PR Best Practice — ‘Urban Glamping at the Beverly Wilshire’

HSMAI’s 2019 Adrian Awards competition will honor creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations at the Awards Gala January 21, 2020 at the New York Marriott Marquis. Until this year’s winners are unveiled, take some inspiration from one of last year’s Platinum winners: C&R, whose “Urban Glamping at the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel” was honored in the Public Relations/PR Campaign/Experiential category. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.)

BACKGROUND: The Four Seasons tasked C&R with creating an out-of-the-box experience to bring light to the 90-year-old Beverly Wilshire in the heart of Beverly Hills. What was created was an urban glamping experience, the first of its kind available in Los Angeles. Prior to the activation of the urban glamping experience, the property’s Veranda Suite was a relatively unused space, despite previously being owned by actor Warren Beatty for more than 10 years.

THE CAMPAIGN: Guests are treated to a deluxe experience in the Veranda Suite, the only one on the property to reside on its own floor, and accessible by a wrought-iron and marble staircase. The unique studio-style suite features a 2,140-square-foot terrace with 270-degree views of the Hollywood Hills and Rodeo Drive.

As part of the campaign, the property’s Beverly Wilshire’s PR director set up a glamping tent and brought in items from Restoration Hardware and World Market to create a luxurious experience, complete with gold-coated s’mores. The package was targeted to specific groups, including national and international hotel guests, local staycation guests, and MICE groups. The goals were to garner fresh/young brand awareness and drive revenue. This was the first time the Beverly Wilshire hired an outside PR agency, and it strengthened C&R’s relationship with Four Seasons, securing the agency extra business from Four Seasons’ existing properties and new openings.

RESULTS: The Urban Glamping Suite originally was only supposed to be available for a quarter, but due to the success of the package, the experience has been expanded indefinitely. The hotel has made more than $215,000 in room revenue alone and an additional $20,000 in food-and-beverage revenue. The experience was covered on and in Food & Wine, and broadcast via AP News, which was picked up by more than 250 networks worldwide. Additional media placements include The Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, and Architectural Digest. All together the total media impressions exceeded 200 million.

Advertising Best Practice — ‘Sterling K. Brown Advertising Series’

HSMAI’s 2019 Adrian Awards competition is now closed, and our judging process is getting underway — honoring creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. Meanwhile, take some inspiration from one of last year’s Platinum winners: Explore St. Louis, whose “Sterling K. Brown Advertising Series” was honored in the Advertising/Advertising Series/Television – Consumer category. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.)

BACKGROUND: Despite recent tourism development, urban inversion, a heavy tech scene, and world-class cultural assets, St. Louis has struggled with a negative or indifferent national perception. Qualitative research showed that perceptions among all demographics were neutral about the city, that many respondents were unaware of the off-the-beaten path experiences in the area, and that there was an opportunity to appeal to young travelers seeking authentic experiences instead of focusing on attracting families. It also indicated that St. Louis was often perceived as a “been there, done that” destination, with few return visitors and lack of interest among younger twentysomethings. Emmy Award–winning actor Sterling K. Brown of This Is Us helped showcase the vibrant and authentic experiences St. Louis has to offer, enhancing St. Louis’ image amongst all demographics while driving return visitation.

A native St. Louisan, Brown was a perfect fit for promoting the city in an honest and authentic way. The core message of Explore St. Louis’ “In the Know” ad campaign was that visitors are missing out when they don’t explore the lesser-known parts of St. Louis. It aimed to promote cool, authentic experiences such as neighborhoods, festivals, microbreweries, and live music. Brown offered the credibility only a native of the city can offer, elevated by his celebrity status.

RESULTS: More than 232,000 visitors checked out the campaign landing page, with an average view time of three minutes and 49 seconds. The campaign generated more than 4.5 million social-media impressions and 140,000 YouTube views, and increased overall website traffic by 16.4 percent, with an 18.5-percent jump in unique visitors, compared with the campaign period of the previous year.

Best Practices: HSMAI Adrian Awards Advertising Best of Show 2018

An inside look at what went in to the 2018 HSMAI Adrian Awards Advertising Best of Show winners (tie) Marriott International and its agency, mcgarrybowen: Golden Rule Campaign (Courtyard, Fairfield, Four Points & SpringHill Suites); Explore St. Louis: Sterling K. Brown Advertising Series; Marriott International: Marriott Hotels and HK7s Innovation in Advertising Campaign. Enter the 2019 Adrian Awards and show how you’re leading the way in hospitality marketing.


Driving the Revenue Management Culture Past Rooms

The Lightning Round is a signature program at HSMAI’s ROC event — giving six revenue optimization executives just six minutes and 40 seconds each to share a best practice, strategic insight, or big idea. At ROC 2019, Michael Lau, CRME, CHBA, regional director of revenue management for AccorHotels, presented a Lightning Round session called “Above and Beyond — Driving the Revenue Management Culture Past Rooms.”

