Hilton taps Anna Kendrick to encourage travelers to book direct
- Hilton has tapped actress Anna Kendrick for its new “Expect Better. Expect Hilton” campaign aimed at offering more flexibility, perks and experiences, and better prices, a news release announced. The campaign debuted during the 2018 Ryder Cup on NBC.
- The “expect better” messaging includes a Price Match Guarantee for consumers who book at Hilton.com, using the Hilton Honors app or via other official Hilton channels. Hilton will match the price if a consumer finds a lower rate and discount the stay by 25%. Hilton Honors members also receive loyalty points and perks.
- The campaign featuring Kendrick includes TV ads, six-second videos, radio spots and digital content.The effort represents Hilton's first time employing a celebrity in its marketing and is new CMO Kellyn Smith Kenny's first international marketing campaign since joining the company.
Hilton says it created its new campaign after listening to travelers and learning that many are skeptical of getting their needs met when it comes to travel planning. While hotel chains have been playing up the experience factor in their marketing recently to appeal to travelers who are increasingly turning to search engines and travel aggregators to book trips, Hilton’s focus on price matching and other perks could help it lure more younger travelers. Deals and discounts were the top motivators for booking travel for 50% of consumers, according to a survey by the CMO Council’s GeoBranding Center and AIG Travel. However, consumers said that online booking sites do the best job assisting and satisfying travelers, and the sites outperformed travel agents, hospitality and travel deal sites.
Search engines, like Google, are also posing more competition for hotel chains during the booking process. About 80% of consumers reported using search engines to plan their summer travel, and 76% said they purchased from paid search ads, according to a recent Adthena analysis. With hotels being one of the most searched for parts of travel planning, the survey revealed how valuable search ads can be in attracting consumers and driving bookings.
Hilton is using humor to highlight its price match promotion and loyalty programs, and position its booking experiences above travel sites, like Expedia and Airbnb. Hilton is hoping its “expect better” tagline will appeal to millennials, who are big spenders on travel and also prefer to spend on experiences over products. The campaign is an extension of Hilton’s 2016 “Stop Clicking Around,” which focused on the “book direct” message and helped the brand attract 4.5 million worldwide bookings and 9 million new Hilton Honors loyalty program members, according to AdAge.