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The 'Hashtag' Era: Adventures in Marketing, Hotels Edition

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These days, it's just not enough for a hotel to offer plain old room and board. From
high-end to boutique, players in the hospitality game are peddling not only places to sleep, but also a highly branded "lifestyle experience" geared toward everyone from social media-obsessed millennials to party-ready hedonists. Do take a look at some major hotel marketing campaigns—in all their viral video and hashtag glory—below:

Really Healthy People:

(↑) Advertised as "the first ever wellness hotel brand," the health-minded Even Hotels—an off-shoot of IHG, which also owns the Holiday Inn—goes heavy-handed with its campaign. Each locale offers "organic signature cocktails," group exercise classes, and "wellness-savvy staff" that will storm your room and pry late-night peanut M&Ms right out of your hands, probably.

(↑) A major marketing push for the The Omni Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. centers around the hotel's "Ideal Nourishment Program," which basically boils down to low-calorie meal options, in-room workouts, and an inordinate amount of apple and water-bottle still-life photography on the website and Facebook.

(↑) The campaign behind the highly branded Biggest Loser Resorts—which are billed as "weight loss vacation resort destinations" in Chicago, Ill., Ivins, Utah, Malibu, Calif., and Niagra, N.Y.,—is all about cranking out the same results as the eponymous television show during one- to three-week stays. Guests participate in early-morning workouts, group discussions, and, of course, a whole lot of TV-watching. Talk about brand extensions, right?

(↑) Last year, the Kimpton Hotel group rolled out viral videos starring Mat, a yoga-mat mascot meant to promote the brand's commitment to healthy living, and the fact that every room comes with public bikes, on-demand yoga classes, and, yep, a complimentary yoga mat.

All-Mighty Millenials:

(↑) The Hampton Inn hotel group, not exactly known for its youth or trendiness (sorry guys), recently launched a campaign geared toward millennials and their love of social media. New TV spots feature hip, young people using the slightly clunky buzzword "#hamptonality" on Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and Twitter to describe their #awesome and #cheap (and affordable!) experiences.

(↑) Also getting in on the millennial game is the Radisson Hotel, which recently announced a hip new brand called Radisson Red. Set to launch in 2015 across America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the "youth-oriented" project will serve as a cool young sister to the Radisson, with trendier decor and a funky website that's already up and running.

(↑) Stepping up their social media game is also on the agenda for the Four Seasons Hotel, which has a reputation of being, well, if not formal than at least wildly out of the budget of most twenty-something travelers. Still, the Four Seasons' Instagram campaign—called "Four Seasons Fotog"—makes good use the #FSFotog hashtag.

(↑)The Double Tree has their own #DTourist hashtag, which the brand hopes will encourage young budget travelers to identify themselves as loyal to the cookie-shilling hotel group.

Posh Types Who Love the Finer Things in Life:

(↑) The upscale Mandarin Oriental hotel group has long been known for its celebrity-studded print and TV ads, which have featured such notable names as Kevin Spacey, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren. All together the ultra-high-end brand boasts 26 celebrity pals, all of whom are "loyal fans and regular visitors to our hotels."

(↑) It's hard to believe that the mild-mannered, glitz-averse Donald Trump would approve of the Trump Soho's "If success hasn't spoiled you, we will" tagline—as well as the brand's slideshow of rich folks doing fancy things.

(↑) New York's Pierre hotel succinctly sums up its entire marketing scheme with this tagline: "There are those who have stayed at the Pierre, and those who wish to." Well then.

Sexy Party People:

(↑) With the "just the right amount of wrong" tagline, snappy, bass-thumping television commercials and half-sexy, half-bizarre print adds, The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas unapologetically owns its provocative image. Since the popular campaign kicked off in 2010, the hotel has hosted such on-brand events as an on-site installation that invited the public to share their "right amount of wrong" secrets, as well as all-day parties.

(↑) There's absolutely nothing subtle about the promotional material for The Palms in Las Vegas. The website images set a certain raunchy tone, as does the fact that there's a so-called "Erotic Luxury Suite" with vibrating bed and a shower with a "center dancing poll and nightclub inspired lighting." Nobody is going to mistake this for a family-friendly resort.

(↑) Even less subtle! With its music video-style ads and endless scrolling photographs of half-dressed, smokey-eyed ladies, the Redbury Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. opts for one seriously sexy vibe.

Artsy, Roving Hipsters:

(↑) The Ace Hotel, AKA the reigning cool kids of the hotel game, identify themselves as "a collection of individuals—multiple and inclusive, held together by an affinity for the soulful." With its Instagram-filtered photos, tumblr-esque site layout, and, OK, totally hipster-centric decor, the bi-coastal brand continues to corner the trendy hotel market.

(↑) The Standard hotel also works to uphold a cool, edgy image, with regular artist collaborations, subversive ad campaigns—see a 2012 print ad, above—and keen effort to appeal to trendsetters. "We believe a good hotel is far more than a set of rooms," hotelier André Balazs once told the Times. "What makes a hotel unique is its personality, its social life, its cultural life."

(↑) Clearly designed with Wes Anderson's popular films at the top of mind, The Jane in NYC kills it when it comes to quirkiness. According to owner Sean MacPherson, a major part of the fantastical branding push involves creating a "tension between believability and lack of believability." With this in mind, everything from the rooms to the website and advertisements have a cartoon quality.

The Line Hotel—a much buzzed about new hotel built out of the shell of a 1960s Hyatt in Los Angeles—offers a full hipster package. There's a sleek, high-design website, tons of semi-minimalist of-the-moment decor, and quirky amenities like free vintage bike rentals and "curated" snacks.

Really Really Really Ridiculously Good-Looking People:

(↑) It's hard to tell exactly who the Holiday Inn is going for in its new TV spots, which offer equal screen time to millennials, business men and women, and families. The only binding trait seems to be the fact that every singly person in the advertisement is ridiculously attractive. If we are to believe the hype, the Holiday Inn is fast on its way to becoming a secret utopia for the hot...Chingy will be pleased.

(↑) The Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas tries for a similar approach, with a series of television commercials featuring sexy twin maids—oh, feeble imagination—doing a remarkably shoddy job of cleaning up a hotel suite, with the tagline "this is how we Vegas."

(↑) The marketing campaign for the post-renovations Palms, also in Vegas, puts forth the tagline "we put the model in remodel," which seems to suggest that the clientele is just as good looking as the hotel's renovations.

· Biggest Loser Resorts [Official site]
· The Cosmopolitan Invites Guests to Confess Their Sins and Fears [Brand Channel]
· The Cosmopolitan Hotel [Official site]
· Standard Hotel [Official site]
· Ads for the Standard Are Far From Standard [NYT]
· Wes Anderson Films Have Influenced the Look of Two New York City Hotels [Condé Nast Traveler]
· Mandarin Oriental [Official site]
· Hampton Inn [Official site]
· Radisson to Launch Hotel for Millennials [WSJ]
· Taj Hotels [Official site]
· Holiday Inn [Official site]
· Holiday Inn's New Ad Targets Families, Millennials and Biz Travelers (Pretty Much Everyone) [Hotel Chatter]
· Kimpton Hotels [Official site]
· All Hotels Week 2014 posts [Curbed National]