The Huron House Bed and Breakfast in Oscoda, Michigan, was packed during the summer but seeking to boost occupancy during the cooler months and land media attention for its prime lakeside location.
After our staple all-inclusive brainstorming session and creating various media assets (fact sheets, custom media calendar, media map, targeted media contacts' list, obtaining photos to accompany the piece, creating on-the-go photo libraries, etc.), we were struck by the many birding festivals in the region. Surely, birders would want to stay at a property that sits within the Huron National Forest – which itself is known to feature more than 400 bird species.
Upon further research, we learned White Owls are hard to see and yet multiple species have been spotted in and near Oscoda. Naturally, our next move was to contact the Michigan Audubon Society. We were overjoyed to learn they had an adopt an owl program (including the adoption of a White Owl!) where you symbolically become an instant “parent” so-to-speak.
After several phone calls and emails, we were able to team up with the Michigan Audubon Society and create the What a Hoot package for guests of the Huron House. This meant guests could stay at the B&B and adopt their very own owl -- complete with certificate, photograph, and a guarantee that they'd be notified if their bird is ever recaptured. As a souvenir, the innkeeper purchased plush owls with a custom bandanas that read: Had a Hoot at Huron House. The little guys made a big impression.
The story quickly garnered attention from press and many bird watching groups. After a couple of months, we moved away from this to pursue other storylines for Huron House. Fast forward several years later and The New York Times called us about an outdated press release asking if the owl adoption getaway was still happening. Yes, we said – as we scrambled. It took us mere minutes to collect the media assets and make the package “live” again.
Al Heminger talks about the What a Hoot bird-watching getaway LIVE on ABC-12 News (link no longer available)
The Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast in Salisbury Mills, New York, already had a growing clientele, great blogging, and a strong social media presence. Next the innkeepers wanted a way to reach regional guests for repeat reservations year after year.
After our tried-and-true all-inclusive brainstorming session and creating various media assets (fact sheets, custom media calendar, media map, targeted media contacts' list, obtaining photos to accompany the piece, creating on-the-go photo libraries, etc.), we were struck by the innkeeper's love of baking. In fact, we learned she was slowly working her way to a cookbook. We discovered the B&B's location to be ideal. It's just an hour north from New York City and accessible even without a car. It's also near many sprawling country farms (one would need a car to visit the farms). It's the perfect intersection of where town meets country. And come foliage season, it's glorious.
We decided to start our story in the kitchen. Surprisingly, it's now more than 5-years later and that's where this particular storyline remains. Among the usual chopping and delectable baking -- pie on the pillow, a creative turndown service -- went from a morsel of an idea to fully baked.
The innkeepers host Pie on the Pillow each September. It's a crowd favorite and rooms tend to book far in advance. There's a "sweet dreams" pie calendar that coincides. All ingredients are sourced locally, mostly from the many local farms. Some guests request their pie at check in, then circle round the kitchen in the evening to see if there are any left overs. Sometimes they get lucky. Other times the innkeepers smile and say: tomorrow. Below is a sampling of the media placements that resulted.