Hilton Hotels and Resorts has joined forces with The Onion, the satirical news website, to attract leisure travellers to its hotels. This follows in the footsteps of other advertisers who are using humour to lure younger customers.
Onion Labs, the creative services arm of the publishing company, has helped Hilton create a website, www.vacationcarecenter.hilton.com, that lets users diagnose their vacation needs and receive customised prescriptions for visits to Hilton hotels. Onion Labs has created cartoons that represent humorous ailments that afflict workers in need of a vacation. They are featured on the new site and have been designed to be shared by social media.
More than a third of the business of Hilton Hotels and Resorts is generated by leisure travellers, and the new campaign is directed at them, said Andrew Flack, vice president of global brand marketing.
“We are particularly targeting working professionals,” Flack said. “It’s becoming harder and harder to switch off work, harder for people to think about and plan vacations. This time of year is popular for people to plan vacation travel.”
The website, called the “Hilton Urgent Vacation Care Center,” asks visitors to take a quiz to receive their “vacation diagnosis.” Visitors are asked when they last took a vacation and how long it was; during which activties, such as a child’s birth or a first date, they check their office email; how long their commute is; and which activity they “look forward to most if/when” they take a vacation. The site also urges visitors to “stop vacationitis before it spreads,” and to view and share the disease’s 14 symptoms, illustrated by Onion Labs’ cartoons. These symptoms include “acute cancelitis,” “commuteritis,” “cubiclophobia” and “yellow Post-it fever.”
The customised remedies the site prescribes for visitors are vacations of different lengths and types, determined by how severe a case of “vacationitis” visitors have. All recommendations include links to Hilton Hotels’ online booking engine.
“We approached The Onion,” Flack said. “They’re experts at making fun of life. And they have their own audience they can share the site with, an attractive demographic 18 to 45. It’s an audience of up-and-coming travellers and an attractive audience for us.”
New York Times