Combermere Abbey is a luxury estate based in the heart of the countryside on the Cheshire and Shropshire border. As well as being a prolific luxury wedding venue, the historic building has also hosted a number of celebrity marriages and visits through its 10 self-catering, dog-friendly cottages and two high-quality B&B suites in the North Wing.
When the UK went into a national lockdown in March 2020, Combermere Abbey’s business was forced to close. Weddings were not allowed to continue, nor were overnight stays permitted. This meant that Source PR went into crisis communications mode and was tasked with keeping the momentum high for Combermere Abbey, inspiring people to visit as soon as circumstances would allow them to do so.
The team continued with full social media activity throughout lockdown, knowing it was important to retain consistent communications even in a period of total closure. We also focused activities on writing SEO-optimised blogs to get Combermere Abbey appearing in organic search terms relevant to their business and opening them up to new a new customer base.
- Creating blog posts that utilised non-brand-specific keywords such as “staycations” to ensure that Combermere Abbey was in a favourable position post-lockdown. We used tools such as Google trends to identify fast-moving terms.
- Retaining social media communications at a usual level and keeping the tone of voice positive and uplifting, to keep followers motivated and ensure Combermere Abbey was in the forefront of their minds for post-lockdown getaways.
- Communicating to customers through newsletters and other long-form content to keep in touch with the existing customer base, whilst also recognising the importance of attracting a new one too.
- Maintaining a degree of PR outreach and press activity, be it responding to round up enquiries or issuing news releases.
- Ended 2020 with Combermere Abbey scooping up the PetsPjyamas award for most “Charming Canine Cottage” and the Tourism & Hospitality award in the Cheshire Life Keep Life Local Awards 2020 in which owner Sarah Callander Beckett said was thanks at least in part to “keeping their social media and PR campaign.”
- In the 3-week lifting of lockdown, Combermere Abbey received a total of 92 bookings. With the price of an average stay being taken into account, this works out as around 3644.2% return on investment on the client’s PR campaign spend for that period.
- #1 rankings on Google for key organic search terms such as “Cheshire staycation”, “Sustainable wedding venue Cheshire”, “Autumn staycations Cheshire” and #4 for “Adults-only holidays Cheshire.” This in turn has driven new, targeted traffic with intent directly to the Combermere Abbey website.
- PR coverage & followed links in national target publications including Hitched, The Telegraph and Country Life, as well as regional PR coverage in the likes of Whitchurch Herald, Cheshire Live, Cheshire Life and BBC Radio Shropshire.
- Statistics on Facebook alone show almost 700,000 impressions between when the UK first went into lockdown, and now. Plus, page following has increased by 74.7%. over 1100 followers have been gained on Instagram in this period too.
A campaign run on Facebook asking people to relive their favourite Combermere Abbey memory which racked up almost 7000 engagements, over 100 comments and reached 2408 people. Ultimately, we saw lots of users sharing content and tagging in Instagram and Facebook accounts.
“Combermere Abbey definitely recognises Source PR for their substantial contribution to the successful marketing of our accommodation and events during the Covid-19 pandemic. The instant impact of closure on our wedding and accommodation businesses was very dramatic, and without their continued support and enthusiasm and commitment to maintaining the visibility of the Combermere brand, it would have been so much worse.
“They all worked tirelessly to create and implement a dynamic and relevant social media and PR campaign. This resulted in the repurposing of our accommodation back into holiday cottages in July which resulted in 94 bookings in the first three weeks after the lifting of lockdown restrictions – a phenomenal result.
“Thank you so much team Source PR!”