HotelTonight, a US-based hotel booking app, is not a company I’ve been aware of before now.

However, its latest campaign certainly caught my eye.

While most marketing focuses on ‘family togetherness’ at this time of year, HotelTonight is instead promoting the idea that, sometimes, there’s such a thing as too much family time.

It was originally launched for Thanksgiving in the US, but it’ll stay relevant throughout Christmas.

Here’s just three reasons why it works so well.

Goes against tradition

HotelTonight offers consumers the chance to book last minute hotel rooms via its app or mobile website, similar to the likes of Hotels.com or LateRooms.

In contrast to the aforementioned examples, HotelTonight doesn’t tend to focus on inspirational travel content.

Instead, it boldly takes a different tack.

This year, its "Visit, Don't Stay” campaign is based on the simple idea that you might not want to stay with your family at Christmas time.

It has created a variety of funny print ads to demonstrate why.

Choosing to go against the sickly-sweet theme of family togetherness, it cleverly takes the simple and highly relatable idea – that we might have to put up with family rather than enjoy seeing them – and runs with it. 

It gets the balance right, too.

The anti-family feeling comes off as jovial rather than hateful or serious, conveniently promoting the brand's promise of a room whenever you need it.

Gets consumers involved

Alongside humorous print and video ads, HotelTonight has been rolling out efforts to engage consumers on social media.

This is in the form of a competition, whereby users are asked to explain their own reasons for not staying the night at a family member’s house, with the best (or worst) winning HotelTonight credits as a rewards.

Using the hashtag #HotelTonight on Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to get involved, with a presence on multiple platforms leading to high visibility and increased awareness of the brand. 

Creates something memorable

With most travel brands going for an experience-led approach – building on the idea that millennials in particular crave adventure and spontaneity – HotelTonight’s focus on humour makes a nice change.

With CMO, Ray Elias, suggesting that the company’s competition is “big brands with deep war chests that have been advertising for years” – its clearly designed to be disruptive. Its highly visual nature sets it apart.

Others try to do this by creating a distinctive tone of voice. AirBnB is welcoming and reassuring, for example, while HostelWorld is overly comical. 

However, words are limited in the “Visit, Don’t Stay” campaign.

In fact, the video ads include no spoken words whatsoever.

A bold image and tagline of “Family overload?” is all that’s needed, resulting in a simple but memorable message.

So, if you’re one of those people who’s a bit concerned about staying with the family in a few weeks’ time – at least you can take comfort in these gloriously relatable ads.

Now read:

Nikki Gilliland

Published 19 December, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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