A Europe-wide PR strategy for one of the world’s leading luxury hotel brands

As the European lead PR agency for the Langham Hospitality Group, it was up to us to build their presence in a new market. The results speak for themselves.

The Langham Hospitality Group’s flagship hotel opened in London, in 1865. Since then, the Group has upheld an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional experiences, rooted in British traditions.

Over the course of more than 150 years, The Langham Hospitality Group pursued an extremely successful global expansion – establishing resorts and hotels in the USA, Australia, and China. After becoming a prominent member of the luxury hotel market in Asia and Southeast Asia, The Langham Hospitality Group sought to expand westward once more; and appointed Lemongrass Marketing as their European PR lead, to design and execute their European PR strategy.

Find out how we oversaw their European expansion PR campaigns – and consistently kept them in the public eye, even during COVID.

Highlights

UK Coverage Highlights: 74 pieces of coverage, 479 million reach

— Condé Nast Traveller, SLEEPER, TTG Luxury, Country & Town House, Business Traveller, Hotel Designs

— Influencer partnership with Zoe Sugg (AKA Zoella)

— TV appearances on Sky News and ITV Loose Women

— CEO profiles and speaking opportunities

DACH Coverage Highlights: 129 pieces of coverage, 49 million reach

— Hospitality Inside, Hotelier, First Class Connoisseur, HogaPage, LUXE, top Magazin, GG, Falstaff Travel, LuxusInsider

— CEO profiles and speaking opportunities

The challenge

Our primary mission was to communicate The Langham Hospitality Group’s European expansion. The luxury hotel group was already widely known in Asia, but remained something of a hidden gem in Europe.

Establishing them front and centre amongst European consumers was the focus – and all of this in the midst of the biggest crisis the travel industry had ever seen: COVID.

The challenge was set. It was time to get into action – and we didn’t hold back.

How we did it

We created a select group; our Langham Hospitality Group Confidantes – the key travel writers and lifestyle editors who hold powerful influence within our markets.

Building meaningful relationships takes time, and we value the journalists and writers we work with. We wanted to do more for them than just give out freebies and expect coverage – so we offered exclusive stories and tailored experiences.

We helped them feel like a private member of The Langham Hospitality Group, giving them the first call for key announcements. They would receive personalised gifts, and we created one-off experiences with The Langham Hospitality Group, tailored to their preferences.

Our key contacts also got exclusive invitations to first look events, as well as reviews for new openings and post-refurbishment unveilings.

Positioning Stefan Leser, the Group CEO at the time, as The Langham Hospitality Group’s key spokesperson gave us a credible, go-to contact for media commentary.

This relationship building element became a foundational pillar of our PR strategy – but our active role would continue across channels beyond the travel press.

Public awareness and TV exposure

We proactively pitched to the media, always thinking of angles for newsjacking opportunities. And we landed two TV slots with major broadcasters on flagship shows.

After over a year of uncertainty and COVID restrictions, UK hospitality was set to reopen on 17th May 2021 – and we were developing our pitches as the date drew closer. We positioned The Langham, London to give expert comment on the UK hospitality sector reopening.

We knew we had to pitch our ideas for The Langham, London at least two weeks in advance, and our proactive approach secured a Sky News appearance on 17th May – the day that restrictions were lifted.

We also set up an ITV competition for Loose Women, filmed on 21st May, for additional exposure.

The Langham giveaway

We’d landed incredible public exposure, and had a steady stream of exclusives thanks to the relationships we’d built with our Langham Hospitality Group Confidantes. There were just a couple of elements left to create a perfect storm of awareness across our target markets.

Trade press: spotlight on the CEO

We positioned CEO Stefan Leser as the visionary thought leader at the helm of Langham Hospitality Group, with ambitious expansion plans for the brand.

Using a multi-platform approach to tell the brand story, we secured features and profiles on Stefan in trade titles in the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France such as The Caterer, TTG Luxury, TRVL Counter, Connoisseur Circle and LuxusInsider.

We also secured interviews, podcast appearances, as well as webinar and panel opportunities for Stefan, who represented the brand as an ambitious player in the luxury hotel segment.

Bringing it back home – to The Langham, London

A big part of the Group’s focus was on The Langham, London; the original, flagship hotel.

The UK’s domestic travel market was the first to open back up after lockdown in 2021 – and it was extremely important to put the property in the minds of the UK media, especially with new openings anticipated to launch in the city.

With the hashtag #celebratetheeveryday, we explored the celebrations and milestones that were missed during lockdown. We concentrated on the USPs of The Langham, London – and crafted packages for calendar events that had been cancelled thanks to the pandemic: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Easter.

The Langham, London was already known and positioned as the city’s number one choice for luxury celebrations, and the campaign naturally extended from their offering. The social campaign was highly engaging, with worldwide appeal – and prompted a showstopping influencer partnership.

Influencer partnership with Zoella to reach a younger audience

Zoella, AKA Zoe Sugg, is one of the UK’s most prominent YouTubers and Instagrammers. Her YouTube Channel has 4.93 million subscribers, and her Instagram followers and reach are in the millions. She’s a key influencer among a younger demographic, which the Langham Hospitality Group was keen to tap into.

We invited Zoe to stay at The Langham, London for two nights as a way for her to #celebratetheeveryday; because Zoe was pregnant at the time, we pitched a pre-baby staycation to Zoe’s agent, to celebrate her last holiday before the baby arrived.

Zoe Sugg at the Langham

We were lucky to get feedback quickly – but Zoe’s agent couldn’t guarantee any coverage and said Zoe only posts when she really enjoys something. The Langham, London team pulled out all the stops to make it an unforgettable stay for her, and Zoe posted two YouTube videos during her stay, which have collectively racked up 1.32 million views. She also created an Instagram post which was viewed over 300,000 times.

Zoe Sugg - feedback

The results

We secured eight press trips in total, covering the Langham, London and the Nymphenburg Residence in Munich – in top-tier titles like CN Traveller, Tatler, and the Telegraph Luxury Travel Magazine.

Our European partnership with Schaffelhuber Communications yielded strong results, too – securing three press trips and multiple trade media appearances.

With two TV appearances reaching an estimated 28.4 million viewers, a pan-European trade press campaign and an influencer partnership that reached millions, the Langham Hospitality Group had one of its most important years in PR.

Not only did they weather lockdowns and COVID restrictions, they began to reach new, engaged audiences – in new territories.

Powerful PR strategies for travel brands

Lemongrass is a specialist PR, Digital PR and Content marketing agency for travel brands. Our expertise gave the Langham Hospitality Group one of its strongest PR efforts in its 150-year history. We could do the same for you.

Let’s start a project. Call +44 (0)1865 237 990 or email mirjam@lemongrassmarketing.com.