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Loews' Advertising Campaign: Subliminal Messages Included (by Sarah Wendee)

Introduction and Background

As a luxury hotel chain, Loews Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio currently consists of 23 properties located in city centers and resort destinations. The company is previously known for their “Good Neighbor Policy,” a campaign released in 1990. Through this campaign, Loews Hotels vowed to take part in ethical business practices regarding their social responsibilities. The company is also previously recognized for their campaign called “Loews Hotels Minority Business Enterprise Program,” which provided financial support to small businesses owned and operated by women and minorities. Through this program, qualified candidates could potentially initiate a partnership with Loews Hotels and Resorts. Most recently, Loews began “The Room You Need” campaign which was an attempt to target a younger demographic by the use of images portraying models around the age of 35.

The Campaign and Advertisement

Loews Hotels and Resorts Chain recently started an advertisement campaign that uses Instagram images taken by their guests to advertise and sell the use of their hotel. #TravelForReal is the hashtag that was created, allowing the guests to display their experiences from their own perspectives. The campaign uses the slogan: “'Travel For Real' is the real deal, through the eyes, and lenses, of our guests who loved the time they had at Loews" (Gianatasio, 2015). In order to capture this concept, the company selected an array of images from a diversified group of guests. Their portfolio included images such as a young girl at the pool with cucumbers over her eyes, a tattooed young adult playing an instrument in his room, and a gay Mid-western wedding.

Loews Hotel in Hollywood, CA 

Critiques

Loews Hotels and Resorts is definitely not the first company to promote their business on social media. However, it has proved to be effective for their occupancy rates in the short run. Other companies that have used these methods include, but not limited to, Apple Inc. and Marc Jacobs. While Apple Inc. is using their photos as a representation of the quality of their product, it seems that Loews may have used this Instagram campaign solely to remove themselves from a reputation of being “old-fashioned.”

As demonstrated in the classroom and in the film “Behind Closed Doors”, The Ritz Carlton is able to provide a luxurious experience to their ladies and gentlemen through their ladies and gentlemen’s approach at service. The Ritz Carlton is leading the industry in the luxury segment and is able to break down the elements that make them successful. “Horst Schulze, who made Ritz Carlton into a synonym for high end luxury, describes the paradox of delivering a luxury hospitality experience: highly active yet private, tranquil but exciting, confidently delivered but not arrogant, distinct while being familiar, all the latest technology yet feeling timeless, not trendy” (HSMAI, 2015). Loews Hotels and Resorts, on the other hand, seem to be moving into the direction of trendy. Although the hotel asks for permissions from the guests before broadcasting their images, this concept does not demonstrate privacy.

Is Loews Hotels and Resorts catering their campaigns toward marketing to the right clientele? Perhaps, a luxury brand hotel such as Loews Luxury Hotels and Resorts should not be using Instagram pictures that appeal to the masses and not their specific target market.

Furthermore, the “Travel For Real” campaign featured a “gay Mid-western wedding,” an indication of support for equality and same-sex relations. It appears that the chain is trying to double up on their campaign and “kill two birds with one stone”.  Will this advertising method save the company money or will they end up confusing their clientele? Have they have taken the role of the ethical mediator by brining these ideas to the hospitality industry? Is it the hospitality industry’s job to promote equality or religion, and take a stance in the matter? Is there a specific target market for the luxury segment or is it based on the property?
 
About the Author: 

Sarah Wendee is a fourth year student at The Collins College of Hospitality Management with an emphasis in private club management. She recently completed an internship at a private club in New Jersey in the membership department and a special events internship at a private club in Rhode Island this past summer. She is an Ambassador for The Collins College, as well as the President of CMAA (Club Managers Association of America). She took HRT 390 to expand her knowledge about the trends and effectiveness of advertising and public relations within the hospitality segment. Connect Sarah Wendee on LinkedIn

References:

Elliott, Stuart. "Lodging Chain Offers ‘Room’ With a View." The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 July 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
Gianatasio, David. "These Luxury Hotel Ads Use Instagram Shots Instead of  Professional Photos." AdWeek. AdFreak, 25 June 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
"HSMAI RESORT BEST PRACTICES." Executive Summary (2007): n. pag. The Estis Group. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
 "Loews Initiatives | Loews Hotels and Resorts." Loews Hotels. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
Manalo, Joyce. "Loews Hotels Ad Campaign Uses Guests' Instagram Photos to Refresh the Brand." Skift. N.p., 15 July 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

* The picture of Loews Hotels Hollywood CA was downloaded from http://loweshotels.com 

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