The Top PR Firms in Luxury Travel

The best travel PR pros know better than to merely slice through the noise of trends that are as fleeting as a summer fling. It’s all about turning those micro-awe moments into unforgettable memories that redefine the story.

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As the first true post-pandemic travel year ended, Design Hotels, an oracle of boutique hospitality trendsetting, dropped its inaugural tome analyzing it all: the Further Forecast. The 158-page report, made in collaboration with SOON Future Studies, peers into the soul of 2024's travel and culture vibe from the heady realms of healing escapes to the buzz of micro-awakenings and the psychedelic renaissance of therapy. Yet, this crystal ball doesn’t just gaze into the esoteric—it also zeros in on the everyday traveler's quandaries: the fast versus slow life paradox fueled by A.I., and a crash course in neuroaesthetics (because apparently, designing with emotion in mind is the next frontier). While the uninitiated might find it a bit much, this report is practically a treasure map for media specialists eager to whip up the next big wave in travel. And as Boeing continues to navigate its public relations Bermuda Triangle, the rest of us have a year's worth of successes to toast to—and an electrifying horizon to explore.

Public relations pros in the hotel and travel realms are already spellcasting to align with these revelations. Take the "ecology urgency" tsunami—travel's latest green wave—exemplified by GO PR's unveiling of New Haven’s Breuer-designed Hotel Marcel, the first zero-emissions hotel in the U.S., which achieved over 11 billion impressions, not only catapulting the hotel into the spotlight but also flaunting PR's alchemy in spinning green dreams into headline gold. Founder Gizem Ozcelik’s savvy, all-women ensemble didn't stop there, also conjuring up the Astrology Dinner Series at Society Cafe in The Walker Hotel Greenwich Village, a cosmic cure to the so-called "loneliness recession" of our times. Over at Meg Connolly Communications, the Fifth Avenue Hotel bash, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and a champagne cascade, amplified our thirst for closeness, luxury, and the elusive members-only aura we're all after. Meanwhile, Perowne International threw a gargantuan extravaganza for the nearly $2 billion makeover of the Raffles London at The OWO, redefining the art of grand openings. Not to be outdone, their Lake Como gem, Passalacqua, clinched the top spot at the inaugural World’s 50 Best Hotels Awards, proving their Midas touch isn't limited to just throwing lavish parties. 

As cozy as the post-Covid reunion tour of 2023 felt, the digital realm threw us a curveball with the ubiquity of A.I., which gave the travelverse a whole new makeover—and it’s not going anywhere. Behemoth OTA Expedia's flirt with ChatGPT even began dishing out customized travel advice, certainly just the appetizer in the banquet of A.I.'s future in our holiday plans. PR firms are riding this digital wave, flaunting their clients as the trailblazing builders of a tech-savvy hospitality world. But of course, the best of the best PR pros know better than to merely slice through the noise of trends that are as fleeting as a summer fling. It's all about turning those micro-awe moments into unforgettable memories that redefine the story. 

Visit our Power Index to view the entire 2024 PR Power Series.

August 28 Studio

In 2018, sisters Anne-Cécile Blanchot and Kimberley Blanchot launched August 28, a storytelling powerhouse straddling New York City and Paris that blends bilingual charm with bicultural bravado, becoming the go-to for brands seeking that transatlantic sparkle.

“No U.S. agency within our competitive set boasts a French presence quite like ours,” Anne-Cécile Blanchot tells Observer. “While many have established bases in the U.K., the distinct cultural nuances and work ethic in France set it apart. Recognizing and aligning with these differences is crucial for us to effectively serve our French and European clients.”

Their portfolio is replete with triumphs, like La Compagnie, the all-business-class airline that defied skeptics and soared with August 28's inventive tactics. They transformed the airline into a haven of creativity with a "Blue Friday" promo that raked in over 380 million impressions and bagged over $2 million in ticket sales. Then there's The Plaza, New York's iconic gem. August 28 crafted a media strategy for the "Defying Gravi-Tea" afternoon tea that was so magical that it not only toasted Wicked's 20-year Broadway run but also cast a spell over the holiday season, bagging a whopping 1.7 billion impressions.

Across the pond in Paris, they've made newcomer SO/ Paris the belle of the ball, thrusting it into the limelight during Paris Fashion Week 2023 with sky-high occupancy from English-speaking markets. As for the future, they're considering AI with a twinkle in their eye, ready to infuse their campaigns with a tech-savvy touch that still carries unmistakable French finesse. Bien joué, sisters, bien joué.

Anne-Cécile and Kimberley Blanchot Photo by Israel Veintidos


In just three whirlwind years, industry maven Gizem Ozcelik has catapulted GO PR to the pinnacle of innovation. Exhibit A: the launch of Hotel Marcel, the first net-zero emissions hotel in the U.S., which snagged over 11 billion impressions across a spectrum of media realms, from travel to business. This project, alongside collaborations with eco-conscious locales like Tourisme Montréal and Visit Faroe Islands, showcases GO PR's green streak.

The agency's knack for fresh, buzzworthy campaigns sparkled in 2023 with the hotly anticipated revival of Dawn Ranch near Sonoma (racking up a whopping 693 million impressions in six months), and the monthly themed—not to mention sold-out—Astrology Dinners at Society Cafe in The Walker Hotel Greenwich Village. According to Ozcelik, it’s about looking beyond traditional hospitality PR goals.

