- Hilton unveiled a new installment of its "Expect Better, Expect Hilton" campaign featuring actress Anna Kendrick, according to a press release shared with Marketing Dive. The new incarnation of the campaign, developed with ad agency TBWA/Chiat Day, offers TV commercials, radio and social content. For the first time, Hilton will use Pinterest's new ad units, and will also create platform-specific content for Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
- The hotel chain said the first campaign resulted in double-digital growth in brand consideration by leisure travelers who saw the TV commercials, and increased intent nearly 10% for booking directly at Hilton.com or through the app, among travelers who would normally use third-party travel companies.
- In addition, Hilton has seen a 24% increase in leisure consideration among consumers ages 18 to 34. Meanwhile, the Hilton Honors rewards programs have seen a 20% year-over-year increase, growing to more than 94 million.
After seeing successes across several metrics, Hilton is smart to extend last year's "Expect Better, Expect Hilton" campaign. Growth in brand consideration, especially by members of key demographics like millennials and Gen Zers, is almost certainly what Hilton was looking for when it tapped Kendrick ("Pitch Perfect") for its first celebrity-focused campaign.
Hilton's data mirrors that of a previous YouGov analysis that showed an an increase for the brand across several metrics, including a 4% boost among U.S. consumers aged 18 to 34 who remembered seeing the ad. For a legacy brand like Hilton, engaging with younger consumers is key, as the cohorts increasingly opt for Airbnb stays and boutique travel experiences. The hotel's focus on developing a robust rewards program app also might also be helping the brand engage with younger, mobile-first consumers.
The increase in direct booking through the hotel's website and app is also a good sign for the brand. Search engines create more competition for hotel chains during the booking process. About 80% of consumers reported using search engines to plan their summer travel, and 76% said they purchased from paid search ads, according to a recent Adthena analysis.
Launched in September of last year, the inaugural campaign was the first international marketing campaign for new CMO, Kellyn Smith Kenny. The hotel chain said it found that customers were feeling conditioned to expect less when traveling, so the angle was to expect more from Hilton. Last year's campaign continued the general messaging of the hotel chain’s 2016 "Stop Clicking Around" campaign and its "book direct" messaging.