Despite having a wide range of brands suited to business travel and locations in 90% of the top U.S. business markets, Choice Hotels was widely considered a “leisure brand” by the company’s most important B2B target audience—the corporate travel managers who oversee business travel partnerships at Fortune 1000 companies. Our challenge was twofold: help generate business from new and existing corporate customers, and simultaneously work to influence what today’s travel managers know—or think they know—about Choice Hotels.
Our thorough discovery process included industry research, SME interviews, and a full content and messaging audit in collaboration with the B2B marketers at Choice Hotels. We determined that a fully integrated customer lifecycle marketing initiative was the best way for Choice to grow market share and break through its image barriers at the same time. We needed to create a program that would acknowledge industry perceptions about Choice Hotels for corporate travel, and address them with valuable content offers that would position Choice not only as a great option for businesses but also as an expert resource and partner ready to help customers navigate their most pressing business travel issues.
To build a brand platform for the customer lifecycle marketing initiative, we first focused on brand-centric activities, including creating a unique look and feel for the program that worked within Choice’s existing brand standards, plus unique messaging, a reenergized brand voice and a campaign themeline—We mean business.
These elements were reflected in the lifecycle marketing campaign, which was designed with three discrete phases: suspects, current opportunities and existing customers. We developed a host of content assets that covered emerging trends and challenges corporate travel managers face every day, and married that to automated lead generation via Pardot and Salesforce that nurtured these customers with further content, based on their phase of the buy cycle, digital body language, industry and persona. These campaigns were tightly integrated into the Choice sales process so that converted leads and high-value content engagements were sent immediately to sales for follow-up.
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