New Hilton Ads Target Consumers' 'Big Day'

Hilton's mid-range hotel chain, Garden Inn, has begun a national campaign that includes interactive, print and broadcast with the theme, "Tomorrow's a Big Day."

The effort, via Santa Ana, Calif.-based DGWB Advertising and Communications, as well as L.A.-based Swafford & Company Advertising, focuses on hotel features and amenities. But rather than show the features by themselves, the ads show guests enjoying them as they prepare for a business, social or recreational event.

Jim Cone, vice president/marketing for Hilton Garden Inn, says that the focus on people is new. "Over the last few years we have built--year after year--a focus on how our brand helps guests achieve a combination of work and leisure on the road. In the past, we had focused on amenities."

Print ads run through the remainder of the year in titles like USA Today, INC., Golf Digest and Fast Company. Online ads at,, and others drive traffic to, which houses a series of 15-second video vignettes.



Cone says that Garden Inn doesn't specifically target business travelers, but rather, a broader range of guests who come for specific reasons--business, sports, or social events such as weddings. "So we really focus on smart, productive travelers who are preparing for the next day." Garden Inn's brand tag line is "Everything. Right where you need it."

He says the effort parcels amenities into five themes: Sleep Deep, Work Smart, Stay Fit, Eat Well and Treat Yourself.

The sleep creative--both print and video vignettes--shows a woman asleep on a Garden Inn bed and touts the technology in the "Garden Inn Sleep System" with beds that adjust to a person's body and use air baffles to eliminate pressure points. The Eat Well creative, promoting the hotel's food service options, suggests that "Tomorrow is a big day, way too important to trust to a Danish."

In addition to the online vignettes, there are links allowing consumers to explore various areas of the hotel. The company is also running a golf promotion, the "Great HGI Golf Giveaway," in which guests who stay over on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday through Oct. 21 have greens fees waived. That effort is supported by a spot running on ESPN golf coverage.

For the sixth consecutive year, Hilton's Garden Inn topped the J.D. Power survey, "North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study," released on Tuesday. The study is based on responses gathered between June 2006 and June 2007 from 47,634 guests who stayed in a hotel between May 2006 and June 2007.

Garden Inn ranked highest in guest satisfaction in the mid-scale, full-service segment of the market. Hilton's Embassy Suites brand won top honors in the survey's upscale segment, and its Homewood Suites brand was first place in the extended-stay segment of the market. The top luxury brand was the Ritz-Carlton, and Microtel Inns was the top economy brand, per the survey.

Cone says Garden Inn, with 327 properties, is the fastest-growing division of Hilton Hotels. "In the next twelve months, we will open 70 hotels in North America, and in 2008 will open a hotel in India and China, with deals to open substantial properties in each [country]," he says, adding that next year the company also plans to open properties in Poland, the U.K. and Costa Rica, as well as a third Garden Inn in Italy.

In 2009, the brand will expand into Russia and add a second property in Germany, per Cone.

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