How Holiday Inn Express® Stayed Smart

About 25 years ago, the Holiday Inn Express® brand pioneered a new kind of hotel. A few years later, with its ground breaking TV spots and its brilliant tagline, Stay Smart®, the brand launched what would become a long-running campaign that introduced a new catchphrase into pop culture: “No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!” The Stay Smart campaign helped drive the growth of the Holiday Inn Express brand from three hotels in 1991 to more than 2,400 today. “Over the years, the campaign has done such a nice job of helping us to weave our brand into culture in a very relevant way,” said Seth Freeman, Brand Marketing Director for the Holiday Inn Express®, The Americas, IHG. The campaign has also been a rarity in the fast-moving world of marketing: It has staying power.

Opportunity: Reaching the Smart Traveler

The Holiday Inn Express brand has a tremendous opportunity in reaching a growing target audience of Millennials who qualify as Smart Travelers. This group is online and mobile: A brand isn’t going to reach Millennials effectively with 30-second TV spots. Millennials use DVRs to skip ads, they cut cords, and they are time shifting their viewing.

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