THE CLIENT BRIEF
THE CLIENT BRIEF
The brief was to launch and introduce the new Melia Shanghai Hongqiao to local media with these objectives:
A. Generate broad awareness among the hotel’s target consumers
B. Highlight the hotel amenities of the (Melia) brand’s flagship property in China
China’s hotel development has been growing at an unprecedented rate in recent years. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China and AT Kearney Consulting, over the next 10 years, hospitality in the country will become a USD100-billion industry with 6.3 million rooms.
Coastal cities, Shanghai in particular, have experienced this supply surge. The city has the largest pipeline of hotels dominated by the upscale and luxury segment to cater to the influx of inbound international travellers.
Shanghai has also seen room supply continue to growth, owing to strong commercial and MICE demand collectively driven by the Hongqiao CBD (central business district), EXPO area and Hongqiao National Exhibition and Convention Centre.
GROWING CHALLENGES &
A SILVER BULLET
The supply surge gave rise to fierce competition. The hotel needed to break through a growing clutter: Within a nine-kilometer radius of Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao were eight other 4- and 5-star hotels. It was imperative to avoid being cookie cutter. Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao needed to be recognized by media and heard above all the noise generated by its competitive set.
Couched in this context, Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao needed to carve out and own a distinct market position.
From the spa & wellness programs and dining options through to its club lounge (named The Level in Meliá hotels around the world), we had found our silver bullet. The property has a strong wellness proposition. This dovetailed with Meliá’s global brand positioning around wellness.
The shift to embrace holistic wellness experiences likely stems from how an increasing proportion of Chinese professionals are suffering from stress and burnout.
In a recent Gallup survey, 40% of the Chinese work force has said they experience high levels of stress (from work); doubling as road warriors only compounds stress levels.
We understood the greater attention Chinese consumers are paying to wellness – from both the physical and mental perspectives. Industry observers have cited a shift in the USD1.3-billion industry today placing importance of a holistic experience of spa and wellness programs. No longer is it enough to simply eat well or have a luxurious spa experience.
We needed the media to communicate – more than that, endorse – Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao’s wellness position. Yet how do we create brand messages that resonate with media gatekeepers who have seen it all – from lavish hotel grand openings to being lavished with gifts – and are ambivalent at best?
STRATEGY & CREATIVITY
JOY OF BEING
We elevated the global wellness proposition to a holistic, immersive experience for which Chinese travelers increasingly look.
The JOY OF BEING launch platform didn’t only allow us to position Meliá as a brand that cares about guests’ wellbeing; it was befitting the country’s flagship Meliá property: This established Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao as a sanctuary in the city’s buzzing economic development zone, a haven where guests come home to relax, reflect and recharge.
Throughout, we made certain to cherry-pick invitees and with whom the wellness program would resonate strongest.
Our three-step approach was
To soften the ground to seed stories through media meet and greet lunch sessions fronted by General Manager Marko Janssen; interviews with luxury lifestyle print media; and two media immersion hotel stays – the first targeting a broader spectrum of media and the second a more intimate group of travel lifestyle media.
We cleaved the Joy of Being wellness concept into three dimensions of Mindful Eating, Sleep and Relaxation. This ensured our messages were targeted.
Amenities and guest offerings of the Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao spoke strongly to each of these dimensions.
From here, we were able to embark on the next step.
We created tailored itineraries to host press for overnight stays at Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao. Through more personalized considerations, we brought to life dimension of wellness and how it inspires the urban, lifestyle concept of the hotel.
Mindful Eating centered on eating nutritionally healthy foods, the experience of eating and enjoying the experience; at its core is a more immersive experience of enjoyment of an everyday activity.
Balance by Meliá Breakfast
We took the adage of breakfast being the most important meal most seriously: Every media guest was served“Balance by Meliá” breakfast. This was a selection of healthy options with the right amounts of fiber, calcium, omega-3, antioxidants and proteins
As spring gave way to warmer days, the hotel’s dining menu began its transition as well – summer produce of fruit and vegetables formed the ideal accompaniment to Chef Abel Lopez Reina’s repertoire.
Threading these various facets to create aholistic dining and wellness experience were two key resources that Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao had at its disposal: The Level lounge, the perfect backdrop against which media guests could revel in the ambience; and Chef Lopez, who spoke with guests about his inspiration.
To help guests get a good night’s sleep, we chose turndown gifts of essential oils and YHI Spa-inspired music. Following through with creating a consistent holistic experience, we wanted to provide media guests with natural remedies to get a peaceful slumber.
Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao is the setting for the city’s only Chakra Vibration and Aqua Healing therapies. And so we used this as leverage: We scheduled spa sessions for media guests.
The hotel’s resident spa manager, Priyanka Chowdhury, conducted sunrise yoga and self-massage sessions for media guests.
Following up from these sessions, we successfully pitched and secured interviews (with Ms. Chowdhury, spa manager) and editorial features in media titles, such as Travel+Leisure China and Tatler China.
& SOCIAL MEDIA
Complementing this event was social media activations: Live posts of the lifestyle programs featured on Meliá Hotels International’s official Weibo and WeChat channels, and the hotel’s owned WeChat channel.
Posts on both platforms featured heavy lifestyle slant, with elements of design, ambience, service, and the hotel amenities threaded in.
We picked up immediate exposure on key press attendees’ WeChat moments during the media staycation. Among the comments, the editors shared how 1) The staycation format offered an immersive experience to the hotel amenities; and 2) Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao genuinely cares about guests’ wellbeing. The editors each have approx. 4,000 friends in their WeChat circles, many of whom are friends, media contacts and celebrities.
It’s all in the numbers.
PIECES OF EXPOSURE
IN MEDIA AND
NEW SPA AND GYM
IN A SPAN OF 3 MONTHS