Today, marketing communications in the hospitality sector involve a more efficient and effective marketing communication strategy that takes the dynamics of the client relationship lifecycle into consideration (Salman, Tawfik, Samy, & Artal-Tur, 2017). Hilton Worldwide is an example of a hospitality organization that uses a marketing communication mix in its largest marketing campaign named "Stop Clicking Around" (Gazdik, 2016). The communication mix integrated media and print advertising, experiences, sales promotions, public relations and direct marketing. The campaign sought to educate travelers on the prices and benefits they can take advantage of if they book directly with the hotel by challenging the misconception that "third-party Websites always offer the best prices on hotel rooms" (Gazdik, 2016)
Hilton Worldwide used media and print advertising to communicate this message. In particular, the hotel used a set of specific aspects of advertising promotional strategy, for example, newspapers on-property placements, and magazines. Additionally, the entity communicated the marketing message through broadcast advertisements on national and local TV and radio stations. For instance, the initial 30-second TV spot was to run during TV events such as March Madness and across morning news stations like ABC, CNN, and NBC (Gazdik, 2016).
Today, the hospitality sector is striving to encompass innovation in its operations to give guests unique and memorable hospitality experiences. Moreover, clients want to get extraordinary, gratifying and unforgettable services. Hilton implemented this during the marketing campaign by incorporating experiences into its communication mix. According to Gazdik (2016), when HHonors members booked directly with Hilton, hotels could avail more personalized and memorable experiences for each stay.
According to Bowie, Buttle, Brookes, & Mariussen (2016), a sales promotion is a marketing tool that companies use to persuade potential clients to buy goods or services by availing incentives or benefits. It is popular in the hospitality sector and Hilton used it in its marketing communication mix. In particular, Hilton extended an exclusive discount on room prices to HHonors members who booked directly through its brand websites, mobile app preferred corporate travel partners, reservation call centers, or through approved travel agents (Gazdik, 2016). The discount was available in approximately 4,500 Hilton hotels worldwide.
Public relations refer to the art of spreading the marketing message in the public domain so that customers talk about it to each other (Bowie et al., 2016). Hilton used the classic Rolling Stones song "Satisfaction" to challenge the misconception that third-party websites always offer the best prices on hotel rooms. Also, the campaign included an initial 30-second TV spot that preceded a headliner concert (Gazdik, 2016). Public relations is an essential part of the communications mix because it helps create a strong brand image and the brand can release the information slowly, thus, keeping the public's attention intact. For example, Hilton began with the song "Satisfaction" then it runs different cuts of the TV spot, and then it held the headliner concert. All these kept the public's attention intact.
Finally, Hilton marketed directly to its target clients. Salman et al. (2017) define direct marketing as a mode of advertising where businesses communicate marketing messages directly to clients through various media. In this campaign, Hilton's goal was to educate guests on the benefits they would acquire if they booked directly with the Hotel. For example, it marketed directly to HHonors members by emphasizing their benefits such as "HHonors Points that they could use for free room nights, and the ability to check-in choose their room form a digital floor plan and use a digital key all through the HHonors mobile app" (Gazdik, 2016).
To conclude, Hilton's marketing campaign was successful because it incorporated the communication mix. It used various promotional tools such as advertising, experiences, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing. Remarkably, it considered the dynamics of clients' relationship when it translated the campaign in diverse mediums in 22 languages worldwide, which established open communication with different market segments.
Bowie, D., Buttle, F., Brookes, M., & Mariussen, A. (2016). Hospitality marketing. Routledge.
Gazdik, T. (2016). Hilton Launches Largest Campaign Ever. Retrieved from https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/269083/hilton-launches-largest-campaign-ever.html
Salman, D., Tawfik, Y., Samy, M., & Artal-Tur, A. (2017). A new marketing mix model to rescue the hospitality industry: Evidence from Egypt after the Arab Spring. Future Business Journal, 3(1), 47-69.
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