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Hyatt Hotels Corp.'s 1999 ad plans include the lodging chain's first new branding ads in three years.

The new work, from Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago, will break in the first quarter and get about $6 million of Hyatt's $20 million ad budget.

Hyatt VP-Marketing Tom O'Toole said 1999 ad spending would be "up significantly" from '98. Hyatt spent about $15 million on measured media in '97, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

"What the industry will see [in 1999] is an increased aggressiveness from Hyatt in all advertising," he said.


The advertising will continue with the "Feel the Hyatt touch" slogan and target what Mr. O'Toole called Hyatt's most valuable market segments-individual business and leisure travelers, meeting planners, travel agents and corporate travel managers.

"And not necessarily with entirely conventional thinking," he added, "particularly in regard to the conventional thinking on [stressing] frequent-traveler bonus miles and points promotions.

"As a result of the consolidation occurring [in the hotel industry] and as a result of frequent-traveler bonus promotions, in the minds of our target audience, the difference between major hotel brands is becoming less and less apparent," Mr. O'Toole said. "This is not good for an industry, nor [is it] for individual hotel brands."

Hyatt is trying to modify travelers' behavior, said Mark Lamanno, president of Smith Travel Research. "It's a tough nut for them to crack because most of that business is location-driven."

Initially, creative will run mainly in print, but Mr. O'Toole said he's also looking at cable TV, place-based media in airports and the Internet as alternative venues.

Hyatt won't ignore its own frequent-guest offering in 1999. It plans a $4 million campaign for the enhanced "Nights After Nights" points-based program.

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