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In June, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, a luxury brand within Hilton Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio, launched its “Live Unforgettable” campaign, a video series that aims to reposition the iconic high-end brand in a way that both honors its legacy and highlights its ability to innovate and meet the needs of today’s travelers.
We sat down with Kellyn Smith Kenny, chief marketing officer for Hilton, to learn more about Waldorf Astoria’s new initiative.
What sparked the idea for a brand repositioning? Our guests and their travel aspirations were the inspiration. Waldorf Astoria customers crave intuitive and dedicated service, and we applied a playful spin on our hallmark service when we developed the campaign’s three-video stories: “Game Day,” “Spa for Two” and “Sundae Surprise.”
A continually evolving luxury landscape comes with a rising set of consumer expectations. Luxury travel consumers are taking cues from their experiences with companies outside the industry. They expect hospitality brands to deliver personalization like Amazon; instant gratification like Uber; and omni-channel seamlessness like Spotify.
This initiative showcases our commitment to raising the bar on what today’s luxury guests can expect from their hotel. It is the perfect creative manifestation of what they care about — experiences that are noteworthy and memorable, so they can “Live Unforgettable” — powered by the dedicated team members who deliver our hallmark “True Waldorf Service.”
Who is the typical Waldorf Astoria guest, and what is the best way to reach them?The Waldorf Astoria consumer is increasingly female and either Generation X or millennial. Industry research indicates that 45 percent of the global luxury goods market will consist of Generation X and millennials by 2025. So, our campaign takes that into account, and it is optimized to be nimble, with various nine- and 15-second videos. We used visually arresting imagery that has been designed to resonate with our target consumer.
Our campaign’s creative materials showcase the type of requests we receive, from individuals traveling on business and families on holiday to couples taking a staycation. Our guests expect experiences that are noteworthy and memorable, so that they can truly “live unforgettable” during their stay. Our relentless commitment to personal service — no matter how unique or grand the request — allows us to deliver on that promise.
Hilton used consumer insights when creating this campaign. What were the company’s findings?Our team has pored over primary and secondary research for the better part of a year. We discovered that our target customer craves intuitive and dedicated service that is personalized and bespoke. Our campaign is inspired by the various requests we receive from guests — whether it’s a spontaneous pingpong tournament among friends or an extravagant ice cream sundae party — and we noticed that top-notch service continues to be at the forefront of all modern travel experiences.
A few specific insights from the survey found that nearly one-third of travelers planned little to none of their trip before arriving, with ultimate reliance on the concierge team. Prior to the campaign’s launch, we tested the creative materials to ensure the campaign would resonate with consumers — the results were overwhelmingly positive. We are seeing a significant uptick in important brand passion metrics such as appeal, regard and intent to stay.
What are some specific things you are doing to reach your millennial guests?Our digitally led campaign is targeting a growing number of millennial luxury consumers via Facebook, Instagram, WeChat and more. These are proven channels that allow us to present the right campaign to the right customer at the right time. We’re also reaching millennials through influencer partnerships. Following an extensive selection and vetting process, we’re partnering with influencers who have an authentic relationship with Waldorf Astoria and the service for which we’re famous.
How will Waldorf Astoria continue to use technology to keep True Waldorf Service front and center?Our new digital campaign will be a great platform for our brand to showcase the true depth of our service. With the apparent consumer desire for innovation and instant gratification, we want to continue advancing our online app and text-driven personal concierge to offer our guests the right amount of personalization. In our findings, 20 percent of our consumers’ time spent online is through social channels. We want to ensure the campaign and brand is brought to life appropriately through these channels to portray our rich on-property experiences pre-arrival, during and post-travel. We would like to encourage this new audience to discover True Waldorf Service for themselves.
The DetailsWaldorf Astoriawww.waldorfastoria3.hilton.com