Palm Restaurant Partners with Hotel in Joint Direct Mail Effort

Palm Management Co., Washington, DC, operator of the Palm Restaurant chain, and the Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino in Puerto Rico recently completed a joint direct mail effort in which they are seeking to attract new customers from each others' databases and build business during what is traditionally a slow season.

The two companies sent about 32,000 self-mailers to customers in New York, Miami and Puerto Rico, offering a vacation package good through September called “Palm among the Palms,” which includes a dinner for two at the Palm Restaurant at the Wyndham El San Juan, a special rate on a double-occupancy room and other freebies, including a bottle of champagne and a massage.

The Wyndham mailed the piece to its 5,000-name database of customers in Puerto Rico, while Palm mailed about 9,000 pieces to customers in the Miami area and about 18,000 in the New York area. The restaurant chain, which operates 18 upscale steak-and-seafood houses, has a database of about 230,000 customers that it mails to regularly. The campaign with the Wyndham, however, marks the company's first direct mail effort promoting the Puerto Rico restaurant to customers in the states.

Palm previously has conducted joint direct mail programs with the Swisshotel in Chicago, but those campaigns primarily were geared toward single holiday-weekend packages rather than entire seasons, said Jeff Phillips, vice president of marketing at the Palm.

“This was a deliberate tactic to go after the slow time of the year,” he said.

Palm also is expecting to generate some interest from the local population by mailing to Wyndham's local database. The Wyndham is known locally for hosting many high-profile society gatherings, charity fund-raisers and other events. It derives about a third of its business each from vacationers, corporate travelers and from the meetings and incentives business.

“This is an opportunity to introduce them to the Palm, and maybe get some new customers for the restaurant,” said Karen Cooksey, vice president of marketing at Wyndham Resorts, Miami.

Cooksey said Wyndham has been marketing to its own database during the past few years, rewarding its frequent and repeat visitors and mailing offers to specific target audiences at different times of the year. The Palm among the Palms promotion, however, is the resort's first with any of the nine restaurants it hosts on the property.

“We wanted to use this campaign as an opportunity to work together,” said Cooksey. “We covered Puerto Rico because their database is not as strong here, and they have a strong, strong database in the Northeast and the Southeast, which they felt were good targets not only to come enjoy their restaurant but to come to San Juan and stay in the hotel as well.”

The campaign was created by the Wyndham's local advertising agency, Ballori & Farre, which also serves as the public relations agency for the Palm Restaurant there.

The headline on the piece, a four-color, glossy self-mailer on heavy stock, asks, “How about dinner at the Palm… in Puerto Rico?” and the front of the piece contains a large photo of the restaurant. Inside, the text explains the terms of the offer and the amenities that the resort offers, with additional photos of a cigar bar, platters of steak and lobster and the casino.

Cooksey said the initial response to the campaign via its toll-free reservations number has been positive, based on reports she has received from the reservations manager, although she said she did not yet have any firm figures.

The company is not promoting the offer through any other media.

“The game plan is simply to do direct mail, and given the initial response, we may stay there,” Cooksey said.

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