When Don Draper and the rest of the "Mad Men" characters returned to television in March for the show's long-awaited fifth season, the Roosevelt Hotel decided to use the buzz surrounding the series to boost business.
The historic New York property has been featured several times on the award-winning AMC drama. The Roosevelt served as Don Draper's temporary residence when Betty kicked him out of their suburban home, and the characters were often spotted enjoying drinks in the hotel's lobby bar, the Madison Club Lounge.
And although scenes for the show were never filmed on location at the Roosevelt, the hotel recognized the potential publicity opportunity and began to craft a marketing campaign geared towards the "Mad Men" crowd.
"In the second season of the show, they mentioned our hotel, and there began our connection to this very popular television series," said Kevin Croke, director of sales and marketing. "It helped get our name in front of a vast and wide majority of potential consumers."
The Roosevelt has a history of creating themed experiences for its guests and have enjoyed some success with the efforts. But last month, the hotel really began to capitalize on the connection to "Mad Men" by crafting a specific guest package and by hosting a premiere-viewing party at the Madison Club Lounge.
"We did a 'Mad Men' premiere event last season and it was well received, " said Croke. "But, by far, this current season lent itself to a lot more buzz with the premiere event and the package we created."
The guest package, called "Mad Men in the City," includes a hotel stay, mixers at the hotel bars, a "Mad Men" cookbook and a DVD copy of the show's fourth season. The package was created to attract out-of-town guests who want to have their own "Mad Men" experience in New York.
On the guestroom side of business, the themed package, which will be offered through the current season of the show, is already helping to increase profits for the hotel.
"The 'Mad Men' package has generated several reservations so far," said Croke. "We feel that as this season of the show becomes more involved and we get more into the leisure period, we will see bookings begin to pick up."
But where the Roosevelt is really seeing gains is on the food and beverage side of business.
Last month's premiere viewing party drew a large local crowd, many dressed in 1960s attire, to the Madison Club Lounge. It transformed the usually sleepy Sunday scene at the lobby bar into a happening party. The event was so successful that the bar didn't have enough seating to accommodate everyone who wanted to see the premiere.
"The night of the premiere event, we had well over 200 people show up to eat, drink, and relax," said Croke. "Financially speaking, the bar itself was filled to capacity, and we likely tripled or quadrupled our normal revenue."
The event was such a hit with guests, many expressed interest in attending weekly viewing parties at the Madison Club—an idea that Croke and the rest of the Roosevelt team are thinking of implementing.
"It will take a lot of operational and marketing support to pull off weekly viewing parties," said Croke. "But right now, we're considering doing that for the remainder of the season."
The Roosevelt has no plans of nixing its "Mad Men" offerings any time soon and will continue to offer guests the opportunity to participate in package deals and attend events created with the show in mind.
"Customers love it," said Croke. "They're able to make it their own little 'Mad Men' experience. As long as the show is still relevant and people are enjoying it, we're happy to be connected to it in some way."