TRAVEL & TOURISM
BE A WEEKENDER
Despite Hilton being the most famous hotel in the world, especially for business customers, there was a need to increase the number of guests staying at the weekend, therefore encouraging prospective customers to think of Hilton as being more than a business hotel.
The challenge facing the brand was to shake off its ’suit and tie, strictly for business’ image, further complicated by a staggering 90% brand awareness with a well-established business clientele. The campaign needed to break free from engrained existing perceptions through creating new ways for travellers to reimagine how Hilton could fit into their non-working lives.
Creating new opportunities for demand meant understanding what is important to consumers, as weekends have now become a precious commodity. In addtion to building associations with amazing “me time” experiences that would appeal to different weekend traveller types.
The campaign aimed at making Hilton the authority on short-break, leisure holidays as well as business, which as a result turned ‘weekender travellers’ into ‘Hilton weekenders’.
Achieving this involved stepping outside business environments and engaging with our audience in new settings, applying new targeting and thinking around implementation. Going out and finding our audience; where they were
spending time, where they could spend their weekends and realigning Hilton in the minds and hearts of the weekend traveller.
The different types of ‘weekend travellers’ research and book their breaks based on what is important to them and how they prefer to spend their precious time outside the office. Their desire to escape the daily life and break free from routines varies – from diving into beach resorts, to sightseeing, to sunset strolls and maybe even more activity related vacation time. What’s consistent between the different traveller types is their drive and need for ‘me time’ and ‘play time’ during the weekend.
By showcasing the most inspirational experiences that would appeal to all ‘weekend travellers’, Hilton could associate with the amazing possibilities the weekend can offer. The campaign communicated to potential guests
that their ideas of ‘me time’ might differ, distinguishing them as ‘Culture Vulture’, ‘Loop the Loop’, ‘Tinsel Towner’ or a ‘Great Outdoors’ weekender.
Despite what type of traveller they were, Hilton was still the solution for them .
With over 300 hotels and resorts across Europe, Middle East and Africa, it was evident that Hilton could deliver ontheir promise to ‘weekenders’ – they can have the break that they have been waiting for.
Becoming the authority in weekend breaks, meant creating a totally bespoke communication to each individual target audience: 987 assets, in 8 languages, across 27 formats, 5 channels, over 52 weeks. The rallying cry was out there, as Hilton was calling on consumers to ‘Be a Weekender’.
Research is a big part of the weekender’s process. For each audience or traveller type, weekend plans would start in different places at different times. ‘Be a Weekender’ media therefore needed to take into account the diverse
consumer paths to decision making, varying booking windows, trip occasions and mind-sets for each audience.
For our ‘Young Couples: Success Driven’ target, planning can start just 4-6 weeks prior to departure. They can also be spontaneous so behavioural and contextual targeting and Facebook promoted posts were dialled up
around the end of each week. Locally-led content via digital OOH also encouraged the weekend thinking, targeting travellers on their commutes during key weekend planning days.
For our ‘Grey Market’ who tend to book further ahead, autumn is a key travel period. Summer months and Sundays were key times to activate. Via quality journalism, Hilton partnered with key media publishers that indexed
highly against this audience and were respected as authorities on weekend breaks. Focusing around key cultural editorial pieces ensured that content remained relevant, inspirational and fuelled with local expertise.
For our ‘Family Fun’ segment, the focus was around making the most of activating a half-term holiday break period in October. Content driven channels like VOD and cinema taking advantage of premium, visually-rich environments.
As socially connected natives, we amplified the ‘Be a Weekender’ concept by inviting weekend travellers to share their pictures via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest using #BeaWeekender to generate advocacy and buzz.
Cross-channel communications helped encourage travellers to think about Hilton as a key weekend destination which would allow them to find their perfect ‘Be a Weekender’ trip.
With more than triple the amount of people visiting the Hilton brand site during the campaign period, the integrated ‘Be A Weekender’ comms strategy resulted in a wider generation of leisure travellers embracing Hilton.
We saw a 5% increase in Hilton’s unaided awareness of hotel brands amongst leisure travellers, in the same time period as when our key competitors declined. This activity translated to more ‘heads in beds’ at the weekends with a 142% increase in the number of booked nights and conversion (0.7% in April and by October 1.7%). Furthermore, this drove brand trial by prompting 66% of bookers to stay with Hilton for the first time.
In addition, during the period of the campaign, transient leisure grew by +8%, online search to conversion was over 3% and YOY growth selected leisure products achieved a +15%.
These results demonstrate that by placing the weekend travellers at the heart of our campaign and giving more reasons to travel, Hilton can become the most famous hotel brand synonymous with leisure as well as business.