Homestead Village Conducts First Review

By Katy Eckmann

ATLANTA–Homestead Village, a fast-expanding hotel chain in the extended-stay category, is seeking its first agency of record to develop brand positioning.

The Atlanta-based client mailed requests for proposals last week to six local and two out-of-town shops, according to Amanda Madean, who recently left her position as vice president and director of client services at Fricks Advertising here to become an independent marketing consultant. Homestead Village retained Madean to conduct its agency search.

‘We’re looking for an agency that has experience in the hospitality business,’ said Ken Pierce, senior vice president of marketing for Homestead Village. A 15-year veteran of Holiday Inn, Pierce was recruited to the six-year-old hotel chain in March. Pierce also expressed preference for a local shop.

Neither Madean nor Pierce would discuss the ad budget. However, a source estimated billings at more than $1 million.

Homestead Village has 36 properties in eight states, with plans to open another 43 facilities in 1997 and 50 annually for the next three years. A majority of the sites are located in Texas, although Pierce said Homestead Village is targeting ‘key travel markets’ throughout the U.S., including Miami, Seattle, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Washington, D.C.

The company’s growth, along with competition from chains such as Extended Stay America, compelled Homestead Village to seek an agency. ‘We need a new, strong marketing communications effort,’ Pierce said. ‘It’s a fabulous product in a (lodging) segment that’s wide open . . . Only about five percent of demand is being served for extended stay (hotels).’

Initially, the account will entail direct mail and sales materials targeting business travelers, Pierce said. After a year or so, print advertising will enter the mix.

Madean said the review is ‘a little bit open,’ in that agencies that were not invited to pitch may be considered. ‘But they do need to have category experience,’ added Madean, whose resume includes a senior marketing post at Holiday Inn.

Starting out as a division of Security Capital Group, a real estate investment company in Santa Fe, N.M., Homestead Village moved its corporate offices to Atlanta a year ago.

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