LCI faced a number of challenges with the opening of Kimpton Hotel’s Argonaut Hotel at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Leisure and business travel was still off in 2003 and the hotel had already faced an opening delay due to a fire. LCI was also faced with communicating a complex message about the public/ private partnership between Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and the National Park Service.
Despite the environment, LCI developed three different strategies that targeted leisure travelers, meetings and groups and business and local media. Pitch letters, press materials and packages were developed for each target audience, highlighting relevant messages and offerings.
The grand opening ceremony strategy included targeted pitches to local and business media and the creation of a grand opening event that highlighted the unique public/private partnership between Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and the National Park Service. LCI leveraged the opening of the adjacent Maritime National Historical Park’s Visitor Center as well. Numerous local dignitaries, including San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, attended.
LCI also developed a press trip on the theme of the “revitalization of the world’s most famous waterfront.” A dozen journalists attended, including media representatives from the Wall Street Journal, Business Traveller, Business Travel News, Cleveland News Herald, LA Family Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and Diablo magazine.
Media from national, regional and local markets attended the grand opening and press trip. Additional media have stayed at the hotel on other dates, resulting in interest from hundreds of media targets. The Argonaut Hotel has been featured in Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Geographic Traveler, Sacramento Bee, Chicago Tribune, Arizona Republic, Meetings West, American Way, Southwest Spirit, Meeting News, Hotel Business, Travel Weekly, Rudy Maxa’s Traveler, KABL – AM, Smart Meetings, San Francisco Chronicle, all local TV stations and many more. The media placements have helped drive leisure and group business to the hotel and have brought many locals into the hotel and visitor center, exceeding sales goals during the opening months.