KEY TAKEAWAY: “Goals don’t lead to successes, high achievements do,” said Lau, who compared the teamwork necessary to run a hotel to how Michael Jordan worked with the rest of the Chicago Bulls. “The Bulls had specialists and the sum was greater than the parts.” Similarly, everyone needs a foundation of knowledge in the hospitality industry, but it’s important to identify leaders and put teams together with complimentary skills. Lau recommended ensuring operating standards are in place, making reports user-friendly, and providing a framework for the team to operate within, but noted that it’s important to test out what works best for your team and your property to operate at the highest efficiency.

PR Best Practice: ‘Home Alone 2: 25th Anniversary’

HSMAI’s 2019 Adrian Awards competition is now open and accepting entries through Aug. 22 — honoring creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. Take some inspiration from one of last year’s Platinum winners: The Plaza Hotel, whose “Home Alone 2: 25th Anniversary” was honored in the Public Relations/PR Campaign/Marketing Program – Consumer category. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.)

BACKGROUND: Building off the success of the hit 1992 movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Plaza Hotel, where much of the film takes place, partnered with 20th Century Fox to bring the film to life. The property created a variety of offerings for the public to “Live Like Kevin,” using the motto “Children’s Fantasy Never Fades.”

CAMPAIGN: The Plaza created several experiences, including a hotel room package, an interactive photo experience, and a ’90s throwback menu. The room package came complete with Home Alone 2–branded items, a collector’s item paint can, in-room over-the-top sundae, and the opportunity to upgrade for a four-hour stretch limo ride with a full cheese pizza and tours of the stops that Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin makes in the movie, while the menu included upscale versions of household favorites from the year the movie come out, including “Todd Pockets,” “luxeables,” and Zima-, Capri Sun–, and Sunny D–inspired cocktails. The photo experience cost $16 dollars and was available for the general public as well as hotel guests, putting fans in scenes from the movie and making the photos available for immediate mobile download. The target audience for the promotion was mainly young families and Millennials who grew up loving the film.

RESULTS: The program exceeded expectations, with more than 450 room packages selling, resulting in more than $500,000 in revenue. The ’90s-themed menu brought in another spike in revenue, and the photo experience generated an additional $70,000. Even Manchester United made reservations for the team to experience the promotion. More than 125 domestic and 75 international press pieces covered the promotion in broadcast, digital, print, and radio media.

Digital Marketing Best Practice: Margaritaville Resort Orlando

HSMAI’s 2019 Adrian Awards competition is open and accepting entries through Aug. 22 — honoring creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. Take some inspiration from one of last year’s Platinum winners: Margaritaville Resort Orlando, whose “Margaritaville Resort Orlando: Integrated Consumer Digital Campaign” was honored in the Digital Marketing/Digital Campaign/Integrated Market Campaign for Consumers. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.)

BACKGROUND: Margaritaville Resort Orlando (MRO) is a 300-acre resort that opened in Kissimmee, Florida, in January 2019. The resort features a hotel and 1,000 rental cottages to house guests as well as a water park and a retail center with dozens of restaurants and a movie theater. MRO worked with Concept Farm to handle the marketing leading up to the resort’s opening.

RESEARCH: More than 62 million people visit Orlando every year, while more than 60 million customers engage with the Margaritaville brand every year. The purpose of MRO’s campaign was to excite both bases. Supplementing existing research with its own to identify and then test potential messaging points, MRO found that the three messages that generated the highest engagements were “Becoming immersed in Margaritaville,” “Learning the business of Margaritaville,” and “Being in the know as it relates to Margaritaville.” From there, MRO supplemented information provided by tourism boards and its corporate brand with research that identified target audiences. Because the range of customers was so broad — from a hotel guest spending $200 per night to a cottage owner spending a million dollars — there was a wide spectrum for whom to tailor messages.

THE CAMPAIGN: The primary objective was to deliver 300 leads to the in-house sales team for phase one cottage sales. The secondary objective was to build a pool of potential renters for the rental units and hotel rooms. The marketing team worked to promote the brand while engaging with the existing Margaritaville base and extending to consumers beyond the brand, fostering a relationship with the audience to convince them to stay at MRO once it opened. The message conveyed was to make the Margaretville lifestyle possible for everyone to enjoy by offering a vacation experience that was on their terms and in their very own place in paradise. Content was designed to play out on the digital screen and be quickly digestible. Engagement was constantly monitored to refine audiences and hone the messages. This delivered highly qualified traffic to the website, which maintained a 10-percent conversion rate (lead submissions/unique visitors).

