Feeling the Heat from Airbnb, Loews Hotels Plays Up its Human Side

Campaign Marks Mono's First Creative Work for the Hospitality Company

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With Airbnb, HotelTonight and other sharing economy businesses gaining market share in the hospitality category, the hotel and resort industry is looking for new ways to attract consumers. Loews Hotels is focusing on the human side of their properties.

The new "A Wonderful Place to Wander" campaign, created by MDC Partners' Mono, will launch officially on June 14. The work, the first from Mono since being named agency of record by Loews last fall, includes three digital spots (15, 30 and 60 seconds) that will run ahead of videos on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other digital platforms as well as in print. Digital media buys are being led by sibling agency The Media Kitchen.

"We knew we needed to develop a campaign to really be the catalyst to launch our refreshed Loews Hotels brand positioning to consumers," said Nicolas Hauvespre, senior-VP of marketing at Loews Hotels. "This new campaign is inviting and inspiring and really expresses that new brand positioning which centers around bringing the humanity and sense of wonder and awe, back to consumers' travel experience."

Overlaid on a series of beautiful images of the outdoors, families, friends, hotel shots and destinations, a narrator on the new 60-second video says: "Stoke the fire of your curiosity and let us fan the flames. We're for wonder because we know travel is a human need, so we treat our guests like, well, human."

The idea for the creative, according to Jim Scott, founder and managing partner of Mono, came from the fact that Loews isn't a massive chain; it's an independent luxury brand with one hotel per destination. He said the word "wander" has a unique sensibility that fits the Loews brand.

"The category, like so many, is being disrupted by Airbnb and other technologies and that's changing how this category functions," said Scott. "What we're trying to do is focus on how unique the hotels and properties are, the level of service that you can't get at another place and the humanity of these hotels."

Since its founding in 2008, about 150 million travelers have stayed at Airbnb listsings in more than 191 countries, according to a New York Times report from April. The article also stated that investors value Airbnb, which may go public in a year, at around $30 billion, compared to Hilton's market capitalization of $19 million and Marriott's $35 billion.

According to The Hill, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, which counts Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt among its group, outlined plans in a set of documents earlier this year to fight back against Airbnb.

The new campaign launch is just the beginning, Scott said, who added that Loews has high aspirations for what they can do in this competitive space. In addition to the creative, Mono will work with Loews to integrate the campaign elements across the entire consumer journey.

The New York-based company spent about $4.6 million on measured media in 2016, compared to more than $4.8 million in 2015, according to Kantar.

Scott said the number one goal for the campaign is to raise brand recognition because Loews is "behind some of the larger hotel chains and brands in terms of awareness," and then booking numbers follows in close second. "The media and creative will turn quickly to 'book now,' and we think we can close that gap between awareness and booking," said Scott.

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