Red Carnation Hotels and Ashford Castle
Research, Strategy and Influencer marketing for SEO Value
Becoming an Extension of the in-house team to drive insight and experience into the heart of a project
Red Carnation Hotels is a collection of boutique family-owned properties in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, South Africa and the US. The group brought in Melt to create a content-driven campaign for one of the jewels in the RCH portfolio: Ashford Castle, an award-winning five-star hotel based in a 14th-century building in County Mayo, Ireland. Instead of setting KPIs, RCH challenged us to simply bring the Ashford Castle experience to life, using a combination of on-site content and creative outreach.
- Target affluent travellers in Europe and the United States
- Create content to contribute to overall SEO performance and PR equity
- Build engaging new landing pages for the Ashford Castle website
- Establishing Ashford Castle as the perfect place for a luxury Irish break
Bringing the castle to life through experiential moments
We started with search and social analysis to identify key areas of interest for the target audience. After picking up strong interest in fashion and sophisticated cocktails, we crafted a set of influencer campaigns designed to put a unique Ashford Castle spin on each themes and put the property in front of a new and receptive audience. Partnering with Seattle-based cocktail experts Beautiful Booze, we identified six evocative moments experienced by guests at Ashford Castle, and created six cocktails to perfectly accompany the occasion. We then worked with four prolific US-based fashion bloggers to create looks inspired by the spirit of Ashford Castle itself and by Ireland’s greatest fashion designers.
- Beautiful Booze: Re-experiencing a week in Ireland through creative cocktails
- To Be Bright: Look of the Irish | Ashford Castle
- Style Sprinter: Reinventing the hat
- The Wanderlust Girls: Take me to Ashford Castle
- Sam C. Perry: Lavender knit + white trousers
Paid and organic amplification
To amplify the campaigns we planned out paid social activity and a wider outreach program targeting blogs and publications in the luxury travel space. We used social research to identify users highly engaged in fashion and drinks topics, then used Facebook and Instagram’s targeting capabilities to put our campaign content in front of them.
Engaging on-site content
At the same time, we created new landing pages for the Ashford Castle website. Our Ultimate Team Retreats page highlights some of the unique team building activities available at Ashford Castle, grouping them into weekend themes. Our Ireland Events Calendar is a curated list of events taking place across Ireland throughout the year, tailored for Ashford Castle’s target audience. The listings cover everything from Celtic music festivals to national celebrations.
To promote the reopening of the castle in 2015 we created a campaign to celebrate the building’s 800-year history and its extensive restoration work through infographics and video. Distributed across social media, the restoration video achieved 86,000 views, 1,300 shares and 1,200 likes/comments on Facebook alone, boosting referral traffic by 340%.
The ongoing success of Ashford Castle has led to more collaboration with the Red Carnation brand and its collection of hotels. This has included providing more creative assets, such as infographics, animations and video to keep developing brand awareness and user engagement.