Grand Hotel’s 125th Anniversary Celebration


Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island










Grand Hotel, the world’s largest summer hotel, has been charming guests since it first opened its doors on July 10, 1887.  The hotel, a national historic landmark, is noted for being family-owned for 80 years, being located on an island with no cars, and continually earning high marks for its hospitality, such as being a perennial member of Travel & Leisure magazine’s list of the Top 500 hotels in the world.  

Grand Hotel was one of Berg Muirhead and Associates’ first clients when we opened our doors in 1998. Every season, for the past 18 years, we have worked with Grand Hotels’ owners, the Musser family, and its executive team to develop creative and attention-grabbing campaigns to garner local and international media attention.  We’ve also worked with the Musser family on crisis communications during an island electrical blackout and to prepare the hotel’s president for testimony to a Congressional committee on immigration issues.

When Grand Hotel marked its 125th season, they held several commemorative items and celebratory events.  Berg Muirhead developed a comprehensive campaign to garner heightened awareness of the 125th anniversary, as well as focused strategies for related happenings. 


Berg Muirhead focused major media attention on the morning of July 10, when Grand Hotel turned 125.   We were able to secure a lengthy segment on ABC’s Good Morning America, during with the national weather report.  The segment showed live coverage of Grand Hotel and gave Mackinac Island’s weather forecast in addition to wishing the hotel a happy anniversary.   

In addition to attracting media the morning of the anniversary, Berg Muirhead distributed media advisories that included imagery and video clips as the anniversary events happened.  This allowed media to cover major happenings as if they were there, including Michigan Governor Rick Snyders’ proclamation of “Grand Hotel Week,” the ceremonial cutting of the 125-foot birthday cake, the anniversary gala, among other commemorative items and happenings.   

When Grand Hotel’s season closed in October of 2012, Berg Muirhead garnered more than 300 earned media hits, with estimated ad equivalency values of approximately $600,000 from broadcast, print and online media internationally, for its 125th anniversary.  


The campaign kicked-off with a redesign of the Grand Hotel’s signature press kit.  The redesign included a new 125th anniversary logo and a timeline of the hotel’s major happening that wrapped the press kit folder.  The press kit was sent to more than 400 media internationally.   

With the challenge of Grand Hotel’s location prohibiting news cameras from coming on the island, we also set-up several Skype interviews with TV stations. This included the highest-rated morning news shows in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Grand Hotel’s top two markets.