IHG's new ad blitz is its biggest push for a campaign in a decade. We suspect IHG will have an easier time making itself a household name than it will in turning the word guest into a verb, as its new ads try to do.
IHG on Wednesday debuted an global ad blitz that represents its largest investment in a marketing campaign in a decade. The effort aims to drive brand awareness of the hotel group and its recently revamped loyalty program.
The new “guest as you guest” campaign will strive to remind people that IHG is the parent brand for 17 hotel chains, such as Holiday Inn, Kimpton, InterContinental, and Six Senses — and that all of the brands belong to IHG One Rewards. Unlike Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, IHG has often been anonymous in the past since its name is not the core brand brandished across its hotels.
“We’ve developed a massive campaign universe,” said Connor Smith, vice president of masterbrand strategy and awareness at IHG. “We have about 1,500 different assets” for the marketing that includes linear and streaming TV ads and outdoor displays, such as posters in subways and billboards at sporting and music events.
“One part of this campaign is trying to introduce ourselves to the next-generation traveler, and we need to meet them where they are,” Smith said.
The campaign by UK-based IHG is something of a departure from recent years, when it has let its individual brands take the lead. In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, Holiday Inn Express spent an estimated $6 million on national U.S. linear TV ads, compared with IHG spending only $5.2 million on its masterbrand, according to iSpot.tv.
One thread running through the campaign is the word “care.”
“We’re dialing up the values of IHG Hotels and Resorts so that you’re seeing our approach to caring for guests,” Smith said. “It’s a reaction to this cultural moment of DIY [do it yourself] exhaustion after having spent years taking care of other people. We want to essentially remind the world what it feels like to be a guest.”
The past decade has brought changes to IHG, with the addition of new brands such as Even Hotels, Hualuxe, Kimpton, Avid, Regent, Voco, Six Senses, and Atwell Suites. The company has also pushed its revamped IHG app as a way to encourage frequent guests to book across its family of brands.
“It’s like the quinceañera for IHG,” Smith said.
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Photo credit: An example of one of the marketing images in the new IHG Guest How You guest campaign in August 2022. Source: IHG.