RHC Founder Rachel Harrison has been in the PR industry for more than twenty years. She has navigated several crises with clients including 9/11, the 2008 recession, Hurricanes Dean, Ingrid and Sandy and more. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, she noted that the uncertainty felt by this crisis was very different. The pandemic spanned inumerable industries, international borders, and lives. The impact has been immediate and it continues to feel boundless.
As a hospitality PR firm, seeing the hardships that the hospitality industry immediately faced due to COVID-19 influenced the RHC travel team to focus efforts on a pro-bono project called Buy Now, Stay Later. The program allows hotels to receive an influx of cash now when they need it to stay afloat. And guests get to dream about traveling with the extra incentive of traveling at a discount.
The Buy Now, Stay Later website features a list of participating hotels we’ve worked with as clients, have met through networking, or were introduced to through word-of-mouth including Eastwind Hotel & Bar (Windham, NY), LondonHouse Chicago (Chicago, IL), Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa (St. Barth’s), and more. Through the website, guests are essentially able to purchase a $100 “hotel bond.” After a 60 day maturation period, that bond will be worth $150.
As an agency, it’s been rewarding to see the real impact that Buy Now, Stay Later has been making since launching in April. Not only has the team been collectively allocating efforts to update the site continuously, but we also executed a targeted PR campaign around it with 200+ press clippings from outlets including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Business Insider, Chicago Tribune, and Travel + Leisure. On the back end, we were able to confirm that 100K+ website visitors have been connected directly to participating hotels to purchase bonds and we’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Properties reported to our team that as a result, hundreds of bonds have been sold.
In launching the new agency, we wanted to launch a division to continue pro-bono work and industry initiatives. RHC Cares focuses on one project per quarter that allows our team to support organizations and causes near and dear to our hearts. After Buy Now, Stay Later, our firm served as a partner to The New Travel Conference, which was a week of virtual exhibits, panels, and happy hours to help the travel industry progress through and beyond COVID-19. Most recently we provided support to a group called THIRST, which is an advocacy group of hospitality professionals seeking legislative action to pay out business interruption claims. These efforts are to help another one of the hardest hit industries weather this storm: the bar & restaurant industry.