Hotel Marketing Association

Hotel Marketing Association Blog

Fuelling a RED Revolution

In our latest Branding Notes, we asked Edinburgh-based creative agency Teviot more about their approach to delivering Carlson Rezidor their exciting new brand, Radisson Red. Agency Development Director Steve Christie takes it up from here.  



Carlson Rezidor had a new concept in mind for the hotel industry, a brand that was going to grab the sector by the scruff of the neck, spray its hair red and scream that tattoos are always cool!


The newest addition to their portfolio, Radisson Red, is heavily influenced by the music, fashion and art scenes and is aimed at a customer base with a free thinking, tech-savvy mind-set rather than a traditional ol’ marketing demographic.

At their heart they’re comfortable, accessible, ultra-stylish hotels but Carlson Rezidor want staying at a RED hotel to be an experience, something more akin to an art gallery social media rock gig!

Taking that thinking as our lead, we directed every aspect of the development of the brand from strategic workshops that defined the audience as the ‘Ageless Millennial’, which in turn informed the direction of a visual brand that can rather proudly be described as ‘in your face’.

The first challenge… How do you market a hotel brand that didn’t actually have any hotels yet? (the first is due to open 18th April, 2016) RED is a visual, tech-driven brand, so social media and blogging were the only places to be for the majority of the pre-launch marketing. We created highly targeted social content and interest pieces that played to the audience demographic and deployed them across a variety of platforms. The resulting engagement and awareness figures were pretty huge, even by our expectations and will only continue to grow as more hotels are added. RED is already, by any measure, the most socially engaged brand of the whole Carlson Rezidor portfolio.

red-website         red-advert

We weren’t only talking to guests though. A massive part of the RED experience are the employees, not only recruiting the right ones but making sure they’re 100% engaged with the brand and they understand how much of a part they play in the RED story.

So how do you find the right people? By talking to the right ones, in the right way, in the right places. We ran a bunch of short, sharp, quirky films across Instagram and Facebook to advertise employee castings. RED wanted to unearth the unique, the misfits, the unconventional and sometimes the just plain weird. It certainly worked!

So, you ageless rockers, throw your half finished beers over the snogging couple in front and put your phones in the air for Radisson Red.

Learn more about Teviot by clicking here



Come Together*

Ed Purnell, Chairman, Hotel Marketing Association

Ed Purnell, Chairman, Hotel Marketing Association

I am delighted to announce that we have now been able to align the Hotel Marketing Association with HOSPA, the Hospitality Finance, Revenue Management and IT Professionals Association, as part of a new management agreement. It’s an exciting new proposition for commercial specialists within the hospitality industry, one that many of ours and HOSPA’s communities will see as not only sensible, but already reflected in the microscale of their own daily tasks.

It’s always been a bit of a cock-fight inside the meeting room, with Sales & Marketing clashing with each other, let alone with Revenue Management and Operations. It was especially pleasing to hear the thoughts of the panel at a recent HMA event, led by Simon Francis of Flock – The Marketing Transformation Company, all of whom suggested that the last 12 months had seen a much healthier, positive working relationship between departments.

I’m personally of the belief that brands and hotels should be implementing change by creating a Commercial title into their organisation chart if they have not already. This role’s sole responsibility is to effectively project manage Sales, Marketing, Revenue Management and IT to ensure that they are focused on delivering what is required to meet the universal goals of the company. Too long has this title been slanted in name towards Sales or Marketing or both, resulting in caginess for either discipline and an imbalanced direction in strategy.

This Commercial role, however high and mighty it needs to be to allow for politics, succession and audibility within the Branded/Group sector or for clarity and focus in a single business unit, I hope will find this new management agreement between HOSPA and the HMA of particular relevance and interest.

I look forward to spending time with people and organisations that want to discuss ways in which they can participate in events, networking and content within the HMA and HOSPA in the wider context. I’d also like to mention the National Hotel Marketing Conference in May 2016 at which I hope to see many familiar and new faces.

* Headline inspired by the collaborations of George Martin (3 January 1926 – 8 March 2016)


It’s not too late to plan for Christmas…2016



Christmas is coming…but how can your business make the most of the season of goodwill. Ed Purnell, founder of TAPPED Consulting and Chairman of the HMA, highlights his top ten marketing tips for capitalising on Christmas in the hotel trade.


‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for the hotelier it is also the season to be prepared for your busiest time of the year. No one can fail to notice that for all business seasonal marketing is of course at its strongest around Christmas. In our trade we have to be savvy but there are some key points I would advise everyone to follow at Christmas.


Stay on plan

Go into Christmas with a strong social media plan and stick to it. There will be many temptations to over-elaborate the message or react to external factors, such as what the competition are doing. A resolute, pre-planned social media schedule, across all channels but particularly Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, will stand you in good stead for guest engagement and keep them switched on to your posts for the rest of the year.

Build the bigger picture

There will be a tonne of people in your hotel in the lead up to Christmas and New Year who will only see what’s in front of them – a party venue, an afternoon tea, a bar. Think about how you can build awareness of the rest of the hotel and inspire an additional experience from this crowd.

Forward-thinking hotels will have installed beacon technology to capitalise at this time. Naturally, traditional methods such as tent cards, bill stuffers and posters can still play a part, but let’s embrace the technology available to us and grow your appeal with these guests and drive future visits.

Collaborate the Christmas

Christmas is a time for collaboration. Leave no stone unturned in bringing relevant partners to light to surprise and delight your guests and gain that all important local PR. It’s a great way to get your staff motivated too, but make sure you train, train, train the message to ensure consistency and clarity as to why you have partnered with that particular brand.

Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree

The tree – ah yes, the good old Christmas Tree. Is it up yet? We all know that some hotels take their Christmas Trees to the max in pursuit of international fame. It’s great fun to read about trees adorned with £7million worth of jewellery in Abu Dhabi, or the 8,000 macaroon tree at the InterContinental in Paris. This all goes to show, don’t underestimate your tree’s appeal – it’s part of the tradition, it sets emotions racing and should be the centrepiece of the festive season at your hotel.

Set a retail strategy

Do you have a retail strategy in place for your hotel? Many of your guests will have their minds fully focused on shopping at this time. They will be scrutinising every inch of their stay for ideas and inspiration as to what to buy colleagues, friends and family. Furthermore, this should be a year round strategy, not just for Christmas.

This can be as simple as spa gift sets or hotel experience gift vouchers. Some of the more progressive hotels are beginning to sell interiors, artwork and local provenance goods; the holidays form a major part of their retail strategy. Check out what The Hoxton has created with its Hox Shop, for example. They’ve really excelled at bringing the outside in, curating the experience in each of their destinations.

Stick with your Christmas brochure

Christmas brochures – to print or not to print. Ok, let’s face it, we’d all prefer not to print one but the fact remains there’s life in the old dog yet. That said, it’s a tiresome process that needed to start in April and be in distribution from summer onwards. The age old challenge for marketers is to avoid the flying cutlery when asking Chef to meet the copy deadlines.

Keep it in the community

Playing your part in the local community at Christmas time is very important. But why just at Christmas? It’s important that you build the holidays into your CSR strategy rather than look for Christmas charities to support.

Start the year with Christmas in mind – build up to a great event during this time where you can celebrate the partnership and reflect on what part your hotel has played in raising awareness, funds and spirits throughout the course of the year.

Know your audience

You need to be mindful of how your guests will be receptive to your Christmas marketing. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities, but that doesn’t mean that your content needs to be ‘politically correct’. After all, your guests have chosen to come to your hotel and destination to experience it at first hand. Just make sure that you apply the right levels of commerciality and sophistication as necessary to support your service culture and level of hospitality.

Let your staff shine

Let’s face it, by the time December arrives it’s down to the staff on the ground. This is their time to shine. Make sure your marketing team do not to get in the way of the operation and allow your staff to build relationships with guests who are likely to be repeat customers, and who you would definitely like to see again. In effect, the Marketing team’s job on Christmas should be done by now and for you it’s about setting upon the data available to you during this time to generate repeat purchases and experiences.

Don’t forget family

Christmas is a time for family, whether that be a couple, parent’s with three young children, or four generations coming together for the first time in months. Be clear about your offering and try to cater to all within that. Mirror the importance of this festive, family holiday in your own hotel and the guests’ will feel right at home.


Ed Purnell is an experienced hospitality marketer, having held various senior roles with some of the world’s leading hotel brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts and Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In 2014, Ed founded TAPPED Consulting and currently serves as Chairman of the Hotel Marketing Association. He is also Marketing Director of HotelEtail


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