DDB Vies for Hotelier’s Creative

Hampton Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites have initiated a review for creative work with billings estimated at $5-10 million, sources said.

In contention are two Omnicom shops, incumbent DDB in Dallas and Martin/Williams in Minne-apolis, and the Interpublic Group’s Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago and Irvine, Calif., sources said. FCB handles media duties for all the brands of Hilton Hotels Corp., including Hampton.

Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, declined its invitation to participate, according to sources.

There is no consultant handling the review, and requests for proposals have not been issued.

Sources said the Memphis, Tenn.-based client is currently meeting with the contenders and plans to make a decision in November.

Although sources said Hampton is holding the review to find a new agency, client representative Melissa O’Brien said the hotelier has pre-selected shops to vie only for a creative assignment. “We are always looking at agencies for dif-ferent projects,” O’Brien said.

She said the assignment could involve refreshing the brand’s campaign or transitioning to a new approach. The current tagline, “With you all the way,” is in its third year of use.

The chain positions itself as a choice for “value-conscious, quality-minded travelers” who want a moderately priced, clean hotel with a complimentary Continental breakfast, according to the client.

Hampton competes with Country Inns & Suites, Drury Hotels and Holiday Inn Express.

With more than 1,100 Hampton Inns and Suites properties nationwide, the brand has more locations than any other in the Hilton system. Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Hilton owns, manages or franchises a total of more than 2,000 properties.

The Hampton brand is important to the parent company for another reason: In the second quarter, Hampton’s revenue per available room—a key industry measure—dropped .6 percent, the smallest decline among Hilton’s brands.

In May, DDB doubled its Hampton business by taking on the chain’s promotional and online creative duties. The client recently launched its “Hit the Road” promotion, in which room charges are an average of 10 percent less than standard published rates at participating hotels.

While sources pegged ad spending at $5-10 million, CMR recorded expenditures of about $15 million through June of this year.