How The Hilton Group enticed staycationers with fancy dog food
Tin Man for The Hilton Group won at The Drum Awards for PR 2022 in the Best Hospitality category for its ‘Bone Appetite’ campaign. Here, we find out why Hilton handed out fancy food to dogs.
'Bone Appétit' campaign from The Hilton Group
With the pandemic curtailing international travel The Hilton Group needed to entice the British public to take domestic holidays. Tin Man’s idea was to introduce a dog food menu across Hilton’s UK hotels to encourage dog owners to holiday with their pets.
The pandemic meant 30% more Brits intended to take a holiday in the UK in 2021. Hilton wanted to improve consideration, increase bookings and be part of the staycation conversation.
The campaign was built on the insight that pet-friendly travel had become the third most searched term on Hilton’s website. Pet ownership had also increased by 3.2 million during the pandemic. These two facts led to the idea of enticing customers by making Hilton a destination to bring your dog. The strategy then was to improve the hotel chain’s dog offering.
'Bone Appétit' was developed as a limited-edition menu for dogs available in over 30 Hilton hotels across the UK and Ireland. The menu was based on human meals like Mutt Roast, Beef Doguignon, Beef Brisket, Christ-Mutt Pudding.
To promote the initiative Tin Man created premium picture and video content using earned and paid media as well as distributed on its owned channels. Influencers and ‘dog-influencers’ were used including @rupert_the_bear_and_friends (19.4k followers) and@darcy_boris_and_lily (32.1k followers). Media sampling also was given to publications like The Evening Standard and This Morning.
To amplify the campaign, Hilton launched an internal competition for employees to win a stay at one of the participating hotels by entering a picture of their dog on social with the #PutYourPawsUpAtHilton.
The campaign generated 103 pieces of coverage including 13 national publications and five broadcast channels such as This Morning, CNN and ABC. The likes of The Evening Standard and The Daily Star even ran reviews of the menu in their food section.
Hilton's 10 social posts had a combined reach of 5.7 million. The PR and social approach boosted search inquiries on the Hilton website by 2,000.