InterContinental New York Barclay


InterContinental New York Barclay is one of the original luxury hotels built around Grand Central Terminal at the start of the 20th century. After a full renovation, the hotel’s social media presence also needed a refresh to match that of the property. Although some historic architectural details remain, much of the hotel has been modernized. However, we didn’t want to disregard history entirely on the hotel’s social media channels, so we established a creative direction that is both contemporary and timeless. Especially on Instagram, we embraced the hotel’s modern amenities and services, such as inventive cocktails in the award-winning Gin Parlour, without forgetting its storied past as a hotel for well-heeled travelers. 

The Challenge

Market research included a competitive audit and study of the remaining luxury hotels that were built along with The Barclay as part of the Terminal City project. All have either been demolished or modernized, which has removed their historic charm. In studying other luxury hotels in the property’s comp set, we also found that no hotels were using any of the property’s defining architectural details as inspiration for their creative direction on social media. For example, we took the hotel’s black-and-white tile floor as inspiration for the Instagram grid, producing content and sourcing UGC that alternated between photos with dark/black backgrounds and lighter photos with more minimalist content to align with the preserved Federalist-style interiors of the hotel.

The Results

After 12 months, we found that social media was generating 2% of site traffic. While this represents a standard amount of traffic driven to the hotel website from social media, the user behavior of those visitors was dramatically different from those that came to the site from search engines. Visitors from Facebook spent 64% more time on the site and were 7% less likely to bounce, while visitors from Instagram, an even more visual platform, spent 89% more time on the site and were 22% less likely to bounce.


Increase in total post reach YoY on Facebook


Increase in follower acquisition YoY on Facebook


Increase in total engagements YoY on Instagram


Increase in follower acquisition YoY on Instagram
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