Roll out a communication campaign for the conversion from a traditional German hotel group with a high but old fashioned reputation to an international player.
In December 2018, Deutsche Hospitality launched a PR campaign with the aim to generate a new and innovative image, arise brand awareness of the five hotel brands and establish the umbrella brand “Deutsche Hospitality” as an international operating multi-brand hotel company. Second target was, to establish Deutsche Hospitality and the new CEO Thomas Willms as opinion leader within the hospitality industry. The campaign is based on the statement “German precision, global vision“.
The following sublines belong to this statement: Future through origin. Growth through trust. Quality through experience.
Deutsche Hospitality is the umbrella brand for the operations of Steigenberger Hotels AG. Deutsche Hospitality comprises around 150 hotels on three continents, more than 30 of which are currently under development. Five hotel brands are operated under the Deutsche Hospitality umbrella: Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts, MAXX by Steigenberger, Jaz in the City, IntercityHotel and Zleep Hotels. The corporation is headquartered in Frankfurt, with a total of around 10,500 people working for the brand family. Steigenberger Hotels AG is the fourth largest German hotel company.
Initial situation: Deutsche Hospitality is not perceived sufficiently by the public. The company is underrepresented in the market and synergies are not exploited to an optimum. The company's goal by 2024 is to double the number of hotels to 250 worldwide within four years
The Communication is based on the well-known Steigenberger-brand, which stands for "made in Germany" and therefore for quality, trust and a high level service. In the first step, the campaign was aimed primarily at the regional and national daily media in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. After the daily and weekly newspapers, the news agencies were approached, backed by company figures and reports on expansion, hotel openings and the acquisition of further brands.
The next campaign steps were interviews with the opinion-forming business magazines as well as business newspapers, inflight magazines and leading customer magazines of international brands. CEO Thomas Willms could be placed in several TV broadcast formats as opinion leader and visionary of the hotel industry. Supported by radio and podcast formats. This was followed by intensive media relations in the growth markets of UAE, Egypt and the Middle East, without neglecting the core markets in Europe.
The heart of the campaign has always been strategic expansion of Deutsche Hospitality’s brand development. As this continued to evolve, as announcements were followed by their implementation and the company kept its promises, the image change was achieved. In addition, Deutsche Hospitality has secured itself as the opinion leader in the industry and is perceived as an innovative and trustworthy company. Also as an attractive employer with international career opportunities.
With limited budget and only two weeks to create the campaign strategy, Deutsche Hospitality’s Corporate Communications team set to work. In the weeks and months to follow, Deutsche Hospitality became the “talk of the town” in the hospitality industry. The groups’ growth target to double the number of hotels to 250 on five continents by the year 2024 was widely perceived by investors and potential partners. Thomas Willms, who had become CEO of Steigenberger Hotels AG in January 2018 became the face of Deutsche Hospitality’s growth strategy.
Between December 2018 and up until July 2019, Deutsche Hospitality and Thomas Willms were featured in title stories and all relevant and leading media such as: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Dec 2018), Hotel News Now (Jan 2019), Retail & Leisure International (Feb 2019), Wirtschaftswoche (Feb 2019), Hospitality Inside (March 2019), Süddeutsche Zeitung (Mar 2019), CPP-Luxury (Mar 2019), Top hotel (Apr 2019), Hotel Management International (May 2019), Cost & Logis (Jun 2019), Mein Geld (Jul 2019), Handelsblatt (Jul 2019).
Simultaneously, all relevant international online trade news channels picked up the message which was also driven by the social media activities of the Corporate Communications team. The communication of the growth strategy also took centre stage at the industry’s most relevant trade shows ITB in Berlin and ATM in Dubai covering the PR spectrum of press conferences, panels, press talks and interviews. The press conference at ITB 2019 focussing on the relaunch of the Steigenberger brand generated 157 pieces of coverage and an equivalent advertising value (EAV) of 640,780 Euros. The PR measures around ATM in Dubai were rewarded by multi-channel coverage resulting in 41 pieces of coverage and reaching an audience of 33.3 million.
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