Inside IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Department of Epic

The brand is embracing anticipation for travel with a campaign to get travelers back on the road.

Inside IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Department of Epic

After a year of little to no travel, IHG Hotels & Resorts is giving back to their guests by launching the Department of Epic, dedicated to making 2021 vacation experiences worth the wait for consumers.

The integrated campaign, supported by Allison+Partners, launched with a contest that will give one U.S.-based traveler the chance to win 365 days’ worth of hotel experiences at IHG brands, including InterContinental, Kimpton and Holiday Inn Express.

The focus of the campaign is capturing the desire of wanting to go on fun, once-in-a-lifetime adventures and see the world after being unable to travel due to the pandemic. 

Claire Bennett, global chief customer officer at IHG, said that the inspiration for the campaign came from when she heard someone talk about how they missed celebrating their 25th birthday and wanted to redo everything about it. 

“We wanted to take the opportunity to take those missed moments and make them epic. If someone is going to redo those events, how do we make them epic so that they don’t feel like they lost out, but that they gained?” said Bennett. 

This campaign is important for IHG because it promotes all of its 16 brands and keeps them at the front of consumers’ minds as travel restarts. 

“For IHG, the reason this is such a significant campaign is because they have spent so much time over the years promoting each of their individual brands, but really saw an opportunity to bring personality and drive affinity to IHG as a whole,” said Emily Sawyer, consumer EVP of Allison+Partners. 

In addition to free hotel stays, the winner will win perks such as a snack setup at each of their stays, a dinner reservation at IHG’s award-winning restaurants once a month, a new home mattress that's the same as their favorite deluxe mattress from their hotel stays, a private car and more. 

The contest is taking place on social media where contestants are being challenged to go on Instagram and Twitter to “tell IHG why they need an epic vacation, without telling IHG they need an epic vacation,” using #IHGTellMeContest and tagging @ihghotels. 

The brand is pushing the sweepstakes on social media via influencer content. The participating influencers, like Corporate Natalie, are popular amongst the next generation of travelers and are creating content focusing on the tell-me challenge.  

In addition to the sweepstakes, the Surprise & Delight Program will give all guests who stay on IHG property the opportunity to be “Epic’d” and to be rewarded with extras such as hotel slippers and a penthouse booking. 

The campaign also included a Clubhouse activation that allowed people to get the instant vacation feeling from home by tuning into a hotel audio soundscape that takes listeners through the virtual journey of a hotel experience for a 12-hour stream. 

“Travel is very sensory. Social media plays well visually, but there are the sounds of travel that people just know and are part of their lives so we thought that was an interesting way to break through,” said Bennett. 

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