A Holiday Inn Express Campaign: "Affordable Family Fun"

Target Market

One of the most important first steps in building a new digital strategy for a company is picking the correct target market. Holiday Inn Express’ target market aims traditional at men ages 35 to 54 business travelers and last minute booking (Holiday Inn Express Website). However, with the new target demographic for this task it changes the strategy. The target markets for this campagin are families and couples. The target age for adults will range from 25 to 35. The families for Holiday express usually make around 75,000 (Holiday Inn Express, 2011). The families in the target market have a medium income levels. This is way the price range is set for moderately or low priced. The target market’s style focus is on "offering limited services at a low reasonable price with convenient and practical amenities, which cater to travelers" (Holiday Inn Express, 2011).

Big Idea 

Although, Holiday Inn Express is on various digital media platforms the creation of a new digital media strategy would help rank them higher in search engine optimization and create new interest to this target market. The focus on this campaign will be on the affordable low prices for families on last minute deals. It will also integrate how smart the choice was because of the experience they will have or had. This has been a constant focused theme since the lanch of their 'Stay Smart' campaign (Holiday Inn Express, 2011). Holiday Inn Express is present on Facebook, but Twitter and Pinterest are lacking and each individual express hotel runs its own Pinterest account. Holiday Inn Express has its largest presence for social media on YouTube. They focus the videos on why they are a smart choice with a humorous feel. Integration with the media outlets with a focus on YouTube combined with a Google Ad words campaign will be the format of this digital campaign.  Recently on Jimmy Kimmel parents with young children submitted videos of them telling their children they ate their Halloween candy. It was wildly successful. Therefore, since it came from the similar target demographic I thought of creating an online competition to help increase Holiday Inn Express Sales. It needs to be unique and catchy to the target audience. Therefore, because the goal is to increase traffic to the website for bookings and sales I came up with the idea called “Holiday Inn Express YouTube Challenge: I told my Kids we are not going on vacation anymore”. Parents can submit their videos online of them telling their children they cannot go on vacation anymore because it cost too much money. Then after they will tell them now they are thanks to Holiday Inn Express’s affordable prices. The family that submits the best video of their child’s reactions will win a free weeklong stay at a Holiday Inn Express location of their choice. This stays on focus with their digital media objectives, humorous voice and target market. This could potentially get picked up for mention on various talk shows as well for future exposure.

This way the videos created will create more traffic to Holiday Inn Express’ site. This campaign would help them utilize their strongest media platform in a new way to gain attention. In addition, all of their media platforms could be used to promote the campaign to generate more clicks and traffic. Pinners on Pinterest could pin the videos. Twitter could help create a hashtag to increase trending alerts about the videos. This is all very low cost. In the New Media Driver’s License Resource Guide Chapter 11- Search Engine Optimization it explains in an article “ 25 ways to optimize a companies search engine” the way to do it is to connect to people through external links to others. This is important to cross traffic to get viewers to look at your site. By generating a conversation with your audience it will grow in things such as trending on Twitter and Facebook. Holiday Inn Express has relied heavily on its strategy in innovative marketing online. This idea would coincide with this strategy. In addition is keeps the same personal brand for Holiday Inn Express because it keeps with the upbeat, funny, personal attitude. Building the same an online personal voice and brand is key to success  (Scott, 223).

Google Adwords

 In addition to the social media it would need to create a Google AdWords campaign for the social media advertising on the websites. Google Ad words is a great choice for Holiday Inn Express because it will increase the sales, increase page views, and rank them higher in search engine optimization when looking for anything related to key word searches for hotels, low prices, affordable hotels, and family vacations. This Google Ad campaign would relate to all of those search engine searches, but trying to come up in a high ranking in affordable or cheap hotels can be difficult without Google AdWords.

Example of a Google AdWord campaign after keyword research would be:

Discover Holiday Inn Express Cheap Vacations 


Tropical Family Vacation Deals

No Hidden Fees Book Today

This would make an expected result of 4,787 clicks and 175,456 impressions a day at an average cost of 1,856 dollars a day. For their budget they made in $346 million (Holiday Inn Express, 2011) in sales and 2 to 3 percent of total sales is average for advertising costs, so it would be around a 10 million for a budget. Therefore, they could spend for 3 months 107,526 dollars a day.   

When optimizing a company online I read the most important thing to understand is who the selected target audience is and what they search for online (Scott, 307). This is the base point because the point of optimizing a company is to gain attention through the target markets natural search engines and not by manipulation (Scott, 308). Taking this advice, I knew I was writing for a specific target market of families and couples so I did a key word search. In did a key word search the term 'cheap' was more highly searched than 'affordable' so I choose cheap as the word choice. Cheap locally had 30,400,000 searches and afforable had 2,740,000 local searches.


There are so many hotels looking at this target market that it can be hard to be found without it. This way these ads can help increase Holiday Inn Express’ rank among other hotels and be found for the things they would like to be found for such as cheap and affordable hotels for families. Right now in search engine optimization Holiday Inn Express does not come up on the first page on Google for cheap or affordable family hotels and because this means its only a small fraction of this market share search engine optimization this would help greatly. This way they can track their success for selling rooms and see if people search it enough for it to be a full Google Adword Campagin. They need to grow its market share by using Google Adwords to help generate clicks and traffic. 

The idea is a strategic fit for Holiday Inn Express because their strategic incentive for marketing is to connect with their customers through innovative online marketing and advertising. The ultimate goal of this campaign is to increase Holiday Inn Express’ search engine optimization and to help increase booking sales online. They should use this because it has a specific target and it represents only right now a small fraction of that market in search engine optimization. This way they can track their success of this campaign by seeing if their percentage of sales increases and clicks to their site increase. (Scott, Chapter 22). The can measure the success of this by measuring their rank in Google as well. This campaign will grow its market share by using a unique campaign to help generate clicks and traffic.