Reclaiming “Icon” status through “historic” positioning

SITUATION: The Savery Hotel had a very rich history, and had been restored to grandeur, but had long since fallen out of favor in the community. It was ranked #7 of 7 among downtown competitors, and that was after completion of a major renovation.

PROBLEM: The hotel had been closed for two years for renovation. Prior to that, the service levels and facility were sub-standard in the market. As a result, it no longer made the consideration set for business travelers, meeting groups or catered affairs. The hotel was simply not on anyone’s radar.

AUDIENCE INSIGHT: The Hotel Savery’s background included a significant contribution to American history. Among its contributions to history, the hotel was the original induction center, training center and barracks for the WWII Women’s Army Corps (WAC). This facet would garner significant awareness and attraction.

STRATEGY: Stake a claim in American history as the “Birthplace of the WAC’s” and the epicenter of history in Des Moines. Get off the hotel ladder and reposition the property as the only historic boutique in the market… to create both preference and premium rate value.

ACTION: Create credibility through staged programming, events and celebrations that recreate Des Moines’ history that occurred at The Hotel Savery. Utilize public relations editorial to maximize reach and frequency with “news” of happenings. Transform the entire stay experience by recreation of period-era culture, service standards, language, uniforming, dining and lounge concepts, communication packaging, etc.

RESULTS: In just under twelve months, the property’s rank increased from #7 to #2. Awareness achieved maximum levels in the region. The hotel was first preference among three most important segments… corporate transient, corporate group and leisure transient.