Hilton has launched its global brand platform 'Hilton. For the Stay' [Credit: Hilton]

Hilton pokes fun at rentals with brand platform launch

US: Global hotel brand Hilton has poked fun at short-term / vacation rentals in the launch of its first global brand platform – ‘Hilton. For The Stay’.

The brand platform launch comes as part of a wider advertising campaign launched by Hilton, entitled ‘It Matters Where You Stay’, where the company combines humour with an emphasis on the importance and security of booking a hotel stay.

Featuring businesswoman and philanthropist, Paris Hilton, the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels, and actress Catherine O’Hara as a voiceover, the campaign has already been rolled out in the United States. Highlighting some of the perceived pitfalls with booking trips through lodging segments such as vacation rentals, the campaign also shows Hilton discussing her life growing up in hotels, the power of travel, and how hotels are able to connect people and cultures around the world.

Alongside its agency, TBWAChiatDay New York, Hilton doubles down on the elements that “make or break” a trip, as well as the significance of where the guest stays, including consumer touchpoints throughout the travel planning process and the post-stay experience.

Hilton chief marketing officer Mark Weinstein said: “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.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.”

Due to launch in the UK and select Asia-Pacific [APAC] and Middle East markets soon, the campaign spans television, audio, social media, print and out of home, and was directed by renowned producer and director, Matt Aselton, of Arts & Sciences.

Hilton says that it is engaging influencers and social media platforms [Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter] to provide more accommodation options for travellers and help them avoid “travel disasters”.

Weinstein continued: “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. 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, minimise the role of the hotel and the hotel team members, and romanticise the destination, through our platform and the campaign it inspires, we’re reminding travellers that ‘It Matters Where You Stay’ and boldly affirming ‘Hilton. For the Stay’,” he added.

Hilton’s campaign launch represents a new ploy for hotel advertising and is a blatant affront to the vacation rental segment, albeit transmitted in a playful tone.

In one of the TV adverts, ‘Haunted‘, the brand pokes fun at some of the perceived pitfalls of booking vacation rentals, depicting a family turning up at a haunted house property that was not like how it had been advertised.

Elsewhere, ‘Confirmed Together‘ places a spotlight on securing connected rooms at the time of booking, and in ‘Extra Storage‘, Paris Hilton presents a solution for her extra luggage. Hilton also makes reference to its “amazing service” and “pet-friendly travel choices” through its Hilton Honors app that allows guests to bypass the front desk and personalise their stay in whatever way they wish.

TBWAChiatDay New York chief creative officer Amy Ferguson said: “In developing the campaign, we were inspired by showing the realness of travel; the tensions, the hardships, the too-high expectations. It goes against convention in the hospitality category and it’s an exciting space for the brand to own.”

Marcus Rader, founder and CEO of Hostaway, said: “Hilton is really forgetting one of the big strengths of our industry. Most short-term rentals are run by individuals who work hard to build trust and a positive reputation in their business – especially if they are starting out.

“OTAs then help establish that trust through reviews and through categories like Superhosts on Airbnb that show every guest has walked away happy from their stay. That’s what’s amazing about short-term rentals, compared to a global hotel chain with trust built in because of its size or the location of its properties and only needs to defend its reputation – not build it.

“What’s clever about this campaign is that Hilton pokes fun at hotels too! Things can definitely go wrong in both types of property.

“I’m also wondering when our industry will need to help them enter the market, as its competitors like Marriott have done before them. Maybe they will transform their resort properties along the standards of short-term rentals in the future,” he added.

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