Case Study: Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

Overview

As one of the world’s leading operators in the hospitality and spa industry, Banyan Tree Hotel & Resorts came to John Brown Novus to reposition and redesign their custom magazine, Under The Banyan Tree. The aim was to produce a bilingual product which would focus on different cultural aspects of all their resort destinations from Mexico to China, raising the brand awareness to one of understated luxury and sustainable tourism.

Discovery

Banyan Tree Hotel & Resorts prides itself on integrating its properties into the surrounding communities and supporting local artisans. Showcasing this was integral to the foundation of their custom magazine, Under the Banyan Tree. We conducted research and interviews with the local communities and target audiences alike to craft a magazine concept around the overaching theme, "the handmade journey". This theme, aligned with the Banyan Tree’s target audience and brand ethos, formed the basis of each issue's themes, stories, design and photography. 

The Idea

The new-look Under the Banyan Tree magazine promised the reader a rich opportunity to discover the passion and excitement behind the Banyan Tree brand and other regional trailblazers. After establishing "the handmade journey" as the foundation of the magazine's creative and editorial direction, we ensured that all content would highlight this theme. For example when telling the story of the intricacies of a regional dish, the final dish was not the focus, but rather the experience behind its creation. The chef was interviewed in his home kitchen about why the food was so important, and the ingredients themselves deconstructed (see top image). Other stories included: a profile on how the property in Shangri-La developed, from drawing board to opening; taking a walk through the Vietnamese landscape with the creators of luxury chocolate brand Marou; and a journey through the history of paprika from Hungary to Mexico told via illustration and photography. This approach to looking at the world of travel and tourism through a different lens ran through every single element of the magazine. 

Creation

The handmade element was important to the client. The magazine was printed on an unvarnished paper to underline the bespoke element and custom photography underlined the brand's attention to detail in every aspect. Edited from Singapore, home to Banyan Tree's head office, expert travel writers across the globe helped in the creation of unique travel stories, from Cuba to Vietnam, to ensure the sun-soaked read the brand was aiming for. 

 

Outcomes

The magazine was received with an overwhelming positive response by our client and their customers. It positioned Banyan Tree as a company not only talking about sustainability and global care, but delivering it through the community of their global resorts. The best accolade perhaps of the quality of the product that JBN delivered comes from the brand themselves: “You told us amazing stories about our own company which we didn’t even know existed.”