Holiday Inn Express, the hotel brand with "modern hotels for value-oriented travelers," has launched StaySmart.com, an online destination that asks consumers to share their smarts via videos, images, and tweets. It is an extension of the brand's Stay Smart campaign, which it says plays on the idea of how smart it feels to stay at a Holiday Inn Express location.
The brand seeks lighthearted and amusing content for the site. And, in order to inspire posts, it has partnered with comedian Jason Jones, who has added his own smart and funny content. Holiday Inn Express describes the site as "the ultimate destination for smart thinking."
StaySmart.com launched June 24.
According to Heather Balsley, senior vice president of the Americas with the Holiday Inn Brand Family, the Stay Smart campaign originally launched about 15 years ago and ran for almost 11 years. The brand reinstated Stay Smart in 2013 in part because of the equity in the phrase, "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night." After launching TV ads and digital video, Balsley says StaySmart.com is the campaign's next phase, which is "about driving a much deeper, closer connection with guests."
Jones and his "savvy brand of humor" help Holiday Inn Express do just that because he "brings to life who our target guest is," she says. "He's a great representation of what we're asking our guests to do - share our Smart Thinking around the world."
Holiday Inn Express says it "understands that when you stay smart, you know stuff," so it wants to give consumers the chance to share this intelligence through social media. Consumers can submit their Smart Thinking content by creating Vine videos, YouTube videos that are 15 seconds or less, Instagram photos, or tweets and tagging these posts with #staysmart.
While on the site, the brand says visitors will also be asked weekly Smart Thinking questions such as, "What's the best advice your dad gave you 100 times?" or, "What's the smartest way to wrap a present?" to "encourage participants to help make the world a little wiser and grab a few handfuls of inspiration at the same time."
The content on the site is divided into categories, including: Featured, Recent, Life, Family, Work, and Play.
In addition to Jones and consumers, Balsley says the brand is also seeing hotel employees add content to the site.
According to Balsley, Holiday Inn Express' target tends to skew more male with a "reasonably wide age range," but generally in the 25 to 44 age range. The target guest is the smart traveler, who is a business professional looking for a hotel stay experience that helps him or her get back on their way, Balsley says.
In order to promote the campaign, Holiday Inn Express is collaborating with BuzzFeed, CollegeHumor, and Second City Communications to create "highly shareable and engaging" posts scheduled to launch later this summer.
As of Thursday, the brand has 334,000 Facebook fans, up from 328,000 on Tuesday. @HIExpress has 20,000 followers.
Holiday Inn Express is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, or IHG, which also includes InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, EVEN Hotels, and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014