Hilton has introduced its first global brand platform that identifies what has been missing from hotel marketing according to the company—the hotel stay.
“Hilton. For the Stay” places the hotel front and center, elevating the role and importance of the stay at a time when lodging advertising is a sea of sameness, featuring overused destinations, cliché walks on the beach and generic descriptions of travel, it reports.
“Over the last year, we set out to differentiate Hilton and our brands for the next 100 years and realized that we needed to change our approach,” Amy Martin Ziegenfuss, SVP, global enterprise & brand marketing, Hilton told Hotel Business. “Hospitality marketing is a sea of sameness, with all brands talking about the destination, and not the hotel stay itself. When we talked to customers, we learned that the hotel stay is critical—it can make or break a trip. That led us to a breakthrough idea—in everything we do, Hilton will stand for and elevate ‘The Stay.’ It’s what our company and our amazing team members have always been focused on—inspired by our founder Conrad Hilton’s vision to ‘fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.’ So, it’s right that Hilton should celebrate and own the stay.”
She also said that the pandemic changes the way guest view travel. “We also saw that the pandemic changed people and travel needs, making it never more important to consider where you stay,” she added. “At Hilton, we’re committed to making sure the stay is everything you need it to be, and that our guests feel cared for—from amazing service and pet-friendly travel to the conveniences and benefits offered through our award-winning Hilton Honors app, to our industry-leading Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton and more.”
The company is debuting “It Matters Where You Stay,” a new advertising campaign to introduce the platform, using humor to push against some of the common but unspoken pitfalls of travel, boldly poking fun at what can go wrong when booking or on a trip. The campaign also features Paris Hilton, who grew up living in and staying in numerous Hilton hotels across the world, which gave her a unique exposure to the hotel business early on. Her role in the campaign is inspired in part by the legacy of her family, whose belief in the power of travel and the hotel stay to connect people and cultures continues to motivate Hilton team members around the world today.
In addition to Hilton, actress Catherine O’Hara lends her voice to the campaign, with TV commercials first airing in the U.S. on July 25 and audio rolling out shortly thereafter.
“Today, as we make company history with Hilton’s first brand platform, we’re reminding guests that at the heart of a great trip is a great stay and that it’s just different when that stay is with Hilton,” said Mark Weinstein, chief marketing officer, Hilton. “As we enter this next era of travel, it has never been more important to consider where you stay—and Hilton is uniquely committed to making sure your stay is everything you need it to be.”
The company and TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, Hilton’s agency since 2017, used TBWA’s disruption methodology to architect the new vision, born from the insight the hospitality industry has become almost entirely focused on the destination, not the stay itself. Consumer research uncovered “the Stay,” and being cared for, are the crucial elements that can make or break any trip. So, Hilton is doubling down on its new brand platform to prove to its guests that truly, “it matters where you stay.” The platform will permeate nearly every consumer touchpoint, from broad-reaching consumer advertising through the travel planning process and the guests’ stay with Hilton, as well as post-stay.
“With ‘Hilton. For the Stay,’ we are more fully connecting our external customer marketing to our purpose—staking our rightful claim that Hilton owns the Stay,” said Weinstein. “The idea of the stay was incredibly natural to Hilton, and yet no one else was talking about it. As others tout the generic virtues of travel, minimize the role of the hotel and the hotel team members, and romanticize the destination, through our platform and the campaign it inspires, we’re reminding travelers that ‘It Matters Where You Stay’ and boldly affirming ‘Hilton. For the Stay.’”
The advertising creative has a fun, relatable tone in which Hilton breaks from the formulaic approach seen across the industry, highlighting the benefits Hilton offers to make guests feel cared for—from its service and pet-friendly travel to the choices available in the Hilton Honors app to skip the front desk and personalize your stay, to Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton and more, the company reports.
- In one of the featured TV spots, “Haunted,” the brand pokes fun at what can go wrong when booking a vacation rental—depicting a family showing up to a hilariously creepy property that wasn’t exactly as advertised.
- “Confirmed Together” zeroes in on a unique Hilton feature that addresses a very real pain point of family travel, the importance of securing connected rooms at the time of booking.
- And in “Extra Storage,” Paris Hilton has an innovative solution for her extra luggage.
The campaign includes television, audio, social media, print and out of home, spanning 13 commercials and bespoke social executions. It will launch first in the U.S. followed closely by the U.K. and select Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets.
To extend the brand platform, Hilton will lean into social media, experiential and influencers. Across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, the company will engage in a conversation around travel and trip disasters by helping travelers have a better stay—whether planning for a future trip or helping rescue a trip that has gone off the rails. Hilton has also partnered with familiar voices on social media to bring “Hilton. For the Stay” to life.
“In developing the campaign, we were inspired by showing the realness of travel; the tensions, the hardships, the too-high expectations,” said Amy Ferguson, chief creative officer, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. “It goes against convention in the hospitality category and it’s an exciting space for the brand to own.”
Ziegenfuss told Hotel Business that the campaign and platform target every traveler. “We know our guests care about the stay and we remain committed to providing the friendly and reliable experiences they have come to know and expect from Hilton,” she said. “We are ‘for the stay’ and it’s more than a tagline; it’s our rallying cry. You know a stay at Hilton is going to stand apart, because with 18 world-class brands, we have a stay for every traveler, no matter their trip occasion.”