The Top 5 Hotel Brand Campaigns of The Last 5 Years
A well-planned and beautifully executed marketing strategy has the ability to redefine even the most established hotel brand.
In the past five years, we have seen some of the biggest players in the hotel sector - from Marriott to InterContinental - utilise a range of new marketing platforms and transform how they communicate with customers. Some have created beautiful and truly awe-inspiring advertisement campaigns. Others have encouraged us to grab the nearest yoga mat and be a more health-conscious traveller.
Regardless, each of the campaigns featured below have all succeeded in telling a story through their clever branding. And that’s what really makes them stand out in one of the most competitive sectors in the world.
1. Marriott Hotel: Travel Brilliantly campaign
Best for: Digital content
The Travel Brilliantly campaign is a masterclass in how to re-brand a major hotel chain into generating business from a younger, more digitally-savvy demographic.
The initial problem for Marriott was that it wanted to attract a new generation of travellers - the type of customer that ‘blends work and play’ on a truly global scale. However, this wasn’t Marriott’s traditional clientele. And the marketing team understood that clever text wouldn’t be enough to entice its target audience.
To tackle this problem, the Travel Brilliantly campaign was created to reinvent Marriott’s popular image and be recognised as an innovator in youthful business travel.
So, the campaign took social media by the horns and made the most of mobile advertising - helping to ensure that young people associated Marriott with more than just comfort and excellent service. It was also a brand that loved innovation:
The Travel Brilliantly website is an interactive extravaganza - utilising the best of mobile apps, video content, and inside sneak-peeks into Marriott’s hotel rooms.
There are also plenty opportunities for future and present customers to share their thoughts and ideas about what could improve the brand
Rather than having a one-sided conversation, the Marriott campaign actively engages with its digital audience so that they can shape the future of the hotel chain too. This is perhaps one of the best examples of how social media can be leveraged to improve customer satisfaction. Without relying entirely on market research.
Plus, the ‘work in progress’ style of the Travel Brilliantly website - that relies on audience input - feels more honest than an overnight re-branding.
And this openness and transparency is exactly what Marriott’s younger customers want.
2. DoubleTree by Hilton: Little Things Project
Best for: Social media
If social media can be used to harness customer opinions, then it can also be used as an excellent platform for brand promotion.
The Little Things Project was a fantastic campaign launched by DoubleTree to propel its Twitter and Facebook presence and deliver one of the best hotel industry PR campaigns of all time.
DoubleTree by Hilton began by asking its Twitter followers what ‘little things’ would improve their overall travel experience. Fast forward to 5,000 responses later, the clever marketing gurus at DoubleTree by Hilton spent 12 months touring the United States and personally delivering what their Twitter followers wanted. Some people were given iPads. Others were given fresh cookies. And the world-famous hotel chain was given an invaluable lesson on the merits of listening to customers.
However, the campaign extended far beyond the realms of social media. DoubleTree by Hilton also launched a targeted email marketing campaign asking current customers to get involved. There were also several sweepstake competitions that developed an extremely successful customer loyalty programme - attracting 9,000 new members in just one year.
As part of the Little Things Project, DoubleTree has also made waves with its #CookieCare campaign - encouraging customers to comment and share photos of its famous cookie packages. This hashtag is so effective that it has also been used for competition purposes and to encourage interaction with potential customers:
The Little Things campaign has been a monumental success, achieving:
41,000,000 Twitter impressions
47,000,000 Facebook page impressions
650,000 sweepstake entries
24,500 new Facebook fans
7,000 new Twitter followers
That’s why we think it’s one of the best hotel brand campaigns of all time.
3. Kimpton Hotels - Yoga Mat In Every Room campaign
Best for: Viral videos
Kimpton Hotels are popular throughout the United States for comfortable and convenient accommodation for families and business people alike. But Kimpton wanted to be something more than just a place to eat and sleep on a business trip.
It wanted to be known as a place for rejuvenation and well-being, without needing to check into an all-day spa. A place where customers could escape from the stresses of everyday living and actually enjoy their short break.
So Kimpton Hotels created the Yoga Mat In Every Room campaign:
The viral video campaign, created by Portal A, has won several awards (including the top honour at the prestigious Adrian Awards) - and deservedly so. Complemented with some beautiful artwork to boot, the campaign helped to redefine the Kimpton Hotels brand - showcasing its commitment to the genuine well-being and happiness of its customers
But the really clever thing about A Yoga Mat In Every Room is how it integrates fitness within a family, business, and leisure context. There’s no pressure or suggestion that you actually need to do yoga.
Kimpton Hotels is just a good excuse to unwind and enjoy your recreational time exactly how you want it.
4. InterContinental Hotels Group: Secrets of The City campaign
Best for: Short vignette
Intercontinental Hotels Group has over 180 hotels and resorts located throughout the world. In March 2015, however, the luxury hotel chain also wanted to showcase its commitment to offering authentic, exclusive customer experience at a local level.
That’s why Intercontinental Hotels Group launched a new Secrets of The City campaign. Championing the ‘Best of British’, this beautiful ‘vignette’ offers a behind the scenes tour of London’s most exclusive businesses. From Floris, the perfumer to Her Majesty The Queen, to Foster & Son, the oldest bespoke shoemaker in London, the campaign is an inside glimpse into the worst kept secrets in London:
Having attracted over 1.3m views in just three months, the success of Secrets of The City has been rolled out across Intercontinental's hotel chain - especially on Facebook.
It’s expected that within the coming months InterContinental Hotels & Resorts will release similar videos for other cities, including its David hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Regardless, the sheer volume of Youtube views and social media shares has proved that Secrets of The City is one of the most successful hotel brand campaigns of the last decade.
5. Ibis - ‘Everybody’s famous at ibis’ campaign
Best for: Television
It’s not just Intercontinental, however, that has attempted to use clever marketing to give itself a brand makeover.
Ibis is known as being a budget hotel chain, but that doesn’t mean its customers should expect anything less than the star treatment.
Ibis’s latest campaign communicates something entirely different to its present and future customers: it is not just a budget hotel chain that provides good value for money.
Ibis is also a lifestyle brand.
Showcasing quality, style, and design, the ibis campaign also seeks to be light-hearted and fun. You could even say it’s a tongue-in-cheek nod to brands like Intercontinental - where there’s certainly no shoes on the bed. But more than anything else, ‘Everybody’s Famous at ibis’ is a testament to the fact that consumer habits have changed in the hotel sector - where even the most discerning travellers will choose ibis because its great overall experience, not just the price.
For these reasons, the ibis re-branding campaign is certainly one of the most impressive launches of the last decade.
Great hotel brands
A wonderful hotel brand offers so much more than a comfy place to sleep. They tell us a story. And they make us feel something.
From InterContinental’s cinematic vignettes, to DoubleTree by Hilton’s ingenious use of social media, these campaigns do more than ask digital audiences to watch by the sidelines. Interaction is built into their very core - allowing these wonderful brands to constantly adapt their service and improve at every single opportunity.
And that’s what makes a really, really good hotel brand campaign.
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