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When hyatt resorts launched a $21 million marketing program for its 16 locations, Tom O'Toole, VP-marketing for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, knew the message needed to focus on the destination of the different hotels.

"The ads are designed to express the nature of Hyatt's different destinations and the purpose of the campaign is to communicate more visibly what different Hyatts represent so when people think of high-quality resorts, what they will think of is Hyatt," says Mr. O'Toole.

Next on the agenda was to bring the resort experience to travel agents, the media and the traveling public in the form of the virtual resort, now known as "Vacation for the Nation."

At this annual event, Hyatt highlights the elements of each of its resorts.

Mr. O'Toole, 40, says the virtual resort experience is Hyatt's challenge to create an event concept that would provide an interactive environment to enable journalists and key sellers of leisure travel to experience highlights of each resort as well as understand the brand message. For instance, he says the Kauai resort "expresses the history and culture of the island, not just the state."

Other highlights of Hyatt's resorts campaign included a $2.2 million consumer print ad campaign in The New Yorker, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Gourmet and Cigar Aficionado. Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago, handles Hyatt Resorts advertising; KWE Associates, New York, handles PR for resorts.

How does Mr. O'Toole know the program was a success?

"We are up 10% over 1996 in bookings and, in our advertising tracking study, the respondents saw Hyatt resorts differently from our competitors," he says. "Also, leisure travelers listed Hyatt as their most perferred resort brand for the first time."

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