Sheraton Mixes Business, Pleasure

As business travel slowly picks up again, Starwood Hotels & Resorts is launching a $20 million ad campaign aimed at getting consumers to “rediscover” its Sheraton hotel brand.

The effort, which began today, is Starwood’s first major campaign to promote Sheraton’s $6 billion “revitalization,” a three-year global brand overhaul that began in 2008. Print and digital ads tout the hotelier’s newly designed properties, with the tagline: “Rediscover Sheraton.”

The goal of the campaign is to communicate to consumers the “enhanced guest experience” as a result of the overhaul, per the company. The creative execution, in particular, shows the merging of two different (and typically separate) travel purposes, said Starwood chief brand officer Phil McAveety.

“Customers are looking for balance from their travel experience,” McAveety said. “With this campaign, we looked to capture the merging of business and pleasure in our communications.”

A print ad in Wednesday’s USA Today, for instance, shows a photo of two businessmen sitting at a table as it flows into an image of a couple lounging by a pool. The copy reads: “Who brings business suits and bathing suits together?” Other ads, including ones running on sites like NYTimes.com, CNN.com and TripAdvisor.com, pair combinations like “Who brings power walks and power talks together?” and “Who brings bottom lines and bottom ups together?”

An internal team managed Starwood’s creative. Razorfish and MediaVest handled media buying duties.

The effort will support Sheraton’s $4 billion in domestic hotel improvements, new properties and design initiatives, which it expects to complete by 2011. It is spending an additional $2 billion to create new hotels overseas. (To date, Starwood owns 966 Sheraton properties in 100 countries.)