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Hilton will return to space marketing to promote its hotels

Hilton will go back to space marketing to celebrate its 100-year brand history in the coming weeks in a nod to its famous ‘Lunar Hilton’ campaign, it was revealed at the Mumbrella Asia Travel Marketing Summit this week.

Speaking to an audience of 300 delegates at One Farrer Hotel in Singapore, Hilton Asia-Pacific director of consumer and digital communications Clare Woodford said the campaign would “lift off in June or July”.

Woodford would not be drawn on the specifics, but did tell Mumbrella it would not be a ‘Mars Hilton’ campaign. Back in the 1960s, founder Conrad Hilton demanded an advertising campaign that tapped into the public interest around going to the moon. The episode was even celebrated in a famous scene in the television show Mad Men.

During a keynote session, Woodford talked about the brand story of the last century, including a history of industry firsts that were celebrated with marketing and communications activations.

Initiatives such as the first airport hotel, the first multi-hotel reservations system, the first guest loyalty programme (Hilton Honors), the first chain to open in 100 countries and territories around the world and the first undersea hotel restaurant.

“Conrad was a marketing genius in his own right,” said Woodford. “He was a great storyteller and talked about how his hotels promoted world peace following the opening of the Istanbul Hilton in 1955. That opening allowed us to open up across the globe.”

Woodford has an eye on space marketing

Highlighting the sea of earned media and interest generated by the ‘Lunar Hilton’ campaign, she added: “The buzz was immense because space travel captured people’s imagination in the 1960s. And we haven’t forgotten about space so a new campaign will be coming soon.”

Pointing out that Conrad Hilton was the first person to indulge in celebrity influencer marketing by paying famous movie stars to stay at his hotels, Woodford claimed that the founder was engaged in public relations campaigns “before people even knew what PR was”.

Bringing the story up to the modern day, she talked about the Hilton Doubletree cookie as a symbol of the warmth and hospitality the brand wanted to communicate to consumers.

“We didn’t have a big budget for a large ad campaign so we needed something different to unify the brand,” she said.

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