Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 13 2015

Why A Luxury Hotel Is Breaking Up With This Tradition

By Mary Reynolds Kane

When you think of a luxury hotel, you might think of an image of a grand lobby. Maybe you picture yourself in its award-winning spa. Perhaps your mind goes to a five-star meal prepared by the James Beard-nominated chef at the property’s finest restaurant.

What do all of these images have in common? You won’t see any of them in the new “Travel For Real” advertising campaign for Loews Hotels. Rather than take the traditional route of hiring professional photographers to capture perfect images from Loews properties, Catch New York, the brand’s agency, searched elsewhere for some alternative snapshots: regular social media accounts.

“Anyone considering staying at Loews can be sure that what they are seeing is real, not the creation of a talented pro,” Doug Spitzer, Chief Creative Officer at Catch, said in a recent interview with AdFreak. “There are no tricks, wide angle, Photoshopped shots — like people rightfully complain about on social media. ‘Travel For Real’ is the real deal, through the eyes, and lenses, of our guests who loved the time they had at Loews.”

From a tattooed banjo player at the Loews Vanderbilt to a young guest with cucumber slices over her eyes by the waterfall at the Loews Portofino Bay, the agency paid to license some everyday images from amateur photographers for the campaign. Spitzer and the agency team took the quest for the right images pretty seriously, too. They’ve reviewed more than 35,000 images to date.

SEE ALSO: US Luxury Brand Shifts Its Attention Overseas

There’s No Substitute For Authenticity

In a category often dominated by too-perfect pictures and branding efforts, the new Loews campaign is a refreshing dose of authenticity. Take a look at most print and online advertisements for hotel accommodations, and your eyes can take a tour of coastlines with unnaturally blue water, expansive suites without any guests and lounge areas with hired models. While these may still appeal to some travelers, business and leisure guests alike are demanding a new era of brand transparency. In fact, a recent study conducted by UK-based media buying group Initiative revealed that trustworthiness and authenticity are two of the top five brand attributes for Millennials. What better way for hotels to be trustworthy than to show off the experience through real guests’ perspectives?

Loews isn’t the only hotel brand looking to engage a younger audience. Click here to check out how another major hotelier is working to attract more Millennials.

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