Bringing One of Hilton’s Newest Concepts to Life
Promoting an Authentic Tampa Experience under the Hilton Brand
In 2019, Sotherly Hotels launched its Tampa hotel, Hotel Alba, the latest addition to its Tapestry Collection of boutique hotels by Hilton, and their first hotel in Florida. What set Hotel Alba apart in the competitive market was its ability to provide local, authentic experiences mixed with the true southern hospitality expected from all Sotherly properties.
Introducing Hotel Alba to the Tampa Bay market, especially when presenting it as a hotel reflecting Tampa’s “vibrant spirit,” demanded strong public relations and social media support to not only amplify awareness in and out of the destination, but to also lend credibility and authenticity to the hotel’s brand. Aqua was awarded the contract to roll out the launch of the brand new Hotel Alba over several months. The roll out would culminate with a massive grand opening celebration to attract media attention. Aqua was chosen based on our experience with other hotel properties and our personal relationship with and appreciation for Tampa Bay culture.
We were tasked with generating positive, earned media in the local Tampa Bay market, and national markets of opportunity, by highlighting the many assets of Hotel Alba in order to increase overall awareness of and visitors to the hotel and its on-site restaurant, The Spaniard. Hotel Alba’s brand was built on the fact that it could deliver an experience leisure and business travelers would expect from a Hilton property while also creating an atmosphere that reflected the unique culture of Tampa Bay in an authentic way. Our team activated a layered approach of proactive media relations to heighten awareness by distributing tailored messaging surrounding the grand opening, hosting media on-site for secured digital, print, and broadcast coverage, and creating an engaging social competition among visiting social influencers to capitalize on their extended audience.
The result of our PR efforts exceeded all client expectations. Our PR team delivered an incredible $97,003+ in earned publicity, and an outstanding 15.5 million+ impressions. Because of our efforts, Hotel Alba was featured in more than 23 stories with target market outlets, such as Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay Business Journal, WFLA-TV Online, and That’s So Tampa. Over the course of four months (before the grand opening), we secured and hosted 28 media at Hotel Alba for a variety of brand-defining events. Plus, in order for media to experience the property firsthand, six individual media experiences were secured, and resulted in highly-visual print and online, and multi-page features on behalf of key media segments, including Accent on Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay METRO. Finally, the hotel benefited greatly from a combined 11 minutes of prime-time placements on popular shows, including WFLA-AM’s PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman, FOX 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay, WTSP-TV’s 10 News This Morning, WFLA-TV, and Great 38 (WTTA).