What is the most appropriate tone to deliver in your advertising and marketing messages during this great recession?

Adweek Magazine was determined to find out.  It surveyed nearly 1,500 advertising and marketing members of LinkedIn – the professional social network.  The overwhelming answer – Value.

In fact, when offered a list of five choices the majority of marketers said “It’s the Value, Stupid.”  Well, maybe not in those exact words, but 52% did say communications should “focus on value.”  Hospitality marketers should note only 8% of executives thought marketers should “focus on price” – the lowest rated of all five choices.

Here’s how the voting went –

Adweek Value Chart

Now, one would assume hospitality marketing professionals would know value is the message, but you wouldn’t know that based on a number of hotel email messages we have monitored recently.  Here are some sample headlines:

  • Receive a $400 Credit for a Four Night Stay
  • $70.00 Off Our Sunday Champagne Brunch Package
  • Arizona Vacation: Breakfast + Golf from $159
  • South Carolina – Hilton Head  $87 – $167

Looks as though quite a few hotels may need to rethink their marketing communications messages (if not their advertising agencies).

One smart hotel that understands “It’s The Value, Stupid” is 9 Beaches in Bermuda.  Bam!  The first thing you read on their web site is – “9 Beaches – Bermuda’s Best Resort Value.”  Copy then goes on to offer prospective travelers permission to believe it is indeed Bermuda’s Best Resort Value.

A hotel chain that “get’s it” is Courtyard by Marriott.  Over the weekend they ran a series of TV commercials which all have “Value” as its main message.  Nice.

What do you think?  Few hotels will be able to get through this recession without some discounting.  But do you feel hotels are focusing too much on price as opposed to communicating the value travelers will receive at their hotel?

Safe travels – Madigan Pratt.

AUTHOR: Madigan Pratt
No Comments
  • Focusing on value is one of those things we know in theory, but sometimes have a hard time putting into practice. Your email subject lines a a good example of this. When your hotel’s success is on the line and you HAVE to reach a certain level of revenue it’s all to easy to focus on price cutting and just have another sale. So thanks for the important reminder.

    What do you think, Madigan – is it possible to promote a sale with “value” as your main message? I’m thinking specifically of value-added amenities such as a premium meal or even a golf package that may not cost a hotel that much, but has a high perceived value by a guest. Maybe it’s best not to focus on “$70 off”…but a lower price point still needs to be part of the marketing message?

    Maybe this doesn’t make sense at all…I’m just trying to brainstorm some practical implications of “value”…. 🙂

    May 19, 2009
  • Madigan Pratt

    Josiah,
    If you’re representing a bargain hotel – no problem – lead with price since that’s what some travelers are looking for. But upscale or luxury hotels should avoid it unless they don’t give a hoot about their Brand’s reputation.
    The “Receive a $400 Credit for a Four Night Stay” came from a luxury resort. Wouldn’t it have been better to lead with “Enjoy Bermuda’s Best Summer Value,” talk about what a great vacation experience they provide (people are looking for experiences) and then pay it off with the $400 credit? You don’t have to bury the offer – it could be prominent at the bottom (bold, underlined, whatever is required to get attention). Leading with the $$$ makes it look like the message was dictated by bean counters as opposed to hospitality marketing professionals. It’s also lazy.
    A long way around saying, “Yes, it is possible to promote a sales with Value.” It does require creativity – something is short supply in hospitality marketing today. All the best, MP

    May 19, 2009

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