Westin Hotels thinks that what really inspires a globe-trotting executive is not the CEO of an even bigger company or even a cool trendsetter. Rather, it is, say, an overwhelmed hospital nurse who treats the victims of a natural disaster.
That’s why more than 200 New York nurses who cared for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy are getting two free nights at a Westin location as part of the chain’s promotion of its new weekend services.
The $7.5 million multimedia campaign, which breaks April 8, seeks to convince Westin’s core audience of hard-charging business travelers to book rooms on the weekend—and spend time recharging. One way to win over those Type A’s is to celebrate average people who work even harder, like nurses, teachers and volunteer firefighters, said Bob Jacobs, Westin’s vp of brand management.
“These dedicated working people are seen as inspirational and deserving figures by the executives and professionals who are loyal to our brand,” he said. “A free weekend stay reinforces our campaign message that everyone deserves a chance to relax and rejuvenate.”
While Starwood-owned Westin, which operates 193 hotels and resorts worldwide, and other hotel brands offer incremental room discounts to teachers and nurses, this is Westin’s first such giveaway. Free rooms and other gifts will also be given to selected teachers at high-risk schools as well as volunteer firefighters.
The giveaways will be widely publicized, along with information about Westin’s “Make Monday Better” weekend program, which includes late checkout and extended breakfast hours.
The campaign from BBH New York includes print and digital ads and on-site promotions. Taglines include “A day in the pool will help you swim with the sharks” and “A weekend at the U.S. Open means Monday has met its match.”
Allen Adamson, managing director at brand consultancy Landor, said, “The giveaway is a simple, smart way for Westin to be a good citizen by rewarding unsung heroes. It may also take advantage of an underutilized asset: empty rooms.” (Westin, like other chains that cater to the business traveler, tends to be busier during the work week than on weekends.)
Westin has marketed itself as a leisure destination before, but this is the first time it has focused exclusively on weekends.
“Our research shows consumers are craving more leisure time but taking less vacation, so we are trying to offer weekend breaks that are seamless and stress free,” said Brian Povinelli, Westin’s global brand leader.
Other weekend-only features at Westin include casual staff uniforms, more lively lighting and music, and information about local weekend activities.