RESULTS: As of April 2018, 12,000 ownership leads for the cottages were delivered, and were converted into 550 deposits, then 225 closed contracts, selling through all inventory in the first two phases of development without the use of an outside broker. That left an additional 325 depositors awaiting new inventory. This far surpassed the original goal of 300 leads and closing on 100 cottages. Also, as of April 2018, 20,000 rental/hotel leads were delivered.

PR Best Practice: ‘W Hotels’ Experience at Coachella’

HSMAI’s 2019 Adrian Awards competition is open and accepting entries through Aug. 22 — honoring creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. Take some inspiration from one of last year’s Platinum winners: Marriott International, whose “Marriott International Presents: W Hotels’ Experience at Coachella” was honored in the Public Relations/PR Campaign/Experiential category. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.)

BACKGROUND: In 2017, Marriott International introduced an immersive experience for loyalty members at the Coachella music festival, transforming eight safari tents on festival grounds into hotel rooms representing each of Marriott’s lifestyle brands. In 2018, Marriott sought to take it a step further, spotlighting one of the company’s luxury brands, W Hotels, with four exclusive luxury yurt experiences.

MARKETING GOALS: There were two major goals of the Coachella activation. The first was to drive awareness and affiliation of the W Hotels brand within the broader Marriott portfolio by spotlighting the brand’s music strategy and highlighting the W properties that have private music studios and writers’ rooms and that will host Wake Up Call festivals in 2018 and 2019. The second goal was to drive engagement and advocacy with Marriott’s loyalty program. The target audience was Millennial-minded global jetsetters who seek memorable experiences and as many choices as possible.

THE EVENT: To gain access to the W Hotels yurts at Coachella, guests had to be a member of one of Marriott’s loyalty programs — Marriott Rewards, SPG, and/or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards. Members could bid on one of four yurts and/or ticket packages using their loyalty points on the Marriott Rewards or SPG Moments platform. Perks included a 24/7 concierge and amenities tent, maid service, private parking, dedicated golf cart and driver, VIP stage access, and moments like a surprise private brunch with the band Marian Hill.

RESULTS: More than 600 million PR impressions were delivered across 35 outlets. Engagement was driven with the loyalty program, generating 5.7 million redeemed loyalty points for the yurt experiences, with the highest bid going to the Bali Yurt for 1 million points. Success was also measured by the guest satisfaction of members on site. The members staying in the yurts over both weekends became fast friends, hanging out in the W Village common area and seeing the headliners together. As one member said, “After having this kind of access, there is no other way to attend Coachella. We were treated as if we were staying at a W Hotel on festival grounds. Once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure.”


20 Questions for Your External Analysis

Every hotel should undertake both an external and an internal analysis on an annual basis. Here’s what you need to know about performing an external analysis. 

An external analysis provides hoteliers with a view of what is happening within the market. This includes consumer trends (demand) and competitors (supply). By understanding the behaviors of both consumers and competitors, a hotel or hotel company can better position themselves to be prepared to meet the needs of — and overcome the challenges specific to — their market.

Questions to ask during an external analysis include:

  1. Is there any new product that has entered the market since the last analysis that can be considered competition?
  2. What type of new inventory is entering your market?
  3. Has any inventory left the market? If so, why? Was it permanently closed? Is it closed for renovations intending to reopen?
  4. When was each competitor’s most recent renovation?
  5. Is there construction nearby any of my competitors?
  6. Have any of my competitors switched flags or management companies since the last analysis?
  7. What benefits have been added or lost with this change, such as distribution partners, group sales resources, and central reservation contribution?
  8. Have any of my competitors implemented revenue management systems or changed distribution partners since the last analysis?
  9. What are the reviews my competitors are receiving on social media sites?
  10. Are there any significant citywide events that are driving demand? If so, what is the volume of this demand and what dates are to be impacted?
  11. Are there any citywide events that are no longer returning?
  12. Have any large corporations moved into or out of our market during the past year? For example, what office sites may now be vacant or are newly occupied? What future economic developments or redevelopments are planned? What is their timing?
  13. Have any large companies in the market been acquired recently?
  14. Have any of your primary accounts changed their travel procurement procedures?
  15. Is there any significant change to how consumers are traveling to the market this year, such as driving versus flying?
  16. How is the booking process on the competitor sites?
  17. What are the market’s booking policies, including cancellation periods? What are the market’s cancellation percentages?
  18. Does the market offer channel-specific booking or cancellation policies?
  19. What is the landscape of the airlift coming into your destination?
  20. Have you or your competitors added new fees, such as a resort fee, facility fee, energy surcharge, parking, etc.? If any fees are already in place in your market, have there been any major changes?

