Jo’s agency JWA Prague was responsible for the launch of the Augustine Hotel in Prague in 2005, when it was designed for and operated by the Rocco Forte Hotel Group. This was a major event, attended by the then Prime Minister, Miroslav Topolanek, and the owner of the Rocco Forte Hotel Group, Sir Rocco Forte. At that time, the hotel pretty much marketed itself and any support was offered by the group marketing department in London, so once the launch was over, JWA was no longer required.
Fast forward to winter of 2009-2010, when the combination of the worldwide economic crisis from 2008, and the entry to the Czech market of many competitors to the Augustine, and the hotel found itself in some trouble, with a new General Manager brought in to bring it back to its leading position on the market.
The owner of the building, who was a close friend of Sir Rocco, asked Jo whether she would be able to get involved with the re-launch of, and the marketing strategy for, the hotel, ideally in the role of ‘acting marketing director’, but at that time she was already involved with the Kempinski. Having discussed the situation with both GMs, it was agreed that Jo, herself, could easily work with the Augustine, as her role would be very different to the one she held with the Kempinski (which was focused on PR and under the agency umbrella), whilst for the Augustine the work would require her own marketing know-how.
So began a six-month project which required a full-range of marketing services, including:
- Planning an aggressive marketing campaign to completely re-position the hotel on the market – it was clear that the hotel was not very well-known amongst the local community (which it needed to be in view of the many restaurants and conference facilities that needed to be filled), partly as it had never really marketed itself locally, and partly as it is not at all visible as it has a slightly awkward position that makes it difficult to find and to access, and was restricted by local heritage rules from any form of advertising outside.
- Managing budgets, which were very tight in view of the difficult position that it was in at the time
- The re-launch of the restaurant and spa under a new brand and design, involving new marketing materials (website, brochure, menus, etc) and publicity to announce the re-opening as well as a re-opening event
- The setting up of new social media pages for the hotel, restaurant and spa
- Local partnerships – agreeing barters with media, trade and business associations in order to bring people to the hotel for events, and to use the conference rooms and restaurants
- Sales training for the whole team (through outsourcing to an experienced hotel sales trainer)
- General marketing consultancy
Within just a couple of months the figures started to improve but sadly within the six month contract the Rocco Forte pulled out and a new managing company was brought in, together with a whole new team.