“We urge clients to pursue creative programming and partnerships that aim to make them a cultural hub in their communities,” she tells Observer. From brewing up a lasagna-flavored beer collab with Don Angie and Talea to maintaining a stellar client stickiness, exemplified by their work with Bridgeton, GO PR has proven itself as more than just an agency—it's the secret ingredient in its clients' success recipes. GO PR's blend of innovation, retention and flair is set to keep the agency on its upward trajectory, leaving a trail of dazzled clients and awestruck audiences in its wake.

Gizem Ozcelik GO PR

Imagine PR

In 2006, Gabriele Sappok launched Imagine PR, and in 2014, her partner-in-crime (and life), Andreas, came aboard as managing partner, adding his personal style to the mix. With a crew as sharp as their passports are stamped, they've transformed their portfolio into a global treasure map of luxury and experiential travel campaigns. Their magic touch turned Tswalu, South Africa's vast private game reserve, into a star, landing the March 2024 cover story on U.K. Condé Nast Traveller despite a drought of visuals. The pair's collaboration with Quasar Expeditions charted a course to a five-page feature in Travel + Leisure's November 2023 issue, cementing Quasar's reputation as a sustainable travel titan in the Galapagos.

In a world where SEO reigns supreme, Imagine PR has seamlessly blended digital savvy with classic PR flair. Their campaign for ThirdHome, inspired by the 2023 Met Gala's Karl Lagerfeld theme, not only caught the media's eye but also skyrocketed the company's search engine ranking, highlighting a property once visited by Lagerfeld himself.

“As the influence of SEO and algorithms on travel content grows, we've adapted our tactics to reflect this marriage of PR and SEO effectively," Gabriele Sappok tells Observer. "Because what good is fame if nobody can find you for what you do? And what good is being found if nobody trusts your brand name?” With 35 percent of their clients sticking around for over a decade, including 17 years with Singita and 14 with Natural Selection, the Sappoks have proven they're in it for the long haul. Their secret? A dash of imagination and a whole lot of spades.

Gabriele and Andreas Sappok Imagine PR

Meg Connolly Communications

Meg Connolly's knack for making a splash is practically in her genes, and this year, she's added a dash of champagne to the mix. Take the grand opening of The Fifth Avenue Hotel, a campaign bubbling over with the effervescence of a freshly popped bottle of Dom Pérignon. This launch has already become a PR legend, marked by MCC's genius: a multi-layered press campaign that kicked off during Fashion Week with Oscar de la Renta's showcase in collaboration with Moda Operandi. This was just the appetizer for a media feast that devoured the A-list pages of WSJ Magazine and Architectural Digest. The icing on the cake? Sarah Jessica Parker's bubbly endorsement, a champagne waterfall that spilled over into coverage from Vogue to W Magazine.

With Slater Gillin, their veteran SVP & Creative Director, at the helm, MCC boasts a retention record that's the envy of the industry, with Maybourne Hospitality (which includes iconic British properties like Claridge’s and the Connaught) in their fold since day one, a bond that's lasted over a decade. This kin-over-contract approach has drawn others into MCC's gravitational pull, including their latest triumph.

“We recently began working with Meadowood Napa Valley,” Connolly tells Observer, “a client that has been on our vision board since the agency was launched 17 years ago.” Looking to the future, MCC is poised to broaden its ultra-luxury brand galaxy, with aspirations that glitter like a perfectly cut diamond, ensuring every campaign is a toast-worthy extravaganza.

Slater Gillin and Meg Connolly Photo by Adam Kuehl

Perowne International 

In a world obsessed with the biggest and the glossiest, Jules Perowne begs to differ, leaning on word-of-mouth fame that luxury hospitality brands dream of. Her secret weapon? A pinch of wanderlust. Perowne’s team are globe-trotters by trade, embracing the ethos that to understand truly, one must see. This approach keeps them perfectly tuned to the desires of the world's most lavish travelers. The results speak for themselves: Raffles London, a $1.7 billion extravaganza with nine restaurants, three bars and hotel suites named after iconic figures like Winston Churchill. Not to mention their Lake Como treasure, Passalacqua, snagging the top spot at the inaugural World’s 50 Best Hotels Awards. 

With long-standing clients like the Oetker Collection and the 750-year-old Hotel de L'​​Europe, plus exciting new additions like the 20-year-strong JK Place and its soon-to-open Milan property, Perowne's portfolio is more dazzling than ever. They're also teaming up with Borgo Santo Pietro in Tuscany, Canaves in Santorini and the trailblazing Auric Road in the U.S., adding more stars to their already glittering sky. Perowne's mantra? Back to basics. She's slicing through the noise, not just riding trends but creating them.

"I'm constantly on the move—I think last year alone, I hit 82 flights,” Perowne quips. “It's during these travels that I sense the trends. My approach? I trust my gut. And I always say to my team, 'Cut the crap. What's the story? What's the headline? Is it genuine? Is it relevant?' Now, more than ever, those words—relevant, real—are absolutely critical." For Perowne’s clients, expect to be handed the tools to deftly carve your own niche in the luxury universe and thrive.

Jules Perowne Perowne International

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