As peak travel season gets underway, Choice Hotels is getting down to business—by focusing on the corporate voyager. On Monday, the Rockville, Maryland-based chain is releasing its new campaign, “Our Business is You.” The company expects to use the tagine to appeal to consumers traveling for both leisure and business—a large investment focus for Choice.
“We want to accentuate that. It has a lot of play on both the business side and the leisure side,” says Robert McDowell, chief commercial officer, noting the flexibility of the campaign. A series of 30-and 15-second spots showcase suit-wearing business types and shorts-wearing vacationers. “Let’s get down to business—the business of getting it done, the business of roadtrips,” a voiceover says. At the end of each spot, consumers are encouraged to book direct at ChoiceHotels.com.
The book-direct movement has been a big trend with hotel chains as online travel agencies like Expedia and Priceline, as well as Google, increase their own travel offerings. Hotels, which have been ramping up loyalty programs and other exclusive initiatives, want consumers to book directly with them in order to attract more repeat visits.
This is Choice’s first work from McKinney, which the hotel chain named creative agency of record earlier this year, following a review. Choice owns a dozen hotel brands including Quality Inn and Comfort Hotels and operates some 7,000 properties. It formerly worked with McCann.
Choice is spending slightly more on marketing this year— Brent Bouldin, VP, marketing, media and customer acquisition, estimates a percent increase somewhere in the mid-single-digits to teens. The campaign will include social media and digital ads in addition to the TV spots. The business travel focus reflects recent investments the company is making in its Cambria and Comfort brands. Choice recently announced it is investing $725 million in Cambria, its upscale business-travel brand, and $2.5 billion as a joint investment with franchisees in Comfort, its more budget-friendly label. Choice now offers features like virtual pay, where corporate travel managers can book more easily, and a group travel platform.