World Class Hotel Marketing Campaign Examples
November 1, 2018
There are plenty of great examples of hotels who get their marketing right. They generate awareness and convert visitors into customers and deliver on ROI. But in this article we want to focus on those who do more than great - we want to focus on world class marketing of hotel groups.
What’s interesting is that the campaign strategy is often broadly the same as it ever was - hotels promoting themselves through their locations, promoting the ‘experience’ and passing on advice and recommendations on everything that is on offer in the immediate vicinity.
Nothing really has changed down through the years in that regard. A century ago, the same tactics were employed. The only difference is that instead of the all-knowing concierge behind the counter revealing the secret must-sees or gotta-do’s of the area in whispered tones, that storytelling and advice has now been digitised in the form of multimedia marketing content.
And some hotel groups are really excelling at their branding and marketing.
Stories of the InterContinental life
Click on the image to view the video
In our world class roundup, we’ll start with the 'Stories of the InterContinental life' campaign. This campaign microsite hosts a world of culture, history and art, as the various destination cities around the world are explored through the eyes of historians, cultural figureheads, artists, critics and storytellers. Crafted through videos, podcasts, elegantly stylised animations, and accompanying articles, the history, culture and love of every city is thoughtfully and beautifully told. This campaign has soul.
There are amazing production values on all the outputs across all of the formats.
The sound design of the audio output alone is of the highest order, capturing the character of the storyteller and indeed the character of the setting and the stories they tell. Stylised animations illustrate the mood of the stories and the aspirational videos and accompanying articles are all executed with class and elegance; all befitting and indeed enhancing the Intercontinental brand.
There are discreet call to action buttons to convert site visitors into hotel bookers by ‘exploring our hotels’ where you are funnelled towards the hotel booking engine but the emphasis is on selling the idea of an intercontinental experience in [destination] first and foremost.
The Standard Hotel Group
The type of content also has a long shelf life that will, for years to come, capture the attention (and custom) of the more discerning affluent clientele that they target. From a very similar brief but with a very different target market in mind, look no further than the Standard Hotel Group.
Unlike the Intercontinental content microsite, which is separate from the booking engine homepage, the Standard Hotel Group position their content on their own homepage.
It features content to educate, entertain and engage their audiences on everything from the culture of the area, city guides, art, table talk, events etc. - all the usual content themes that you might expect is featured but their target market are clearly young, hip and cool travelers. The first impression and presentation tone is more typical of MTV content rather than a hotel group, and the Call to Action “Book Now” button is ever-present in an attempt to convert site visitors into bookers.
It’s really interesting to compare the two campaign landing pages from Intercontinental and Standard Hotel groups. Each sells the same idea of immersing visitors into the experience of the surrounds from the hotel’s point of view. Yet they are so different in their tone and execution. Both are world class in their own right appealing to very different audiences.
JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts
JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts have taken this storytelling narrative to another level since they founded an in-house content studio in 2014. The resulting ‘Two Bellmen’ video series has Hollywood production values.
“People don’t watch 30-second spots anymore,” David Beebe, Marriott’s VP of Global Creative and Content Marketing said. “They connect with great stories.”
Beebe believes that by placing these stories in the lush backgrounds and settings of the Marriott’s hotels to portray a dramatic and fast-paced movie like experience, then viewers will connect and engage with the brand -
“Our approach is that as brands, we need to stop interrupting what people are interested in, and become what they’re interested in,” he said.
The video series was launched on Marriott’s various online channels, and played in Marriott guest rooms through its in-room network with even some limited cinema advertising support. With the third in the series having almost ten million views on Youtube it’s clear that social media was the main channel of distribution.
The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts packs their multimedia content into a digital version of a glossy magazine. The glamour, exotic locations and style comes across whether you’re reading about the atmosphere of an intimate city break or want to view behind the scenes of a fashion show hosted in the hotel.
What about hotel groups that don’t have the Hollywood budgets?
Those with more modest budgets are turning to other developments in tech to cost-effectively promote and convert Travel Agent searches into bookings, through Global Distribution Systems.
The President Hotel Istanbul is a great example of maximising returns in a country that has proved challenging to tourism in recent years due to the volatile political and social climate, but the destination is now seeing tourism taking great strides forward. Their partnership with Travelport Digital Media resulted in a targeted “Featured Property’ GDS campaign that delivered $15 returns on investment for every $1 invested.
From the concierge service of yesteryear to the podcasts, animations and videos of today, hotels have always attempted to reach out and engage directly with their audience. And with global distribution systems, there is also a direct line open with travel agents to facilitate real-time booking information from around the world, contextualised to your time, availability and location and personalised with special offers to help with more immediate return on marketing investment. The options are there and the potential is limitless. Good luck!