For years, Countdown to Christmas viewers have dreamed of living inside a Hallmark Channel holiday movie. During the 2021 holiday season, the Brand Publicity team behind Club Wyndham partnered with Hallmark Channel to turn that dream into a reality with three, custom designed suites at Club Wyndham’s timeshare resorts in New York City, Nashville, and Vail, Colorado.
As part of the PR activation and campaign, Christmas-lovers could select their getaway destination based on three themes inspired by the picturesque backdrops of Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas movie lineup: Classic Hallmark Channel Christmas at Club Wyndham Midtown 45, Snowy Mountain Christmas at Club Wyndham Resort at Avon (Vail), and Country Christmas at Club Wyndham Nashville. Featuring all the amenities Club Wyndham is known for, such as fully equipped kitchens for cookie making and separate living and dining spaces adorned with festive décor, the suites also included special touches like ornament crafting and hot cocoa stations, gingerbread house kits, wrapped presents under Christmas trees and, of course, a Hallmark Channel holiday movie collection (popcorn and candy included) for the ultimate binge-watching session.
Club Wyndham’s Brand Publicity team had four goals for this campaign. The first, to build awareness for Club Wyndham through a multi-channel partnership with Hallmark’s Crown Media surrounding an unmistakable Hallmark entity: the holiday season. Second, to create a tangible experience for Hallmark Channel fans and Club Wyndham owners to interact with the brand through on-property extensions of their favorite Hallmark Christmas movies. Third, to secure earned media coverage through opportunities to leverage celebrity/talent partners during campaign launch. And lastly, to extend the benefits of being “In the Club” and establish Club Wyndham as a hospitality leader in engaging partnerships.
In retrospect, the promotion was a record-breaking success for Club Wyndham on all fronts. Leveraging the power of the Hallmark brand and the holidays, consumers and media alike were smitten with the decked-out suites. This was made possible through a selection of owned video and photo content, including behind-the-scenes footage, 360-degree images and interviews – all of which told the story of the suites’ magical transformation.
To kick off the campaign, Club Wyndham’s PR team secured an interview for Hallmark star, Holly Robinson Peete, on the TODAY Show (considered the golden goose of consumer media) on Oct. 18, during which she announced the holiday suites while promoting her new movie. The brand was not only mentioned, but TODAY Host Jill Martin used the term “timeshare” in a positive light, highlighting footage of the extravagant suites. This is particularly significant given that the concept of timeshare virtually never received positive media coverage as recently as a few years ago. Thus, this campaign and resulting coverage demonstrates how Club Wyndham is helping change that narrative with activations like this one. In total, the TODAY segment resulted in 40 seconds of earned airtime – an integration value of $400K.
Following the exclusive announcement, Club Wyndham pitched the activation to consumer outlets far and wide. On Nov. 1, the suites went on sale to the public and sold out within seven hours. In total, the campaign garnered a staggering 180 stories in top consumer outlets such as People, E! News, US Weekly, and Good Housekeeping for a total reach of 4B impressions. All resulting media coverage was positive in sentiment, and nearly all was feature coverage. Total social reach across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram was 850K – driven by posts from high-profile accounts, including Holly Robinson Peete and influencer Stroller in the City, which were all a direct result of media coverage and Club Wyndham’s carefully-curated content for each suite. One hundred percent of stories included key brand messages and spoke about timeshare or vacation club, a key metric of success for the campaign.
Within the first two hours of the TODAY segment, Club Wyndham’s web team saw first-time visitors to ClubWyndham.com increase by 20%, and single-day traffic to the site was the highest in the company’s history. Since launch, the website has seen a 15.42% overall lift in new users and a 5.71% overall lift in sessions. The Hallmark Suites landing page received more than 105K page views, with nearly 90% of these viewers being first-time visitors to ClubWyndham.com.
During the seven hours the suites were on sale, there were 42 reservations, equaling 110 room nights. These bookings generated nearly $50K in revenue, with an average daily rate of $400 – a historic high for the company. Comparing consumer awareness of the holiday suites to competitors’ Q4 PR campaigns, Club Wyndham surpassed Airbnb’s ‘Sex and the City’ apartment and was on-par with the launch of Disney’s Star Wars hotel, demonstrating the campaign’s long-term impact on the brand and business beyond driving media placements and bookings. With a final campaign budget of $250K, the overall return on investment for Club Wyndham is undeniable when you consider these results.