Exclusive Resorts Gets Emotional in ‘Timeline’ Push

Like many industries, the hotel business is trying to stay afloat in a down economy by pitching the value message to penny-pinched consumers. Exclusive Resorts this week launched a campaign that takes a different, more emotional approach, focusing on bonding between family members.

Dubbed “Timeline,” the campaign is the first instance of work from Exclusive Resorts’ new agency, Leo Burnett, Chicago, and sister agency Arc North America. Print ads are running in this month’s issues of Conde Nast Traveler and Robb Report, a luxury lifestyle magazine.

The pitch consists of three print executions. In one ad; for example, a boy is having fun with his father at the beach. A hand-drawn timeline says “born 1999” on one end and “goes to college” on the other, referring to the boy. Text reads: “One day you realize: you only have him for nine more summers. How will you spend them?”

Exclusive Resorts, which spent $1.4 million on U.S. measured media through November 2008, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, said the campaign highlights the brand’s take on the notion of family traveling. “We are in the ‘get together’ business rather than the ‘get away’ business, and this campaign captures the essence of how Exclusive Resorts can change lives through the power of family gatherings,” said evp, marketing Ian Arthur.

The campaign comes at a time when hotels across all tiers are feeling the economy’s impact. PKF Hospitality Research forecasts that U.S. hotel net operating income will be down 14 percent. (Room reduction rates account for much of this decline.)

While some hotels are cutting rates and offering travelers an assortment of value packages, Exclusive Resorts chose an emotional pitch to achieve the same goal, said John Fox, svp at PKF Hospitality Research’s New York office. “What we’ve been seeing so far are incentives like [get your] third night for free, the direct economic kind of pitch, and it’s across the board,” Fox said. “But these are common, especially in the early stages of a downturn in the hotel industry.”