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Stay Hilton Experience Asia

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Hilton was looking to change audience perception of its brand from a business-oriented hotel to one that incorporated leisure in the world’s most sought-after destinations. Its goal was to reach and engage its target audience (educated, 18-44 age group, household income $100k+, premium travellers), involve them with the Hilton brand, making it their individual/personal brand story and create unforgettable experiences. Hilton wants the consumer to experience its trademark hospitality and local insights they have to offer in a “come walk with me” journey. The idea, though online driven, needed to extend across platforms to deliver greater impact and effectively cover APAC.

Hilton wanted a campaign marketed to premium leisure travellers throughout Asia-Pacific as well as to engage the audience differently by allowing travellers to experience the brand for themselves. It was keen to develop a consumer engagement idea to bring to life Hilton’s famous hospitality and share this story through the eyes of real-life travellers.


CNN International’s strategy was simple: to create a sustained marketing programme on CNN, unique to Hilton Hotel, with target audience engagement at the forefront. It wanted a strategy that would allow Hilton to prove itself as a premier hotel with first class hospitality and service, not just for business travel, but for Asian leisure travellers., being CNN’s Travel dedicated website, was selected as the ideal online platform for this campaign – its content was Asia Pacific oriented, “travel-tainment” style, humourous and engaging.’s user demographic comprised of English-speaking, lifestyle-oriented, young (between the ages of 25-44), cosmopolitan and high-income individuals (Ipsos - PAX Survey 2012/2013) – perfectly overlapping Hilton’s target audience.

Key demographics and platforms identified, the next step was to effectively captivate and excite the audience. Heightened audience participation and involvement via a bespoke integrated CNNGo and Hilton contest drove deeper engagement. The campaign was well encapsulated in a catchy tagline – Stay Hilton Experience Asia (SHEA), as it wanted the audience to experience true Hilton hospitality while on a trip to an exciting Hilton destination in Asia. The chance to win a Hilton getaway experience & “5-minutes” of fame through CNN’s travel platform was a huge driver for participation. To sustain exposure, buzz and create strong brand advocacy around the winners’ experiences, the journey was captured on video and blog posts. Hilton’s target audience following the campaign gains experiential knowledge of the Hilton brand, properties and services through the journey of their peers. The ‘followers’ are actively engaged as they stand a chance to win their own Hilton getaway via further quizzes.

Social media was harnessed to create buzz, drum up excitement and solicit participation while Hilton’s brand advertising fitted seamlessly alongside the campaign.


Phase 1 generates participation through a contest. The audience was invited to impress Hilton with their video entries on why they loved to travel, for a chance to win a trip to a Hilton destination. Besides CNNGo’s online banners and social media posts, TV teasers ran on CNN Asia feed, driving traffic to the SHEA microsites, amplifying the ‘voice’ of the campaign. Entry videos submitted were featured on the SHEA microsite, engaging target audiences including those not entering the video contest, generating much social media buzz.

Phase 2 sees the top 3 SHEA video entrants won a trip to Hilton Hotel’s Melbourne, Osaka and Beijing locations. They experienced Hilton’s premier hospitality and top-notch service within the hotel, as well as the particular destination’s iconic locations (a Hilton concierge was their personal guide). These experiences were captured on camera and transformed into an eye-catching 60s advertorial of their journey.

In Phase 3, winners’ adventures were documented on the SHEA microsite blog page where they shared exciting pictures and write-ups with the rest of the CNN audience. Advertorials showing the trips’ highlights were aired on TV and hosted on the blogs. Audiences following the ‘journey’ stood a chance to win their very own Hilton experience by entering quizzes.

The entire campaign was promoted across CNN websites and CNNGo’s social media pages (i.e. Facebook/ LinkedIn/Google+ posts and Tweets). Hilton also had 100% SOV of the SHEA microsite, with their TVC and banner advertising running across CNN’s Asia TV feed & websites.


A third party research survey was conducted by BDRC Continental Research. The results unequivocally showed a significant change in brand perception. 68% of all respondents indicated that their perception of Hilton Hotels & Resorts had improved significantly. 61% of all respondents also found the campaign interesting; with 76% agreeing that advertising on CNN would enhance the reputation of Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

The Stay Hilton Experience Asia campaign successfully shifted perceptions of Hilton’s brand from a business-only hotel to a business and leisure hotel. One CNN audience described his attitude towards Hilton Hotel & Resorts after the campaign as ‘a nice change’, and another mentioned their perception of Hilton to be ‘positive’ with ‘quality service’.  One respondent also claimed that “people would find the ad funny and humorous (and) it will raise the interest level in this traditional hotel”.

The SHEA Facebook page garnered over 19,000 likes, and more than 600 comments were garnered from SHEA Facebook posts. A high percentage of site traffic came from India, China, Philippines, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, thus proving that the SHEA campaign on CNN effectively reached Hilton’s target APAC audience.

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Hilton Hotel & Resorts
Asia Pacific
August - December 2012
Media Owner:
Media Channel:
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