Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Luxury & Lifestyle Collection, has released findings from a new global survey on consumer sentiment on social media content of travel brands and traditional travel influencers and has created the Stay Human Creator Collective based on those findings.
Kimpton polled more than 4,000 people from Australia, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. and found a need for more authentic and varied travel content, as well as a high demand for travel brands to do more to feature inclusive and diverse content creators and experiences.
“At Kimpton, we take pride in being a different type of hotel,” said Kathleen Reidenbach, chief commercial officer, Kimpton. “Our founding principles have us rooted in human connection and delivering a ‘Stay Human’ experience. We want our guests and our employees to be comfortable and embraced for being their most authentic selves, no matter their pronoun, skin color or body type. However, we know that social media and marketing content within the travel industry hasn’t always reflected the people and experiences that truly make up our global community. That’s why we are committed to diving deeper into the foundation of our Stay Human brand ethos with new brand commitments that will continue to change the way we work with creators, the imagery we share and the experiences we offer.”
Overall, the survey found a large discrepancy between travel content currently on social media and the true desires of consumers, who reported that the pressure to be “social media-worthy” negatively impacts their travel experiences. Consumer feedback from the survey further indicates a desire for more inclusive social media content from travel brands that is suitable to all personal travel styles and reflective of all types of individuals.
Kimpton’s key global and regional findings from its survey:
- 85% of respondents think travel industry brands’ social media content should be more inclusive of all kinds of travelers, and 84% of respondents think travel brands could do more to support a diverse set of travel creators—especially those in the U.S. (88%) and millennials (88%).
- 42% of U.K. respondents are unsure, or disagree, that travel content from creators on social media is inclusive of a variety of demographic groups.
- 90% of U.S. respondents believe that travel industry brands’ social media content should be more inclusive of all kinds of travelers.
- 76% of respondents feel that more realistic depictions of travel from content creators on social media would be more valuable than existing travel content.
- American respondents are the group most likely to say that the content makes them feel self-conscious (24%).
- Respondents in the U.K. are most likely to say that the travel industry content on social media makes them feel jealous (29% each).
- 15% of U.S. respondents say that travel industry content on social media makes them feel left out.
- When it comes to demographic factors such as gender, race, disability, age and body size, more than one-third of survey respondents feel that they are not well-represented or are unsure if they are well-represented in the content they see from travel creators (34%).
- 38% of U.K. respondents say they are unsure or do not feel well represented demographically in the content they see from travel creators.
- Nearly half of survey respondents have some negative feelings (jealous, self-conscious, etc.) towards the current travel industry content seen on social media (46%).
- One-third of respondents (33%) feel that their travel style or personal needs are not being met or might not be met by offerings from travel brands, and 21% are unsure that travel content from creators on social media is inclusive of different travel styles.
Stay Human global campaign
In response to the traveler pain points uncovered in the survey’s findings, Kimpton has introduced new brand content commitments that pledge to show more diverse and inclusive creators and experiences in its brand-level social media and marketing content moving forward:
- “We pledge to work with creators that reflect the diversity of the wonderful world around us. This pledge will extend to the content on our brand channels and the UGC we share. To do this Kimpton is expanding our existing representation commitments to diversity in race, gender and sexual orientation to include a pledge to feature more creators, guests and models with diversity in ethnicity, religion, language, size, age and disability.
- We pledge to address current gaps in travel content—beginning with a commitment to present zero digital distortion of individuals and enhancing how we share information that is critical for travelers with disabilities and ensuring all content is truly accessible to all. To start we will require all of those in the Kimpton Creator Collective to post on social media with alt-text and image descriptions to increase the level of accessibility for disabled audiences.
- We pledge to create our first-ever Kimpton Creator Collective made up of creators with diverse perspectives who will serve as consultants to the brand advising on brand content and property experiences. We pledge to continuously consult, engage and evolve the Collective.
- We pledge to be the first brand to throw away the traditional brand-issued ‘creator content brief.’ Rather than dictating what creators should create, we’ll empower and encourage creators to showcase travel their way while also embracing the Kimpton brand rather than limiting them within the confines of strict creative requirements.
- We pledge that at least 75% of our Kimpton brand-contracted creators will reflect our commitments to increased inclusivity and authenticity of perspectives and experiences (i.e., race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, size, gender, age and disability) to better reflect the diversity of real travelers.”
To help shape these commitments and advise on how they can come to life in the guest experience, Kimpton worked with a select group of diverse creators with varying interests and passions from across the globe to form its first-ever ‘Stay Human’ Creator Collective. The creators gathered in London last month at the Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel, where they collectively took part in experiences rooted in and inspired by human connection. The group explored varying travel styles and discussed what fuels their individual and authentic passions. Kimpton’s 2022 ‘Stay Human’ Creator Collective includes:
- Shayne Tino, Australia – Shayne is an Australian art director, designer, model and creative authority who has launched retail campaigns across the world, and founded and directed his own fashion brands Rimagind and C&talyst.
- MYRNE, Singapore – MYRNE is a DJ, producer and artist from Singapore. In addition to playing sold-out home crowds, MYRNE has an impressive history of live shows; In 2018, MYRNE was the first Singaporean act to play at dance festivals Ultra Miami and Tomorrowland Belgium.
- Anna Whitehouse, U.K. – Anna Whitehouse is a journalist, editor, author and Heart radio presenter. Anna hosts a successful podcast, Dirty Mother Pukka, and is the founder of Mother Pukka, a portal for news, events and honest reviews on parenthood trials and tribulations. She lives in London with her husband and their two children Mae and Eve.
- Tess Daly, U.K. – Daly is an influencer from Sheffield who just so happens to have a disability. Her content centers around fashion, beauty and lifestyle from a unique perspective of somebody who lives life in a wheelchair.
- Dan Brown, Australia – Dan Brown is a Sydney-born and -based fashion model signed to Chadwick Models. Featured in GQ AUS 2021, he has been credited for inspiring Aussie men to dress differently.
- Rei Shito, Japan – Shito is a Tokyo-based street style photographer and journalist featured in Vogue 2020. She worked for a number of publications including Street, Fruits and Tune magazines, before launching STYLE from TOKYO, a blog centered on the street style of Harajuku.