What the 2016 Elections Can Teach You About Your Hotel?

November 01, 2016

With the 2016 U.S. presidential elections coming to a close in a few weeks, there have been several unexpected learning opportunities from this unconventional election cycle.  For hotels, the 2016 elections have become a case study for whether your hotel can benefit from a celebrity brand ambassador. Usually hotels don’t have celebrity endorsements because “protecting the guests’ privacy is a major responsibility that any reputable hotel must abide to.”1

 Why would your hotel want to have a celebrity ambassador?  It’s the awe factor of celebrities that attract the consumer; they’re chosen for attractiveness, intellectual capabilities, competence, and lifestyle. Having an alliance with a celebrity brings a massive amount of “attraction” value to the brand or company. According to CNN’s article “Risk and Rewards of a Celebrity Endorsement”, several brands saw a jump in sales after partnering with a celebrity endorser. But isn’t it risky to base your whole marketing strategy on this? Especially in today’s world of social media, when it is easy to catch a celebrity making mistakes, normalizing them and shattering that awe factor. Yet we see examples after examples where in most cases, the rewards outweigh the risks.

One of the benefits of using a celebrity endorsement is that it brings a tremendous amount of media attention to your hotel. For example, when Oprah Winfrey visited and then listed Miraval Life in Balance Resort & Spa in “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list in 2004. Mary Monaghan, the PR coordinator of Miraval, said that “whenever Oprah mentions Miraval, we always have a spike in telephone calls and requests for more information.”  Consumers become followers – whatever a celebrity eats, drinks, wears and drive the same products celebrities use. Consumers might follow celebrities subconsciously thinking it might lead them to that celebrity status.

More recently, but just as successfully, the Lincoln ad with Matthew McConaughey resulted in increased traffic for the company despite all the jokes, the spoofs from various comedians and never-ending memes. Lincoln’s sales were at a 32-year low in 2013 and “The McConaughey campaign drove traffic to dealers, tripled its website traffic and helped the brand hit 10% market share in the fourth quarter of 2014,” according to Lincoln’s global director Matt Vandyke.  Now that’s what we call a win!

At this point you’re probably thinking: Great! Where do I get started with getting a celebrity ambassador for my hotel?! Not so fast. Let’s look at the 2016 US Presidential elections crestor price.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is an example of bad attention which decreases traffic for his hotel. Previously, Trump branded properties having seen high traffic, ability to demand premium prices for their hotels and residences and the ability to create an exclusive private club feeling at the properties. However, visits at U.S Trump branded properties were down 19% in September 2016. The cost of all the jokes, his comments and his cavalier opinions has become a liability for his brand. A Skift survey in May found “59.6% of respondents [indicated] they were less likely to stay in Trump-branded hotel because of Trump’s campaign.”  This serves as a remind of another time, another celebrity ambassador – Tiger Woods – leading Accenture to cut all ties with him when everything went south for him.

In every major city there is a hotel that has the reputation of celebrity hotspot. Hotels usually don’t have celebrity endorsements, they have celebrities as guests; this way hotels get free publicity. But when considering a celebrity ambassador, in addition to the possible media attention and increased traffic, a hotel has to think about their reputation and how much a possible controversy could cost them. And as the 2016 elections highlight choosing a brand ambassador or using a celebrity endorsement can’t be made lightly.



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