Background

With over 270 properties in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, Choice Hotels provides a wide range of accommodation offerings at diverse destinations – each with its own story to tell. Aware that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, Icon and Choice Hotels Asia-Pac saw the opportunity to capture and share Australian travel stories for a creative campaign on Instagram. With 500 million users sharing things they love, Instagram offers a window to their world. Icon researched methods to capitalise on Instagram’s popularity, including its rise in influencers and experts, to raise awareness of the Choice Hotels brand.

Solution

Icon and Choice Hotels crafted the concept of a TravelGrammer campaign, #ChoiceTravelGrammer2016. TravelGrammers from across the country would visit a Choice Hotel property for a fun-filled weekend of adventure, emphasising the benefits of Choice Hotels and each property’s location. 
As part of the campaign, Icon implemented strong communications and PR activities to engage Lauren Bath (@laurenepbath), Australia’s first professional Instagrammer, as a campaign host; drive interest to the #ChoiceTravelGrammer2016 event; and ultimately work to raise awareness of the Choice Hotels brand among travel, online and consumer audiences. 

As the campaign commenced, 21 TravelGrammers were selected from almost 1000 submissions for a unique 32-hour itinerary. They explored the local area and the variety of activities to be enjoyed and the choice available when selecting travel destinations. 

In late July the TravelGrammers, mentored by Lauren, left for Choice Hotels throughout the country and began their mission—to document the true essence of the Choice Hotels brand through unique and creative Instagram posts.

Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific

Outcomes

For Choice Hotels, the TravelGrammer campaign was a social media sensation – and the biggest Instagram campaign in Australia’s tourism industry this year. 

The campaign hashtag, #ChoiceTravelGrammer2016, generated more than 450 posts, including an overall reach of nearly 12.3 million across social media. TravelGrammer Shane Taylor (@shaniac_t_photography) was the top content contributor with 29 branded posts, far exceeding the expected 10 posts. 

Choice Hotels saw a rise in level of awareness and engagement amongst consumer, travel and industry trade audiences. Followers of @Choice_ Hotels_AP grew 255% from 541 at the beginning of the campaign to 1922 following the winner announcement. Articles about the campaign and winners featured in trade publications, contributing to the campaign’s total global reach, which was over 12.6 million across both traditional and social media. 

While the campaign was Instagram-focused, social media posts popped up on other sites. Twitter had 4% of mentions, while Facebook had 2%, leaving the remaining 94% for Instagram. 

Icon’s data collection for the period 30 June to 8 August revealed a 36.5% share of voice for Choice Hotels on Instagram, a substantial growth from the minimal Instagram presence for Choice Hotels prior to the campaign. Additionally, the campaign activity accounted for over 15% of the total Choice Hotels (global) social media share of voice. 

Choice Hotels crowned TravelGrammer Jules Ingall (@JulesIngall) of Gold Coast, Queensland the #ChoiceTravelGrammer2016 winner. She will soon join Lauren on an exclusive three-day trip to launch her Australian travel Instagrammer career.