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The judges of the Best Group Marketing Campaign award took very little time to decide in favour of the entry from Hilton
They were looking for the most enterprising and effective campaign run by a hospitality business over the previous 12 months, and felt that Hilton's Family Breaks campaign demonstrated an excellent understanding of the target market, clear objectives and quantifiable results.
Hilton was praised for the quality of its materials, based around a cast of ‘funky and contemporary' cartoon characters under the name Planet Hilton. "I'd like to put half of it in my bag and take it home," joked judge Richard Ball, adding: "I thought it was excellent; very, very strong."
The judges also applauded the group for providing different offerings for different age groups. "It's superb - absolutely brilliant," said Pamela Carvell. "So many companies group kids together, putting two-year-olds with 12-year-olds, but they segment, with things for all ages."
Hilton launched the campaign in May 2003 to improve its standing in the family market. The move followed research which showed that although this was the fastest-growing segment of the short-breaks market, no one chain ‘owned' it or even offered a genuine product aimed solely at family guests.
By making good use of relationships with third parties like Sony and toy shop Hamleys, Hilton managed to keep costs down to £150,000 on marketing and a further £50,000 on product spend. And ultimately the campaign exceeded its target of generating more than £1m of traceable room revenue within its first season, just seven months from launch. A further benefit was the 49% increase in mailable family addresses on its customer database, boosting the chance of repeat business.
"The way they looked at the target market and quantified who they were aiming at was well done, as was the way they worked with their partners," said Gavin Hawthorn.
"Right from the beginning it was head and shoulders above the rest. It was very smart, with very measured results. All in all it was first class," added Annabel Baker.