6 Quirky Hotel PR Campaigns to Inspire
- Posted by Todd A. Vines
- On October 17, 2019
With an estimated one million hotels worldwide, how does one hotel really, truly stand out?
Yes, consistently delivering a quality product is a must. Of course, a good digital strategy is essential. Sometimes, however, it takes something more to push past competitors.
Sometimes one has to open a sanctuary for wayward inflatable unicorns.
Publicity stunts do have a place in hotel and hospitality marketing, and when it comes to really turning heads, the more creative, the better.
Screen Pilot has written about unique, out-of-the-box hotel partnerships and promotions in the past.
To further inspire hotel and hospitality marketing teams, here are six recent examples of creative, quirky hotel public relations campaigns.
The Lisa Frank Flat
For those looking to visit Los Angeles and immerse themselves in a whimsical, early-90s wonderland, there’s The Lisa Frank Flat.
The limited-time-only space at Barsala in downtown L.A. was a collaboration with Hotels.com for a few weeks in October 2019. When booking went live, the flat completely sold out within an hour.
Awash in the art of Lisa Frank, the artist who found fame in the 80s and 90s by putting puppies, pandas and all sorts of uber cuteness on school supplies and lunchboxes, posters and stickers, the rainbow-hued accommodations surround guests with rotund hearts, animal prints and fluffy clouds. The space even comes stocked with Pixy Stix, piles of stuffed critters, and signature Lisa Frank stationery, in case you want to grab your markers and hit up a pen pal.
Though the flat wasn’t built for longevity, the earned media resulting from the stunt will live on, and likely drive new awareness for the Barsala brand.
The Check Out Suite
When The Hotel Bellora invites guests to “check in and then check out,” they mean it.
The Check Out Suite, available at this Gothenburg, Sweden hotel, boasts the world’s first hotel room where the price is set according to how much a guest browses the web. A smart lamp in the room monitors the guest’s online activity via the hotel’s Wi-Fi network. Less screen time equals a lower room rate.
The stated spirit of the campaign is to challenge our society’s online behavior and entice guests to spend more time together, and, no doubt, drive some unpaid ink in the news.
The Narrative Program
What’s your story?
It’s a question guests at the at the historic Pfister Hotel get asked every week by The Pfister Narrator.
The property in the heart of Milwaukee has a narrator-in-residence, a writer who commits to a one-year stint, assigned a desk in the hotel lobby, tasked with interviewing visitors and turning their stories into blog posts and other social media content. This ongoing campaign is currently in its 15th year.
For Pfister, the result has been a wealth of unique, original content, and an award-winning blog that perpetually drives traffic to the hotel website.
The Coachella Installation
Plenty of hotel brands have partnered with major festivals, but Moxy Hotels took the interaction the next level.
During Coachella 2017, the company erected eight safari tents on festival campgrounds and transformed them into “hotel rooms” for influencers and Marriott Rewards members to sleep in, all in promotion of the brand’s soon-to-open Moxy Times Square in New York.
Moxy Hotels scored more than a billion media impressions as a result, and received multiple awards.
When is a freshly baked cookie more than just a cookie? When it’s also a marketing vehicle.
For more than 25 years, DoubleTree by Hilton has welcomed guests with a warm chocolate chip cookie at check-in. A few years back, DoubleTree team members took those cookies on the road, surprising people in the community with a pair of cookies, one to keep and one to share.
Meetups were arranged completely via social media, and for those too far away to meet up, the social team arranged for shipments directly to the fan’s home or office.
#ChookieCares started trending, and DoubleTree followed the program up with an email contest that generated 9,000 new members for the loyalty program. Other KPIs from #CookieCares:
- 26K new Facebook fans
- 12K new Twitter followers
- 1.27K new Instagram followers
- 41,558 clicks from social posts
- 6.6 million total impressions
The Inflatable Sanctuary
Where do inflatable pool toys go when travelers cast them aside at the end of a vacation?
If they’re lucky, they end up in Mallorca, Spain.
The Hipotels Gran Playa de Palma is home to the world’s first and only “Inflatable Sanctuary.” Guests can walk among an array of discarded citrus wedges, sprinkled donuts, pizza slices and rainbow unicorns and “adopt” an inflatable to use during their stay.
The promotion, a partnership with Hotels.com, has a decidedly green angle. Research found that while half of travelers polled purchased a pool float for their vacation, only 28% actually brought it back home.
Beyond the program’s practical aspects, the concept was named one of PRWeek’s favorite ideas of 2017, and has inflated the property’s presence in the news and online.
BOUNUS: The Converse One Star Hotel
While more of a sneaker promotion than a hospitality one, The One Star Hotel pop-up was, nonetheless, decidedly unique.
Converse, the iconic shoe brand with the famous single-star logo, turned a Shoreditch, London address into an super-cool, five-floor immersive experience attracting the city’s sneaker, skate, fashion and music community.
Over the course of the two-night event, Converse products came to life in curated rooms providing immersive experiences through visual installations, creative workshops, Mahjong and backgammon tournaments, One Star workouts, film screenings, and live music performances.
By the numbers;
- 5,345 people attended the experience with an average dwell time of 40 minutes
- 1.7 million livestream views
- 40,000 new Instagram followers
- 226 million media impressions and $50,000 on-site retail sales
For hotel management teams, the takeaway is that if an idea from your marketing arm sounds strange, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not strategic.
Take time to evaluate even the oddest campaign concepts, and don’t fear creativity. It’s often the most quirky concepts that resonate the most with travelers, and the media.
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