How National Hotel Slipper Day became a holiday

We can thank Hotels.com...and Justin Bieber.

Company: Hotels.com
Campaign: National Hotel Slipper Day
Agency partners: ICF Next (PR)
Duration: March 1

Singer Justin Bieber’s love of hotel slippers is well-documented. So to celebrate the pop star turning 25, Hotels.com registered his birthday, March 1, as National Hotel Slipper Day.

Strategy
"We have a strong contingency of millennial travelers," said Jenn Dohm, Hotels.com’s head of PR.

To speak particularly to that target consumer, it has a finger on the pulse of pop and celebrity culture.

Bieber’s high-profile love of hotel slippers provided the perfect marketing opportunity.

Registering his birthday as the footwear-themed holiday allowed Hotels.com to celebrate Bieber and promote the luxury of a good hotel experience, from the robes to the room service, Dohm said.

"We know people have a lot of fun with national holidays, and people love wearing their slippers," she added. "Hotel slippers deserve their day."

Tactics
Planning began about a month out. The company was able to register National Hotel Slipper Day as an official holiday within a matter of weeks.

To celebrate and get the word out, Hotels.com created customized swag, including a hotel robe and slippers, which it sent to eight lifestyle influencers and select news outlets, along with a traditional media kit, prior to the announcement of the holiday.

On social, it teased the holiday in a series of stories on its Instagram. A few days before the big day, the campaign was announced on Twitter with a tweet wishing Bieber a happy early 25th.

On social media, Hotels.com offered consumers a $25 coupon for rooms booked on Bieber’s birthday. 

Results
National Hotel Slipper Day generated 51 earned media placements, including write-ups in Yahoo Lifestyle, Elite Daily, Page Six and USA Today.

On Instagram and Twitter, posts about the campaign were liked, shared or commented on 4,000 and 2,700 times, respectively. Of the eight influencers the brand sent swag to, five posted about the campaign on Instagram Stories. All influencer content was unpaid.

The budget was "very scrappy, with zero paid media," Dohm said.

That the campaign was nonetheless able to generate media coverage shows that "a cohesive story for your brand" can elevate a campaign from social to traditional earned media, she explained.

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