Hotel marketers have to work hard for attention these days. Travelers are constantly bombarded with marketing messages from independent properties to global chains, and the industry is overflowed with competition and noise.
The best multimedia marketing campaigns that cut through the noise are original, inspiring, and tailored on a channel-by-channel basis to drive maximum engagement. Increasingly, they’re light on brand-focused messaging and heavy on value-driven content that addresses the needs, interests, and questions of their intended audience.
In the hotel industry, a range of hotels are thinking beyond conventional strategies and pushing the boundaries of multimedia marketing. We have updated last year’s list of the top multimedia marketing campaigns to share with you some of the top campaigns we’ve come across in 2018.
1. Intercontinental Hotels — Podcast
Storytelling is a great way for travel brands to connect with their audience in a more sincere and emotionally engaging way. While the power of video has been well used in this way, audio has not really been utilized by most hotels. That’s what makes this example from InterContinental Hotels stand out.
Their Stories of the InterContinental Life podcast feature an eclectic mix of interviews covering themes including Empathy, Connection, Worldliness, and Fascination. Each story aims to inspire listeners about a given destination of an Intercontinental property. Interviews range from a bespoke tailor in London, to an Ethiopian restaurant owner, to a Beijing-based art critic.
The podcast steers away from promotional content and focuses on educating and piquing curiosity. It’s a clever approach intended to spark a sense of wanderlust and inspire listeners to seek out the described experiences.
Last year, Hyatt Hotels partnered in a new music video staring British pop star Dua Lipa to leverage the power of celebrity endorsement and social media in promoting its Unbound Collection, a range of upscale and luxury properties.
The glossy video was shot on location at Hyatt’s The Confidante Miami Beach, showcasing the brand as a bold, non-traditional hotel option. Alongside the music video, Hyatt released several vignettes that featured Dua surprising her fans, the music video casting process, and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.
It was a tremendously successful example of content marketing, garnering 1.3 billion YouTube views (and counting) and 20 million views on Hyatt-owned and -operated channels. The campaign was also awarded a position as a finalist at last year’s prestigious Shorty Awards.
Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts focused on selling the destination first as part of their London Revealed campaign. The hotel created a simple yet content-packed website and accompanying magazine (distributed in all of their hotel rooms) to promote the city’s top attractions, from hidden beaches and must-visit speakeasy bars, to seasonal events and cultural attractions.
When you visit the website, you don’t see overt brand messaging plotted into the content. In fact, you have to scroll all the way to the foot of each page to see a mention of Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, which includes a link to the hotel website. The focus is very much on engaging and educating travelers considering a trip to the UK capital. By heightening interest and intrigue, potential bookers are then more inclined to explore further, thus drawing them back to the hotel’s own website.
The link back to Park Plaza’s website helps to improve its search engine ranking as well, and it will continue to do so if the London Revealed site becomes more popular.
Additionally, London Revealed launched a supporting social media campaign that scooped the “Best Use of Social Media in Marketing” award at the Hotel Marketing Awards 2018. The judges praised the fact that the campaign “looked outside the Hotel’s own brand by creating a ‘London Revealed’ brand,” and “managed to create a credible hub of London content.”
This example once again demonstrates the value of putting great content first rather than promoting a hotel’s own amenities and selling points.
4. EVEN Hotels — Short video content
Launched back in 2012, EVEN Hotels was created as “the world’s first and only dedicated hotel wellness brand.” In addition to building brand awareness, the hotel also aimed to educated audiences on the new wellness hotel concept through its “Keep Your Good Thing Going” campaign.
The campaign was designed to show how guests can stay their best while on the road. This approach was informed by a three-day online discussion, which discovered that consumers have misgivings about how a hotel brand can help them maintain their wellness routines.
To overcome this skepticism, three short videos were shot featuring real guests. This included Caroline, a mother, author and professor; and James, a cyclist who biked long-distance from New York to Philadelphia. Each guest was shown using EVEN Hotels’ amenities to “Eat Well,” “Rest Easy,” “Keep Active,” and “Accomplish More,” exemplifying the brand’s four core concepts.
All of the videos were optimized for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and supported by print, a digital banner strategy, and a 360-degree mobile banner with a VR-style room tour. The results included a 47.9% uplift in aided awareness, and a 66.7% uplift in brand favorability. The real stories videos also gained millions of impressions via earned media
5. The Atlantis — Facebook-themed Fan Suite
To celebrate reaching one million Facebook fans, The 5-star Atlantis Hotel in Dubai spared no expense and splashed out on creating a stunning Facebook-themed hotel room.
The ‘Atlantis Fan Suite’ is packed with social media-inspired decor and technology, including a wall-mounted ‘Poke’ button that guests can press to order room service, a digital mirror that lets them check their Facebook Newsfeed, and a chair that connects to Facebook Live. Guests can also access the suite using their Facebook details.
To win a free night’s stay, participants need to like the hotel’s Facebook page, and then select their preferred dates and complete a form on the Atlantis Fan Suite website. The hotel is picking a new winner every day until the end of 2018.
The competition is supported by an impressive multimedia campaign, including a dedicated microsite, additional social media activity across Twitter and Instagram, an on-air giveaway on local radio, and a 90-second YouTube video that shows lucky winners having a blast in the Fan Suite and around the hotel.
Competition winners have also been sharing their photos and favorable comments across their own social channels, adding additional exposure to this attention-grabbing concept.
Subtle yet highly persuasive messaging is the name of the game for hotel content marketing in 2018. Hotels are beginning to realize that great content is always built around the audience. Not around the brand. And that success lies in truly understanding what makes their target customer tick.
The heavy-handed commercial message has been replaced by value-driven content, from thought-provoking podcasts to attention-grabbing music videos. This approach is based on trusting that when interest is piqued, audiences will naturally find their way to a hotel when it’s time to book.