Re-Rediscover: Sheraton Launches $20m “Meet You There” Campaign

From iPads to iPhones, the hospitality industry is going mobile creating innovative ways to cater to their guests both online and off.

On the heels of a gigantic $6 billion dollar campaign to re-brand its Sheraton hotel, Starwood Hotels & Resorts released the details and adverts for it’s new $20 million campaign, “Meet You There,” a big change from its previous, “Rediscovering Sheraton.”

With high hopes to bring in a lot more revenue, the 74-year old business is nurturing and leveraging the sense of community it believes its guests feel, and should feel, when they book to stay at the Sheraton.

Over the past few years, Starwood has done this by taking, for example, the traditional hotel business center and has integrated it into the Sheraton lobbies powered by Microsoft.

They have gone ahead and enhanced their fitness areas as well as invested a lot more in creating more inviting and comfortable atmospheres for the Club Lounges in over 143 Sheraton hotels across the globe.

According to Starwood, the company is even set to open seven new Sheraton hotels by the end of 2011 in China alone (Beijing, Xian, Zhenjiang, Hangzhou, two in Guangdong province and Hainan Island).

Whoever thought the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India China) were just a passing fad, was most certainly mistaken.

In any event, the launch of “Meet You There” coincides with end of phase I for a $150-million renovation project for Starwood’s Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, one of their larger, flagship-like locations located in between the heart of Times Square and Central Park.

“Meet You There” will be publicized in both digital  and print advertising, under the leadership and creative direction of Publicis Group’s Razorfish and the Kaplan Thaler, respectively.

With text such as “Wi-Fi, Mai Tai, Say Hi,” “Body for Business,” and “How to Hotel,” alongside imagery depicting guests of the Sheraton using the hotel’s wide variety of facilities, such as Link@Sheraton high-tech lobbies, the hope is the messaging will reach their selected target audiences loud and clear.

As Little Pink Blog, mentioned previously, over the past few years Starwood has invested a lot of money and energy into perfecting display advertising and are trying to take that knowledge to the online world.

When a potential guest views the new Sheraton messaging, the hope is that they will think of the brand synonymously with a pleasant experience, rather than just another bed to sleep on en route to their destination.

“As part of Sheraton’s successful brand overhaul and the introduction of ‘Meet You There,’ every aspect of this new advertisement campaign is designed to promote social interaction and bring people together,” said Hoyt Harper, Global Brand Leader, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, according to a press release Starwood put out.

“We are thrilled to introduce Sheraton’s new voice through these clever ads that blur the boundaries between business and leisure travel.”

Earlier this year, April 2011, the Sheraton trademarked “Meet You There,” an insurance policy and a very telling move of where the future of the re-branding efforts will go.

Harper had also mentioned that as part of the Sheraton’s successful brand overhaul, “Meet You There”  and every aspect of the overall project, will be the catalyst to promote social interaction (online and off) and bring people together:

“We are thrilled to introduce Sheraton’s new voice through these clever ads that blur the boundaries between business and leisure travel,” he said.

It’s just another step in creating an emotional connection, something already highlighted through their Better When Shared microsite, which encourages guests of the Sheraton to share their experiences of their stay.

The target for Sheraton’s ad campaign is both the leisure and business traveler (“b-leisure”).

Starwood, like a lot of other major hoteliers, are realizing that it’s not just about the amenities anymore.

“Meet You There”  is said to have six unique executions to look out for over the next few months. Traditional print started running already with online adverts scheduled to roll out this July.

Both traditional and digital out-of-home adverts will be viewed in airports throughout the United States. The campaign will also feature mobile rich media and exclusive partnerships with Xbox and CBS Sports.

“This digitally-led campaign aligns with Sheraton’s brand promise of providing ‘connections’ to its guests,” said Pete Stein, President of Razorfish East.

“Razorfish is very proud of the high-quality work that has always resulted from our collaboration with Sheraton, and this campaign is no exception. I am confident it will meet its goal of offering consumers a new impression of Sheraton hotels and resorts.”

THEN THERE

WAS MORE

The thing is — it’s not just the Sheraton who is moving forward on the digital technology front, leveraging social media and online advertising to bring in new revenue.

Starwood’s W Hotels brand recently launched a custom music app for iPhone users as part of their lifestyle experience initiatives.

Also, from May-July Starwood’s “Starwood Preferred Guest” program teamed hotel guests up with FourSquare, allowing them to earn SPG points for their “check-in” to any Starwood property.

Earlier this year, Little Pink Blog also mentioned news of New York City’s king of five-star hotels, The Plaza, implementing the use of iPads in each hotel room, a move similar to what The St. Regis did in 2010 by offering the e-Butler app for iPads and iPhones.

Needless to say, with creative advertising or not, mobile is where things are going.

It’s only a matter of time before the Sheraton unveils their own custom app or other digital integration, as it is very obviously in the cards for “Meet You There’ — the question is, what will it be?

  • What do you think about the “Meet You There” campaign for the Sheraton?
  • Are hotels doing enough to leverage mobile? Or should they be doing more?
  • As Starwood is opening seven new hotels in China this year, the BRIC-era is obviously not over, what do you think this signifies for the future of the industry? Both in revenue and growth across the board and for all hospitality brands?

* Main Sources (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)

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Sasha H. Muradali runs the Little Pink Blog (formerly Little Pink Book PR). She holds a B.S. Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (’07) and an M.A. International Administration with a concentration in Communication from the University of Miami (’08). She loves Twitter (@SashaHalima), Harry Potter and the colour pink. Get a copy of the Little Pink Blog delivered to your Kindle and find us on Facebook.

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