*Project won the client pitch and is currently being implemented

During our third semester, cross disciplinary teams were tasked with presenting to a live client.  We were assigned the Henry Clay Inn, an historic inn and restaurant in Ashland, VA.

My role: I worked on the strategy team for the project, identifying business problems, consumer insights, and creative solutions.


Approach: Grow occupancy by emphasizing location strengths


The Inn's advantage, being located in the small town of Ashland, VA near Randolph-Macon College, protects it from being affected as much as others in the hospitality industry with seasonality.  However, it has difficulty with weekday occupancy despite only having 13 rooms because it the town of Ashland hasn't been branded as a destination location.


To meet this challenge, we positioned the Inn as A boutique inn central to the classic southern village of Ashland, VA that embraces the cadence of rural relaxation.

We then created a 3 part solution to financially incentivize weekday stays by increasing rates on weekends, create a destination accommodation by improving the Inn's core offerings and aesthetics,  and increasing the average length of stay by developing a set of experience packages centered around the town's core activities and strengths.



In order to solve this problem, we needed to find a population that was interested in the core activities of Ashland, interested in domestic travel, and had the flexibility to travel.  We found this population in rural appreciative boomers with a middle-class mentality.

This target market is the group traveling the most in the U.S. today (4-6 times per year).  They prefer domestic travel and love the core activities (biking, history, and trains) that Ashland has to offer.  Additionally, 91% of this target have paid leave and therefore can be incentivized to travel on weekdays.

print adS - virginia living & amtrak

Henry Clay Inn Print Ad 2


Destination location - beer garden

Weddings and events could offer a significant revenue stream for the Inn, however a lack of outdoor space presented a barrier to reaching the Inn's potential.  Our team recommended that the parking lot be redesigned to allow for the construction of a beer garden along one side of the Inn, creating a perfect outdoor event space and further satisfying the strategic plan to turn the Inn into a destination location.

Bobby Johnston, Strategist | Matt Neylon, Copywriter | James Gross, Copywriter | Majic Albert, Art Direction | Jansen Yoder, Art Direction | Xia Du, Experience Design