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Choice Hotels Targets Tech-Savvy Biz Travelers with Digital Exclusive Campaign

Cambria Hotels, Choice Hotels’ upscale brand, is on its way to opening its 50th hotel in major metropolitan markets across the country. The target audience for Cambria Hotels is business travelers, and historical data proved that the brand resonated with this group and was a popular repeat choice once they had tried it. 

To help this vital travel segment become even more aware of and trial the brand, Choice Hotels has rolled out a digital marketing campaign to target guests where they're most likely to be -- on mobile devices.


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"For us, our Cambria brand target is tech-savvy, time-starved business travelers who are always on their phones," says Robert McDowell, Chief Commercial Officer, Choice Hotels.

For this reason, Choice Hotels found it made much more sense to concentrate a marketing campaign in a digital-only format. This strategy also allows Choice to enter a new market faster and provides the ability to test ads in real-time to see how potential guests are responding. If Choice detects that the ad campaign isn't working as well as it wants, it can quickly pivot to change its messaging or approach, McDowell added.

"Digital allows us to do a lot of test-and-learn and evolve the campaign, even when it is in-market," he notes.

In particular, the brand singled out Pandora, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to spend its digital ad dollars. It chose Facebook and Instagram primarily because they are the top forums for travel inspiration and provided Choice Hotels with an impactful platform to showcase the Cambria brand using beautiful photography. Business travelers often spend a lot of time on LinkedIn while traveling, so this network made a lot of sense for showcasing the Cambria brand and keeping it top of mind. Pandora has a large U.S. audience and is efficient at reaching people in-market. These channels were selected for their ability to raise awareness of the brand, keep it top of mind, and encourage business travelers to trial the brand while traveling, McDowell added.

One reason Cambria resonates so well with business travelers is because Choice Hotels has figured out the type of rewards that make the most sense for this segment. For instance, when a Choice Privilege member checks in to a Cambria location, they automatically receive a $10 credit which is good for anything at the onsite marketplace or the hotel's restaurant. Additionally, the Choice Privileges loyalty program gives guests access to a perk called "Your Extras." With this benefit, guests are given instant access to a gift card good at Starbucks, Uber, or Amazon. For business travelers, who often are powered by caffeine and transportation services, this is a perk that resonates. During the current ad campaign, guests will be given double Your Extras points as an added incentive to get them to trial the Cambria brand. Finally, Choice is offering all Cambria guests – regardless of status level – access to a special status matching program. This allows guests to jump to Diamond status after checking in at a Cambria hotel, and is meant to be an added incentive to get them to engage with Choice Privileges and stay at a Cambria Hotel.

As the marketing campaign progresses, Choice Hotels will determine its success by looking at a variety of factors. For example, if there has been an uptick in reservations, how many credits are being offered and redeemed by guests, how many gift cards, and how many guests are being upgraded to Diamond Elite status, McDowell explains. 

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