Excerpted from HSMAI’s Evolving Dynamics: From Revenue Management to Revenue Strategy — The Study Guide for the Certified Revenue Management Executive (CRME) Certification, by Kathleen Cullen, CRME.

Digital Marketing Best Practice: ‘Retargeting Marketing’

HSMAI’s 2019 Adrian Awards competition will open on June 25 — honoring creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. Take some inspiration from one of last year’s Platinum winners: VISIT PHILADELPHIA, whose “Retargeting Marketing” campaign was honored in the Digital Marketing/Digital Campaign/Geo-Targeted Campaign category. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.)

BACKGROUND: VISIT PHILADELPHIA works to build Philadelphia’s economy and image through destination marketing. The focus is on engaging with leisure travelers who are interested in visiting the city for fun. Through a matched $75,000 investment from the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC), VISIT PHILADELPHIA developed a new retargeting marketing pilot program focused on engagement. The program utilized new technology to pinpoint interests, geofence specific areas, retarget device IDs, and access new data sources to engage with visitors.

MARKETING GOALS: The initial goal was to connect with potential PCC visitors and encourage them to attend events. Additionally, there was a need to engage with the visitors while they were in the city, encourage them to do more while they were visiting, and invite them to come back. VISIT PHILADELPHIA planned to use data sources and capabilities to target high-probability potential visitors, create messages to emphasize reasons to visit, build an audience to capture device IDs and target visitors to invite them back, and increase leisure-driven overnight hotel stays. The targeted audience was anyone whose interests aligned with PCC trade shows/events held in the Mid-Atlantic region and attendees of large citywide events.

THE CAMPAIGN: Social media and advertising teams worked to build audiences interested in activities on the PCC events calendar. Social media posts and advertisements targeted these potential attendees and invited them to trade shows; VISIT PHILADELPHIA worked with PCC to identify high-yield trade shows and the expected number of attendees to determine the size of the audience. VISIT PHILADELPHIA then engaged with visitors when they were in the city by targeting them using geofencing and encouraging them to do more in the city. The campaign also used Facebook to retarget attendees to the trade shows by capturing their device IDs and inviting them to come back and sleep over. Finally, the research team surveyed attendees of one trade show to find out what else people were doing in the city, where they were staying, and how they would rate their experiences both at the event and in Philadelphia as a whole.

RESULTS: After holding 33 trade shows/meetings, 1.6 million visitors were identified to distribute social and paid media ads to while visiting Philadelphia and 1.6 million device IDs were captured to invite visitors back. More than 20 pieces of content were created to convey the reasons to stay in Philadelphia. The project resulted in 1,265 leisure-driven overnight hotel stays. The program also marked a new partnership with PCC, which distributed content from VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s websites, encouraging them to do more outside the convention center.

PR Best Practice: A Perfect Night to Introduce a Perfect Day

HSMAI’s 2019 Adrian Awards competition will open in June 25 — honoring creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. Take some inspiration from one of last year’s Platinum winners: Royal Caribbean International, whose “A Perfect Night to Introduce a Perfect Day” was honored in the Public Relations/PR Campaign/Special Event category. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.

BACKGROUND: In 2019, Royal Caribbean International plans to open Perfect Day Island, a new private island destination in the Bahamas that is designed to deliver the ideal beach day. Due to the extended purchase cycle for cruises, it was important to generate media coverage a year ahead of its opening. Royal Caribbean delivered a launch event to showcase the brand’s newest innovations and allowed guests to experience Perfect Day Island via augmented reality (AR). The company targeted customers who had never cruised before, adults aged 25–54 with a propensity to travel and a passion for adventure, and travel agents.

CAMPAIGN: At the time, the island did not exist yet, nor did any renderings or assets. The only resources available were digital files that the company was using to perfect its design. Royal Caribbean paired its New Build team with technologists and developers to add authentic color detail and texture to the design plans, then searched all over Manhattan for the ideal event location — which ended up being underneath a construction building instead of in a traditional venue. Royal Caribbean advertised the event by contracting with influencers with an existing affinity for the brand to spread the news, and shared information with top media outlets across the business and lifestyle verticals. At the event, guests used a custom outfitted iPad to step through a virtual portal into Perfect Day Island using a unique AR system made possible by a Hollywood-grade motion-capture system that mapped the physical and virtual worlds.

RESULTS: Media were impressed by the announcement of Perfect Day Island. According to Digital Trends, “We’d be lying if we said it didn’t make us want to book a cruise and head to the island.” The launch event resulted in 353 media placements and 1.5 billion impressions. Social media content and influencers generated an additional 146 placements and 92 million impressions. Royal Caribbean’s SOV (share of voice) reached an all-time high as the demand for cruises that call on Perfect Day Island increased.