- The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is shifting its marketing strategy with its first new global brand campaign in over a decade, according to a press release.
- “Leave Better” represents a multi-million dollar investment and focuses on the transformation guests undergo, with “How will a stay leave you?” serving as the guiding mantra. Ads depict the before-after theme with artful shots of buds blossoming and seasons changing.
- Creative will appear across print, digital video, display and paid social, with The Ritz-Carlton leveraging a partnership with the Condé Nast network to reach a global audience. The refresh comes as the Marriott International-owned luxury chain revamps its collection of websites and expands into new markets.
The Ritz-Carlton is attempting to refresh its image at a transitional point for the hospitality category, which is still finding its legs after a battering few pandemic years and seeking to capitalize on the “revenge travel” trend. “Leave Better,” developed with longtime agency partner Team One, complements other initiatives being undertaken by the company that are meant to give consumers a different perception of the brand.
The international marketing push follows a wide-ranging overhaul of The Ritz-Carlton’s network of over 100 websites in August. The makeover, executed with help from agency Code and Theory, introduces more video and visually driven elements to The Ritz-Carlton’s digital presence, aiming to capture the feel of a premium, mobile-friendly online magazine.
The Ritz-Carlton has also recently expanded into new territories, including Mexico City, Melbourne and Fukuoka, and opened a location in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood. In May, the luxury marketer unveiled a superyacht cruise with plans to set sail in September 2024.
“Leave Better” emphasizes how booking a stay with The Ritz-Carlton can be personally enriching, leaving visitors better off than they came. But the creative takes an unconventional approach to getting the message of self-discovery across. Rather than showing guests enjoying the hotel chain’s amenities, like lounging by the poolside, the campaign uses metaphor and abstraction to illustrate the transformative theme.
“What sets The Ritz-Carlton apart is what guests take away from their stay: the epiphanies, new perspectives, and transformations,” said Julie Michael, CEO Team One, in a statement. “We really wanted to amplify the before-and-after moment of how The Ritz-Carlton changes you.”
An anthem spot depicts a bud blooming into a flower, a wintry transition to spring, an egg hatching into a bird taking wing and an oyster unclasping to reveal a luminous pearl, all set to a pulsing electronic score. Each of those concepts is captured in greater detail in individual hero videos. Print ads have a similarly artful bent, showing the same transitions through still images.
“Leave Better” is running in several languages in the U.S., Japan, China, Germany, the UAE and Saudi Arabia with help from Condé Nast. Several other hotel marketers have taken the post-pandemic period as an opportunity to shift gears on the marketing front. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a high-end rival, last fall relaunched its brand with its largest paid media investment to date.
Hovering in the background is the hospitality category’s ongoing battle with vacation-rental upstarts that have courted favor with young consumers like millennials and Gen Z. Airbnb, the largest disruptor, has been heavily promoting a campaign that swipes at traditional hotels, an effort that comes as the site grapples with a regulatory crackdown in key cities like New York.