New Courtyard Ads Contrast Hassles With Comforts

Campaign highlights lobby amenities

Overcoming the myriad obstacles of air travel might just be worth it if you end up at an accommodating hotel.

This is the core message behind a new campaign for Courtyard by Marriott launching today. Four TV ads from agency Mcgarrybowen in New York contrast airport hassles such as security checks with the creature comforts of Courtyard, including a bistro, Wi-Fi access and a touch-screen “virtual concierge” in the lobby.

One ad, “Wand,” depicts two airport security guards using their hands and a metal detector to frisk and scan a fortyish man who is standing beltless and with his arms outstretched. “You didn’t choose to travel like this,” a voiceover says. The ad then cuts to Courtyard patrons eating, lounging and drinking cocktails in a lobby area, with the voiceover explaining, “But you can choose to travel like this.”

The mid-tier hotel brand is targeting world-weary travelers in the new effort, which is backed by an estimated $15 to $20 million in media spending. The ads retain Courtyard’s previous “It’s a new stay” tagline, which Mcgarrybowen introduced in 2009 after the hotel renovated its lobby space to add a bistro and more power outlets for laptops.

“Our guests have told us many times that what they really want is to be able to optimize every minute of their stay,” said Gini Gladstone, vp of marketing for Courtyard. “So, if they can now work wirelessly in the lobby, that’s more freedom for them. If they can now get dinner at the hotel—which they couldn’t do before—or they can now get a drink at the hotel—which they couldn’t do before—that’s greater freedom for them as well.”

Courtyard’s core guest travels regularly for business, is mostly male and has a household income of about $175,000, according to Gladstone. These “road warriors” seek good value and skew a bit Generation X, although they’re as young as 25 and as old as 54, Gladstone added.

Footage from the TV spots will also be used in online ads. The TV work will run on national cable networks such as ESPN, CNN and MSNBC for the next few months and then return in late August or September, just before the start of football season, Gladstone said. Last year, Courtyard became the official hotel sponsor of the NFL