Raffles Hotel: The Secret Society of the Gourmandise

February 3, 2010

Raffles registration page

The Raffles Hotel Wine Food & Arts Experience is an annual gourmet event featuring Michelin-Star chefs and a fine selection of wine.

But with the economy barely out of recession, it was going to be hard getting people to part with their cash for this luxury. Unless, of course… we made it “underground”.

To up Raffles Hotel’s air of exclusiveness and pique interest for this special event, we came up with a tongue-in-cheek campaign that Raffles Hotel would be able to use for years to come—The Secret Society of the Gourmandise.

The idea was to keep knowledge of this highly sought-after event away from the public eye as seats are limited, so that true gourmet lovers (also known as society members) would be informed first about this event.

A limited group on Raffles Hotel’s database were sent an email teaser, which lead to a landing webpage that allowed them to indicate their interest. Once identified, we sent them a very discreet package wrapped in brown paper and string.

Recipients were tickled to receive the package containing an invitation to be a member of the Secret Society Of The Gourmandise with an event programme booklet—all hidden inside an old hard cover book with a secret compartment.

Invitation package Invitation book

Thanks to press coverage and our DM campaign, we achieved a response rate of 25%, resulting in a 90% booking a month even before the event commenced. Considering that each seat costed up to S$688 and there were 800 seats to be filled, this is a superb achievement.

Recipients of the secret package were pleasantly surprised, with some saying they would keep the secret compartment book for their own use. It complemented Raffles Hotel’s image as a historical icon perfectly, and created fresh buzz for an established event.

Best of all, it showed that instead of doing mass mail drops, a more targeted approach can increase target accuracy and channel more resources into creating a fun and intriguing direct mailer.
But shhh… don’t tell our competitors that.

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