distribution power.

Our Take

Talking to leisure travelers via content marketing is something we’ve done for many clients (including Benchmark) – here, we took that approach to address a common pain point for hotels: “how do I bring more corporate groups?” Content marketing doesn’t have to be just for the leisure traveler. With a foundational content marketing strategy like Benchmark’s meetings guides, they’re able to drive attention via their social media and email marketing efforts and more effectively convert leads into customers.

Last Thought

At its core, content marketing follows a similar formula: match a client’s marketing goals with what is most interesting and engaging to the primary audience so it’s something they can authentically value. But done right, no two content marketing strategies will look the same. They may have the same broad objective (ex: “drive repeat leisure guests,” “reach top-of-funnel corporate event planners”), but the end solution, and what we call “content marketing ecosystem,” will always be driven by your unique needs. So in this case, developing a content marketing solution that would drive more corporate groups and meetings business may look very different than what we built for Benchmark.

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