Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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 


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


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 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Impact of Paris Attacks on World Tourism

Like the #911 Attacks, the Paris Attacks may forever change the way how people travel, would you agree? More so, I think the agreements in European Union and Schengen Visa may also need to be revisited just to keep the borders and Europe safe. 

Let's support our friends in France and hope the world will get healed soon. Visit MultiBriefs for a full coverage of the story. 
#Paris #Attacks #Tourism #Travel #EU #Schengen #Safety 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Expedia Is Buying HomeAway

The biggest OTA (online travel agent) site - Expedia is buying HomeAway for $3.9 billion, according to NBC News. The sharing economy is growing, with more people using services like Uber and AirBnB. Do you think this is a smart move for Expedia? How does this acquisition help Expedia in defending its leadership position in the OTA market?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why WeChat is not a "real" social media app

Social media allows mass communications, but WeChat does not.  When people post something on a social media website, such as Facebook, people can interact with their friends' friends even thought they may not connect with their friends' friends on Facebook. They can also search and participate in trending conversations with the aids of hashtags. Can people do that on WeChat?

People can only interact with the friends with direct connections on WeChat. Let's say two people, Tom and Amy are "friends" on WeChat. I happen to know both of them in person but I am only connected with Tom on WeChat. When Tom posts an update, Amy and I can both respond to Tom's update, but I will not be able to see the conversation between Amy and Tom. Likewise, Amy will not able to see my conversation with Tom because Amy and I are not connected. The hashtags do not work on WeChat either.

Therefore, I don't think WeChat is a real social media tool. And because most social media tools are blocked in Mainland China, people living there really don't have a voice on social media.

The fact that people don't have access to social media in Mainland China does not surprise me, however. Things have always been well controlled for decades. What shocks me the most is people's choice when they are presented with options.

I met a nice lady last week, who told me she originally came from Shanghai and had been working at Cal Poly Pomona for over 10 years. We briefly talked about the firewall issues in Mainland China. Her response was: "I only want one-to-one conversation like what WeChat offers. I don't want Facebook or any other social media tools. They are just too much! Why bother?" When she said "I,"  her attitude and body language suggested that she was referring to the people living in China. All of a sudden, she became very offensive.

I was shocked. It is fine for people not to use the real social media tools. And yes, they may choose to have one-to-one conversation via SMS, WeChat, e-mails, or phone calls, but the question is: Do we want people to have the option of carrying on one-to-many or many-to-many conversations besides one-to-one conversation?

I certainly respected her choice, and I stopped the conversation. Yet, her comments keep me wonder what Mainland Chinese really want. Unfortunately, they cannot answer my question as they are not allowed on Blogger.com.  

Friday, August 14, 2015

Academic conferences: Can it be fun too?

I attended the annual  conference of iCHRIE (International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education) Summer Conference in Orlando, FL in July/August. It was an annual event where a group of hospitality professors and graduate students get together to showcase their research and network with one another. 

It was nice catching up with other scholars and friends in the conference, but honestly, I don't feel people are very excited about the conference. Reasons may include: 

  • Most researchers receive no incentives for conference proceedings. 
  • Not all presentations are interesting; some are very boring. 
  • Too much emphasis is put on theoretical contributions rather than meaningful practical impacts. 
  • Networking events only take place within the conference hotel and lack of opportunities to explore the destination. 
I then wonder what will be the remedies. Will it help by providing more training in public speaking to the presenters? How about offering a variety of networking events in different venues? Can we ask our own hospitality professionals or the experts in event management to help us plan some fun activities? What do you think?

#Academic #Conference #EventManagement #EventPlanning #MultiBriefs #Blog #Hospitality #Tourism #CHRIE