Project Description

Headquartered in Beloit, Wisconsin, Geronimo Hospitality Group owns and operates seven restaurants (Velvet Buffalo Cafe, I.d., Blue Collar Coffee, truk’t, Lucy’s #7 Burger Bar, Merrill & Houston’s and Bessie’s Diner), four hotels (Hotel Goodwin, The Delafield Hotel, Ironworks Hotel Beloit and Ironworks Hotel Indy), two golf facilities (Beloit Club and Ironworks Golf Lab), two fitness centers (Bark River CrossFit and be FITNESS), and one event center (Eclipse Center). Geronimo is also behind Bottleworks District, a $300 million, 12-acre urban mixed-use development that will reimagine the iconic Coca-Cola building in downtown Indianapolis. The properties are located between Beloit, Delafield and Janesville in Wisconsin and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dittoe PR first began working with Geronimo in spring 2017 to promote the grand opening of Ironworks Hotel Indy. Dittoe PR was tasked with developing and executing a strategic PR plan that included local, trade and national media relations, local influencer relations, thought leadership campaigns and full social media management of Ironworks Hotel Indy’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. Following an extremely successful grand opening in October 2017, the Dittoe PR team continued overseeing media relations, influencer relations, social media and thought leadership efforts for Ironworks Hotel Indy through the end of 2018. In 2018 alone, Dittoe PR secured 183 pieces of media coverage, resulting in more than 111 million impressions and an ad value of more than $1.1 million.

Geronimo loved the brand awareness and business opportunities Dittoe PR’s efforts were creating for its

Indianapolis hotel and wondered if the team could generate similar results for its properties in Wisconsin. So, in January 2019, Geronimo expanded its partnership with Dittoe PR to support PR efforts for all 16 of its properties in Wisconsin.

The Challenge

Geronimo wanted their Wisconsin properties to be as successful as Ironworks Hotel Indy, but the rest of their properties reside in cities much, much smaller than Indianapolis. If you’re not from Beloit, Delafield, or Janesville, you might not realize what these Wisconsin cities have to offer. In fact, in the past, Beloit has been included in national lists of the worst cities to live. But the team behind Geronimo Hospitality Group has been hard at work for years to change that. Geronimo has intentionally developed these cities to deliver original, contemporary brands that provide memorable experiences to local residents and tourists who visit for business or pleasure.

These Wisconsin cities are also smaller media markets and securing consistent, quality media coverage can be difficult. Larger Milwaukee and Madison television stations and print and online media outlets sometimes cover the cities, but sometimes they are a hard sell because of the distance.

So how does Geronimo tell the story of its unique properties outside of its own small city?

Our Solution

Dittoe PR worked closely with the Geronimo team to prioritize and identify 10 businesses to focus on for 2019 PR efforts. Our goal was to generate media and social influencer coverage that would lead to increased brand awareness as well as more foot traffic to the following Geronimo Hospitality Group properties: I.d., Velvet Buffalo, truk’t, Hotel Goodwin, Delafield Hotel, Beloit Club, Ironworks Golf Lab, Bark River CrossFit and be FITNESS.

Media Relations

Dittoe PR worked closely with Geronimo’s account specialists and each property’s general managers to ensure we stayed ahead of all upcoming events hosted by each property as well as seasonal happenings and holidays we could leverage to secure ongoing, consistent media opportunities for the properties. This included monthly calls (and often more) with Geronimo’s executive team.

Dittoe PR proactively pitched multiple story angles on a weekly basis to TV, print and digital media in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin; Rockford, Illinois; and hyperlocal outlets in Beloit, Delafield and Janesville, Wisconsin. Dittoe PR also identified and secured national and trade media opportunities for Geronimo on an ongoing basis.

Some of the top media hits in 2019 included:

  • Chicago Tribune
  • PGA Magazine
  • POPSUGAR
  • Milwaukee Business Journal
  • Madison Magazine
  • FOX6 Milwaukee
  • Hotel News Now
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Dittoe PR also identified award opportunities for Geronimo and handled the entire award nomination process. This included local “Best Of” list opportunities, regional awards, hospitality trade awards, as well as various “Best Places to Work” awards.

In 2019, Dittoe PR secured 300 pieces of media coverage, resulting in more than 294 million impressions  and more than $2.9 million in total ad value. In contrast – in 2018, before Dittoe PR began working with the properties – they received less than 20 pieces of media coverage. That’s a more than 190% increase year over year.

Influencer Relations

In addition to traditional media relations, Dittoe PR worked with local and regional social media influencers to further build brand awareness for Gernomino and its Wisconsin properties.

Dittoe PR identified social influencers in local and regional cities, including Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago. When selecting influencers, Dittoe PR researched their following, engagement, rates, how often they travel, the types of brands they’ve worked with in the past and more. Dittoe PR handled all influencer outreach and developed guidelines and terms influencers must agree to before partnering with Geronimo. In addition to research, outreach and coordination, Dittoe PR planned the entire “Geronimo experience” for influencers, which typically included a complimentary weekend stay in one of their hotel suites in both cities as well as complimentary meals at their Instagrammable local restaurants and fun activities at the gym and golf properties.

Results

In 2019, Dittoe PR worked with 12 influencers to help spread the word about Geronimo’s hotels, restaurants and fitness centers in Wisconsin. A few of the influencers Dittoe PR worked with include Blake Gifford of the Greater Chicago area, Food+Drink Milwaukee and Zak Gruber, a visual artist based in Milwaukee.

Through these partnerships, Dittoe PR has helped the properties reach an estimated 337 million total followers across all influencers and generated hundreds of Instagram Stories and timeline posts  tagging each hotel, restaurant or fitness center, which are in turn leveraged on property social media accounts and in marketing materials.