APRIL 15, 2019
As PR professionals focused largely on commercial real estate, we always are looking at how developers across the country approach and execute grand openings. What generates news coverage and social media buzz? What engages the community and drives attendance?
As Wilbert client RocaPoint Partners nears the completion of Halcyon, a 135-acre mixed-use development, we are looking forward to bringing the project to life through events and a grand opening celebration. Since this is one of the accounts I work on, I have grand openings on the brain!
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, following the latest in CRE development or you’re just an avid influencer follower on social media, it’s hard not to have noticed the opening of New York City’s latest hot spot—Hudson Yards. Deemed as “the real estate spectacle of New York,” Hudson Yards recently opened on New York’s west side.
Grand opening events featured everything from celebrities to marching bands. Over the past 30 days, Hudson Yards has received well over 5,000 media hits. It’s clear this team did something right, so here’s what we can take away from their success:
Maintain the Drumbeat
During years and years of development, projects can often be forgotten in the media for slow progress and lack of updates. With a major project like Hudson Yards, finding story angles to maintain the steady drumbeat of media buzz before, during and after opening is critical.
The Value of VIPs
Hosting a VIP opening event with influencers generates ripples of user generated content across social media platforms and spikes interest around the time of the opening. The Hudson Yards opening events were attended by some of the most well-known celebs and “who’s-who” of New York City. By inviting influencers with major social media followings, a PR professional can further amplify the client’s story.
Activating spaces with unique experiences during an opening event encourages guests to share content on their own personal platforms. Activations should be custom to the opening: incorporating things that are unexpected and will surprise and delight visitors and guests. At the opening of Hudson Yards, marching bands strolled by, the three-story Neiman Marcus hosted Skee-Ball for guests and tap dancers and acapella singers brought the place to life.
Speedbumps Along the Way
With any major project, there are bound to be speedbumps. During Hudson Yards’ opening, broken escalators and dicey photo policies led to backlash on social media platforms and in media coverage. No matter the issues, it is critical to stay on top of them, to have a plan in place and to be ready to handle anything that comes your way before the problem escalates.
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