Amidst a Global Pandemic, Dittoe Public Relations Secures 637 Million Media Impressions, Drives Traffic for Opening of Bottleworks District

The Challenge

For years, Geronimo Hospitality Group has been recognized throughout greater Indianapolis for its historic, upscale boutique properties. After working together for multiple public relations initiatives for six years, Geronimo Hospitality Group chose to again partner with Dittoe Public Relations to support the pre-opening and launch of Bottleworks District, a $300 million, 12-acre urban mixed-use development that reimagines the iconic Coca-Cola bottling plant in downtown Indianapolis. It was a PR team’s dream to support the opening of such a highly-anticipated project that would transform a major downtown neighborhood.

Bottleworks District was on track to open in fall 2020, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, construction was delayed, prospective tenants were apprehensive to sign on, and the narrative for the hospitality industry completely changed.

Our Solution

Like with many businesses, Dittoe PR had to pivot our PR strategy to keep Geronimo Hospitality Group in the news and continue the enthusiasm for the opening of Bottleworks. The project consisted of the boutique Bottleworks Hotel; the city’s first food hall, The Garage Food Hall; entertainment such as Living Room Theaters and Pins Mechanical; office space with early occupants like venture studio High Alpha; and more.

Rather than continuing our original plan of writing and sharing press releases about new tenants confirmed to join Bottleworks and the progress of the development, we shifted to focus on thought leadership opportunities for C-level executives at Geronimo Hospitality Group that shared best practices for the hospitality industry amidst the global health crisis.

As hotels and the hospitality industry worldwide closed down, Geronimo Hospitality Group carried on cautiously toward the completion of Bottleworks District in the winter. Bottleworks Hotel opened in December 2020, and The Garage opened in January 2021. Opening a lodging, dining and entertainment hub in the middle of the pandemic, particularly when coronavirus cases had spiked in the colder winter months, was risky and potentially problematic. By implementing and publicizing capacity limitations, social distancing guidelines and mask mandates, Bottleworks District and Dittoe PR’s collaboration on the grand opening was ultimately a success.

Results

The District and Dittoe PR hosted local journalists in an open house setup for both Bottleworks Hotel and The Garage upon each property’s grand opening. Our initial target audience was local media to get the community excited and interested in safely enjoying Bottleworks. Every local media outlet, ranging from broadcast to radio and print, attended at least one of the two open houses. Combined, Bottleworks District received over 100 pieces of positive grand opening coverage in just two months with local media alone.

Eventually, our strategy expanded to include select regional outreach to target regional travelers who visit Indianapolis frequently. We also informed hospitality and restaurant trade media of the epic hotel and food hall openings that have now caught the attention of The New York Times, Forbes, Condé Nast Traveler and more.

Nearly four months post-opening, Bottleworks District remains the talk of the town. In 2021, Bottleworks’ coverage has resulted in:

  • Over 300 placements in local, regional, trade and national media
  • 637 million media impressions (excluding Bottleworks Hotel grand opening media coverage since the hotel opened in 2020)

While capacity, social distancing and mask restrictions remain in place, the site sees steady foot traffic and new tenants continue to sign contracts to join the fun. Together, Dittoe PR and the Bottleworks team weathered the storm of opening a gigantic hospitality development safely in the thick of the global pandemic, cultivating a one-of-a-kind experience that fills our city with joy and pride.

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