Advertising Best Practice — Following the ‘Golden Rule’

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: Marriott, whose “Golden Rule Campaign” was honored in the Advertising/Advertising Campaign/Complete Campaign-Consumer/Group Sales/Travel Trade category. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.)

BACKGROUND: Marriott recently doubled its portfolio size to include more than 30 brands. Throughout the expansion, Marriott has retained its core values — putting people first, pursuing excellence, embracing change, acting with integrity, and serving the world. In 2017, Marriott tested a new marketing approach that grouped the Courtyard, Fairfield, Four Points, and SpringHill Suites brands together to create a category offering within the portfolios. The goal was to market a single message across each of the four brands in the category, but the challenge was finding commonalities across four distinct brands.

RESEARCH: Marriott found inspiration in real letters that guests sent to hotel managers over the years that supported the idea of treating others with kindness. Researchers focused on the idea that Marriott was built on the foundation of taking care of people. As they researched how consumers would respond to this philosophy, they noticed that social media, technology, and the political climate were driving incivility in the world. Marriott decided it was the perfect time to present a message of kindness to the world and developed the #goldenrule campaign based on the impact of hotels delivering kindness, producing content inspired by real stories of hotel associates helping guests in ordinary and extraordinary ways.

THE CAMPAIGN: At Courtyard, Fairfield, Four Points, and SpringHill Suites, employees live by the Golden Rule of treating others the way they want to be treated. The message celebrates moments of kindness in the hotels, recognizes good deeds in the world, and serves as a reminder of the commitment these brands have to guests, allowing them to stand apart from other brands. The message stands to inspire, uplift, and connect people together.

By combining the marketing funds for the four bands, Marriott was able to reach a larger target audience, exceed what the individual brands could achieve on their own, and reinforce their affiliation with the Marriott portfolio to guests who would be receptive to learning about the different brands. The target audience was frequent business travelers who travel a minimum of three times annually, are married Millennials or Gen Xers, are tech savvy, and enjoy reading news online, watching sports, and staying up to date on the business world. They are people who want to have a productive trip and see travel as an opportunity for “me time.” These travelers seek hotels in the select service category, likely do not require full-service amenities, but expect and appreciate a warm experience with friendly service.

RESULTS: Ads during the campaign scored between 70 percent and 82 percent recall, a growth of 29 points compared to campaign pre-read. The campaign launched nationally across mass media channels, exceeding 1.27 billion impressions within the first six months. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said the campaign has a positive impact. The campaign also scored above average for appeal, uniqueness, and relevance, far exceeding the industry benchmarks in all categories — 91 percent for appeal (74 percent benchmark), 95 percent for uniqueness (75 percent benchmark), and 89 percent for relevance (69 percent benchmark). It also exceeded digital benchmarks, including 84 percent for video (74 percent benchmark) and .38 percent for display (.15 percent benchmark).

Categories: Marketing, Advertising
Insight Type: Best Practices