The Galgorm Collection consists of the Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort, The Rabbit Hotel, Fratelli Restaurant, and Cafe Parisian.
The history of The Galgorm is very impressive.
The house was purchased by John Young in the early 1845
John’s son, William, demolished the house and rebuilt it in 1857 as it stands now, along with two gate lodges
The Hill family purchased the property in 1991
1991 – Galgorm Manor Hotel was 23 guestrooms,
2006 - Became 75 guestrooms and rebranded to Galgorm Resort & Spa from Galgorm Manor.
2014 – Fratelli Belfast opened
2015 – A £11m investment that saw the unveiling of the Thermal Spa Village, the first of its kind in Ireland. Additional 48 Deluxe guestrooms and Suites
2019 – Rebranded to Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort
2019 – Additional 17 Cottage Suites
2020 – Unveiled £2m investment dramatically enhanced Thermal Spa Village provision
2020 – First phase of The Rabbit Hotel, Templepatrick opened (bar & restaurant)
2021 – Bedrooms & Spa at The Rabbit Hotel due to open soon
Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, in short - Was originally 23 guest rooms in 1991 and has now grew to 125 guestrooms, 17 cottages, 6 log cabins and 2 private residencies – Charles Lanyon Gate Lodge and Red Oaks Residence.
On the podcast, Catherine McKernan, Victoria Brown, and Leigh Heggarty speak about their roles and the extensive marketing activity of the team and how it takes all the wheels spinning to make the Collection the huge success it is today.
Predominantly involved in supporting the wider marketing team. Also involved in development of the Galgorm collection app and the recently developed Shopify Store. Assisting the team with content creation and supporting the team in overall marketing activities.
Business Development Manager looking after international markets from North America to Middle East. Use trade platforms with Tourism Ni etc to promote Galgorm and Northern Ireland.
Marketing manager - looking at the strategy long term and making plans for the next 5 years and looking at developments that are coming up. Supporting the rest of the team.
How as your job changed Leigh?
Previously would have been travelling to different countries to promote the collection. Life has now gone virtual. Still need to keep in contact with clients and keep promoting the product. Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland provide some great trade platforms virtually.
Golf Resort has now been added to the title and this has been very lucrative for the hotel as they now have more credibility in that market. Hosted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open which was fantastic for the hotel and lots more opportunities ahead. 2021 will be the year of the staycation but Galgorm's vision is still to create an internationally recognised destination. Clients have not cancelled business they have postponed it so the want and need to travel is still there and Galgorm will be ready to welcome back their international clients.
How has the marketing strategy changed over the past year Catherine?
At the beginning there was a general uncertainty about how long the closures would last.
The team had to stop, reevaluate and over haul the current strategy.
The team focused on finding out about the customer sentiment at the time and communication was key from the beginning. A survey was sent out to the email list asking how they were feeling and then a project/document was launched on the hygiene commitment which evolved into a video production about the new customer journey when they returned. This was an opportunity to reassure the customer.
The hotel re-opened with a campaign called - Your safe haven - which helped welcome the customers back and focused on the staycation market while still keeping the brand awareness campaign going for the international travel which will return.
Development of a Galgorm Collection App took place during this time, which is a one stop shop for all the properties. The previous customer touch points were removed therefore all the information is now housed on this app.
Expansion to the thermal spa village with a 2million investment. Now has a vitality pool and a botanical inspired building within the spa.
Video content definitely is the most effective when encouraging sales however an overall package of amazing content is what people want to see.
Victoria, what type of influencer marketing does the Collection implement?
The Collection has been working with influencers since 2015. It has been such an important channel. The Galgorm customer is mostly under 45 therefore social media influencers can reach that customer very effectively.
It's a whole channel approach with influencers as part of that. They are key to increasing brand awareness and feeding the Galgorm message in an authentic way. Galgorm often uses a PR company to identify the influencer that is right for the brand however the hotel has to have a connection with the person. Research the influencer and have very clear communication with the influencer.
Inside information on "The Rabbit" Hotel.
Formerly called Templeton Hotel.
The hotel was launched in 2020 and it has been challenging but it is now known as the sassy little sister of The Galgorm.
The name has came from the design and interiors of the new layout. The second phase will be launched when restrictions lift.
Bravery, determination and agility has been required but its all been worth it and there's an exciting time ahead.
Words of advice for business owners facing uncertainity.
Communication, authenticity and humanity is so important as well as staying in touch with your audience.
Networking and building relationships is even more important than ever. Don't sit still and keep evolving. Stay optimistic, be resilient, be competitive and work as a team.
Gather together with your industry and share your insights and experiences. Review past practices and make changes to align with the staycation market.
Don't give up. Evaluate and make changes quickly so you can embrace a new way.
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