The Kempinski Hotel in Prague opened its doors shortly after the financial crisis of 2008, which meant, of course, that it had a very difficult first eighteen months or so, running at less than 20% occupancy for most of that time. In the summer of 2010, however, a senior Kempinski General Manager was brought into crisis manage the situation and shortly after that Jo was asked if she would be able to help to put together an aggressive PR strategy for an initial three month period and help to run it through her agency. This was then extended to an annual, renewing contract, and only ended when the Kempinski hotel chain pulled out of the CR due to the building being sold.
Working closely with the General Manager, Peter Knoll, Jo devised a PR strategy that was built around the hotel’s main KSPs, which, at that point, were:
- The beautiful new garden that Peter had installed to replace the previous carpark – the idea behind this being two-fold, (i) this would be interesting to the locals, who had taken no notice of the hotel in the past, but would now get the opportunity to see it as they had to walk through it to get to the garden, and (ii) that the garden, in itself, could become (and did become) very popular as a venue for weddings, corporate events and product launches.
- The new and young chef, Marek Fichtner – at that time, he was completely unknown, having just arrived back in his native Czech Republic after working in the Middle East, but he was good looking and had an interesting CV as well as being a fantastic chef, and the local food and hospitality media, once they met him, loved him. Through the extensive media interest that was driven by the PR campaign for the hotel, Marek was asked to provide the business class menu for the Czech Airlines’ flights to the Middle East, featured in most of the mainstream media, and started to make a name for himself as a top chef – which shortly after the Kempinski closed down, was confirmed when he was asked to be one of the chef judges on Czech Masterchef.
- The art gallery that was installed in the open reception area – this provided another opportunity to bring locals to the hotel as well as being something very unique to market internationally (both from a sales point of view as well as in the international media) – soon the gallery was hosting regular vernissages, fashion shows and other events that proved extremely popular, as well as being featured in a lot of style magazines.
As a result of the above, and combined with very aggressive sales and marketing and, of course, a lot of in-house changes, the Kempinski Hotel soon became one of the top five hotels in Prague, regularly topping the chart on room occupancy, room rate and popularity.