VR Campaign Amplifies St Giles Message of Centrality, Immersion

St Giles Hotels said it launched the global St Giles 360 Virtual Reality (VR) campaign in June 2016 to showcase one of the brand’s strongest pillars: centrality. St Giles differs from other hotel brands using VR technology in that it’s the first hotel brand to use completely user-generated video footage to capture guests’ authentic experiences. As a result, St Giles’ VR ambassadors brought viewers on a journey across the sights and sounds of the cities in which St Giles hotels are centrally located, including London, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Manila and Sydney. Overall, the 360 campaign was designed to connect both hotel guests and other travelers with enriching local experiences steps away from St Giles’ global properties.
“One of our aims was to create something that our guests and viewers could have a little fun with, something interactive, engaging, and cool, that anyone could watch a few times over and discover something new in the 360 experience,” said Abigail Tan, Head of St Giles U.S.A, U.K. and Europe. “Our goal with the St Giles 360 campaign was to breathe further life into what it means to Be Central, which in itself defines such a special guest experience, with the aim to inspire guests to explore and be themselves in a new location.”
The St Giles 360 campaign is an evolution of the Be Central, Be St Giles campaign which launched in March 2016. It explored what it means to “Be Central” for St Giles guests by demonstrating how being in the center of their destination enables them to enjoy the most enriching travel experiences. Whereas the Be Central campaign showcased the St Giles experience from a brand perspective, the St Giles 360 campaign instead tells the story from the guest perspective. The goal behind this campaign was to amplify the St Giles brand messaging of centrality and connect viewers with the immersive experience of staying at a St Giles property through Virtual Reality, while reflecting the brand’s core attributes – experiential, independent, added value, location-centric, curated, genuine, accessible, modern, metropolitan. The 360 campaign also strengthened the brand’s association among travelers, and has now given guests the opportunity to act as ambassadors to show how easy it is to enjoy the cities in which St Giles are located.
To capture the VR footage, brand new Samsung Gear 360 cameras were purchased and sourced specifically for the campaign. An open casting-call was issued across four continents in search of both hotel guests and social influencers to capture how staying at St Giles’ centrally located hotels enables them to enjoy authentic local experiences in these cities. Hours of captured footage resulted in a digital campaign comprised of 31 videos and images to engage, inspire and immerse viewers.
“For this campaign, we wanted to push the capabilities of 360 video. We wanted to see how far this exciting new medium could go in advancing traditional story telling technique," said Rob Sabatini, creative director, Piranha, who helped execute the campaign. "By collaborating with hotel guests and social media influencers, and stitching that footage together in unique edits for six cities, we were able to find an authentic voice that helped highlight the centrality of St Giles Hotels.” 
St Giles can definitely say it raised awareness for the brand and introducing St Giles to new audiences via the global campaign based on the results: video views, hotel bookings, app downloads and online impressions. The 360 campaign videos alone generated roughly 196,701 views through various media channels, including Facebook, YouTube, OmniVirt and the St Giles app. The campaign’s microsite attracted visitors around the world in the U.S., U.K. Canada, Australia and various European cities. And the app itself was downloaded 715 times. Using social media, St Giles reached 4.4 million Facebook users, 1.9 million twitter users and 1.8 million Instagram users. These results point to an expanded reach for the St Giles brand, which is creating a more expansive brand presence to match their ever growing hotel portfolio.

At #HTNEXT, Tan will present on the topic: "Engaging Guests by Enabing a Digital Journey." She will discuss how St Giles leverages virtual reality to engage guests and to see from their perspectives, what it actually means for them to “Be Central” in London, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Penang and Sydney. She will also share how the company engages guests in the campaign from the creation and sharing of immersive content, to procuring guests’ videos, and what role virtual reality will play in the company’s overall customer engagement strategy. Tan will explain the process from conception to next phases as well as how St Giles 360 crosses a microsite, app and social media channels. To learn more about this session or to register for the event, please visit: www.ht-next.com
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