Choice Hotels Europe is one of Europe’s largest hotel chains, consisting of some 200+ properties across 11 European countries. Their portfolio contains some of the best known brands in the travel sector; Comfort™, Quality™ and Clarion™.
Choice Hotels came to us to help them change their European approach to marketing, and take a company that had been focused on ‘above the line’ and traditional forms of advertising to one with an interconnected and traveller-centric marketing strategy that would help deliver brand awareness and put “heads in beds”.
Through a detailed audit of the Choice Hotels Europe brand, its digital touch points and the hospitality industry, we identified a number of opportunities and insights that helped in the development of a solution for Choice Hotels Europe. We helped the company identify the need to focus its future business strategy on its guests, rather than its hotels.
The hospitality industry is developing rapidly, with new players such as Airbnb and Flipkey as well as existing sites like hotels.com and booking.com growing quickly. This poses a challenge to hotels, which are increasingly seen as less important than the destinations in which they serve. With guests and competitors all contributing to the sea of recommendations and tips, Choice Hotels were drowning in a sea of content and didn’t have a life raft.
“Today's travelers are turning to the web to be inspired and take action—and the brands that help them at those moments will win hearts, minds, and dollars” - Think with Google
Many large hotel chains had already identified this challenge and were offering travellers information and travel ideas focused toward the destination, rather than the hotel amenities, but this constituted a different problem… Even if Choice Hotels Europe were to have a voice, who would hear it, and how?
We needed to find a way in which Choice Hotels Europe could use its scale and numerous locations across the continent to its advantage, without focusing on just “bricks and mortar”. The solution needed to cut through the noise and find an opportunity for Choice Hotels Europe to provide valuable information to guests that wasn’t being served to them already.
We built a communications strategy designed to deliver valuable “top of funnel” content to different travelers across stages of the traveller experience journey; Dreaming, Planning, Booking, Experiencing.
Working in collaboration with different content providers, we developed the Travel Top 6™ platform, a content hub focusing on delivering high quality “off the beaten track” recommendations and guides for travellers across the various destinations served by Choice Hotels Europe. Using a variety of data sources, we identified the top 6 unique and interesting places to visit, across 6 different (research-based) categories: Restaurants, Attractions, Nightlife, Shopping, Events and Cafés. This platform provided a base for Choice Hotels Europe to build out its content offering across digital platforms, covering everything from web and social content, to wi-fi splash pages and in-property assets.
Additionally, we have reviewed, updated (and are continuing to optimise) digital touchpoints for Choice Hotels Europe in order to help ensure guests get the experience and inspiration that they desire.
In its first 6 months from launch, the Travel Top 6™ Connected Strategy led to a 36% increase in room nights booked across Europe, 321,000 organic impressions on content and helped deliver travel recommendations to over 55,000 users in 3 languages across 165 different countries.