Celebrity marketing in hotels

Celebrities have never had it so good in celeb-obsessed America! An endorsement from a power personality has rarely failed to do the job – nothing like a famous face on a mundane product OR starpower for a serious message. Celeb marketing extends to a range of products and even cities – NYC & Company is currently (successfully) using iconic figures like Tiki Barber and Robert de Niro in a campaign to welcome visitors to the Big Apple.

Then why do hotels and/or hotel chains rarely if ever employ celebrities? Instead , hotels prefer to tout great rates, great deals, great packages, best rates until consumers can’t tell one offer from the other or one hotel from the other. The Priceline negotiator is a rare exception – advertising that cuts through the clutter!

Here are a few theories on why celebs and hotels don’t mix…

– Celebrities can fall out of favor and engage in unpredictable anti-role model behavior! Notoriety does not usually work in marketing though it may help plug books!
– Celebrities are known to switch loyalties at the drop of a hat or a much fatter paycheck
– Celebrities are better at plugging generic, broader, safer causes like “California tourism” or events like “American Idol” than a specific product.
– You can’t put a celeb mugshot on the hotel experience! (though you can put it on a packaged food).

Today’s traveler seeks out unique experiences, above-the-commonplace activities and superior hotel stays. They expect satisfaction from every facet of their vacation. Hotels need to break new ground with their advertising to reach the above-the-commonplace, jaded-with-salescopy consumer! American Express’s celeb-rich ” My card, my life” is an example (though viewers didn’t need a voice over reminding them that famous people don’t have time to shop!)

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.