Success Story: How Holiday Inn Express Effectively Used Humor to Reach Consumers on LinkedIn

April 1, 2015

“Stay Smart.”

This is Holiday Inn Express’s rallying cry for travelers across the United States. And when they wanted to spread this message even farther, they turned to the newly enhanced LinkedIn Marketing Solutions product suite to help them get the job done. If you’re a marketer looking to increase brand awareness and get your content in front of the right people while having a bit of fun along the way, this case study is for you.

How Holiday Inn Express Raised Awareness with Travelers on LinkedIn

The Challenge

In a competitive market for both business and leisure travelers, the Holiday Inn Express brand knew it needed to set the hotel apart from the competition – raising brand awareness and encouraging potential customers to find out more about the business.

“Our travelers tend to be ages 25 to 44, and the challenge is finding out where they are online,” says Seth Freeman, Director of Marketing, Holiday Inn Express brand, Americas, IHG. “We wanted to use humor to cut though the message clutter, but we needed a way to show off our humorous content.”

The Solution

With the help of its digital marketing agency, Mindshare, the Holiday Inn Express targeted sales and business consultants using two products: LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and LinkedIn Showcase Pages. Holiday Inn Express highlighted content for its “Stay Smart” campaign featuring videos of comedic genius Jim Gaffigan asking travelers about their stays at the hotel chain.

The Sponsored Updates were targeted to LinkedIn members in sales and business consulting – those likely to travel frequently for work -- and also highlighted useful content from around the web, like a BuzzFeed article on packing tips from backpackers.

In addition, Holiday Inn Express set up a LinkedIn Showcase Page to share content with followers and keep the brand top-of-mind.

 “Funny content works well with Sponsored Updates because LinkedIn members can share our posts and comment on them,” explains Katy Costner, Global Social Marketing Manager for the Holiday Inn Express brand. “They’re the perfect place to reach and engage professionals with a little comedy.”

The Results

Within a period of just 40 days, Sponsored Updates helped increase followers for the Holiday Inn Express Showcase Page to over 1,600 followers. By promoting humorous and useful content that resonated with their core audience, Holiday Inn Express increased engagement, established brand presence and built positive brand sentiment in a short period of time.

Using LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and Showcase Pages, Holiday Inn Express:

▪    Increased followers from 7 to 1,622 in just 40 days

▪    Saw engagement twice that of LinkedIn benchmarks

▪    Reached click-through rates twice that of LinkedIn benchmarks

▪    Saw positive brand sentiment from member comments

“LinkedIn Sponsored Updates performed better than we could have imagined. They reached our customers exactly where they live and interact online, and helped us talk about our brand in a fun and engaging way,” says Freeman.

View the full Holiday Inn Express case study, including example content here.

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