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Many monks prefer solitude and seclusion, but the community at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Ga. adheres to an ancient tradition of welcoming visitors and sharing their history and...
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The Monastic Voyage: Helping Monks Attract Visitors

Many monks prefer solitude and seclusion, but the community at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Ga. adheres to an ancient tradition of welcoming visitors and sharing their history and culture. Opening their public spaces to visitors helps support Georgia’s Trappist monks in their commitment to selflessness and enables them to help provide for the local poor.  Jackson Spalding was asked to promote the Monastery’s updated amenities and illustrate that the Monastery is an exciting, interesting and inviting destination that is open to all visitors.

 

 

Jackson Spalding developed a media relations plan to better position the Monastery with the public and meet the primary objectives of increasing visitor attendance and retail sales. The team developed consistent messages that convey the history and traditions of monastic life and broaden the appeal of the Monastery.

 

The strategy was implemented by leveraging special events and pitching timely angles to print, broadcast and online media in Atlanta and nearby markets. Additionally, the creative team developed an attractive and efficient website that better supports online sales and features original photography of the abbey grounds.

 

 

The team earned multiple media mentions and feature coverage in print, broadcast and online channels. The strategic timing of television coverage on two of Atlanta’s top morning news programs brought new visitors to the Monastery and boosted attendance and sales during the key holiday timeframe. Media coverage helped attract more than 1,500 visitors for special events which increased foot traffic and store sales.

 

Event coverage in print publications included: Athens Banner-Herald, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Knoxville News Sentinel, Georgia Bulletin, Rockdale Citizen, Newton Citizen and Rockdale News as well as religious channels including the Atlanta Archdiocese Communiqué and multiple parish bulletins.

 

Extensive feature coverage included several minutes of air time on WAGA’s “Good Day Atlanta” and WXIA Atlanta’s morning news. The segment ran during peak sales periods and produced immediate results. Sales nearly doubled in the weeks after the programs aired, with some products selling out. Weekly visitor numbers to the Abbey Store increased by nearly twice compared to the previous month. According to Jim Burnham, the Monastery Business manager (and our pleased client), “Retail sales were through the roof and overall sales for 2011 were up 70 percent over the previous year.”

 

The monks now subsist on tourism, a retreat business and sales of their handmade goods and other items in their two stores.  Their mission remains focused, yet their reach and means of doing so has become widespread.