Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Hilton’s new marketing positioning, Alaska Air’s business travel worries, and UK tourism’s marketing overhaul.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, July 25 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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Hilton Worldwide is unveiling two major marketing initiatives on Monday, one of which is an international TV campaign highlighting the value of a comfortable hotel experience. But more significantly, it’s committing to making the hotel stay the center of its marketing for years to come, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.
Hilton Chief Marketing Officer Mark Weinstein acknowledges that showcasing an actual hotel is a shift from standard marketing practices. Most hotel companies, including Hilton, run ads advertising a destination instead of their properties. However, he believes the catchphrase “For the Stay” will resonate with consumers eager for a relaxing hotel experience during a chaotic summer for travel. In addition, Weinstein sees the catchphrase being permanent — unlike campaigns that come and go.
As for the company’s TV campaign, it contains light-hearted ads featuring travelers ranging from families to socialite Paris Hilton in stressful travel situations.
Next, Alaska Airlines saw business travel make a big rebound in the first quarter. However, the carrier is uncertain the sector will continue to make progress in its recovery, writes Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
Alaska has benefited significantly from the large-scale return of tech workers to business travel. But Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Harrison said during Alaska’s second quarter earnings call last week that bookings by tech companies may have plateaued. Corporate travel volume for technology companies is roughly 50 percent of pre-Covid levels, according to corporate data platform Tripbam.
Although Harrison described the future of business travel as choppy, Parsons writes the company is not complaining about the present. Alaska generated $2.7 billion of revenue in the second quarter, a company record. Its revenue in June alone surpassed $1 billion.
Finally, the United Kingdom is overhauling its destination marketing organizations as part of its strategy to make tourism more sustainable, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.
The revamp includes launching an accreditation program for such organizations that align with the government’s sustainability plan, according to VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes. The overhaul comes after a VisitEngland report last year revealed the UK’s destination marketing landscape was overcrowded. Stokes said the accreditation program aims to simplify that crowded environment, but he acknowledged VisitEngland is still ironing out the criteria with the government.
Meanwhile, the government will also choose a region for a pilot project, in which one tourism board — or a group of local ones — will receive funding to operate under a new model for three years. Stokes said VisitEngland will be able to see how much a specific level of funding impacts tourism development.