For nearly 33 years, Quest Apartment Hotels has forged close relationships with corporate clients, with its furnished apartments becoming a default option for business travel programs. But as employers have become more sensitive to the whims of their staff, they have also started to offer more choices as to where they stay.
According to Quest CMO Jeff Baars, this trend has been going on for a number of years now, causing Quest to think more broadly about how it presents itself to the rest of the world.
“We had to start building preferences and connecting with end consumers,” says Baars. Marketing director. “Research has shown us that while consumers liked Quest for the convenience – they told us we were spacious, practical and clean – they didn’t have that emotional connection to our brand.
“This has provided us with a clear opportunity for change, as more and more of our customers are going to be able to choose their own brands and where they want to stay on business trips. ”
Working with independent creative advertising agency The Core Agency, Quest looked at its other strengths, and more specifically its franchise model.
“All of our 170 hotels are owned by individual business owners,” says Baars. “Although they run them under our commercial format franchise, they have skin in the game.”
Baars says this means the owners have a solid knowledge of their locality and often have strong ties to the local business community. And it’s that hyper-local knowledge and connection that is harnessed in Quest’s new branding platform.
The second idea Quest draws on is its ongoing work to make the stay with the group as easy as possible.
“What we found is that consumers love brands like Airbnb because they deliver this truly localized experience,” says Baars. “But it’s pretty tricky, because until you check in you don’t know how clean it will be.
“On the other end of the spectrum you have these international hotel brands that are maybe a bit soulless or corporate and they don’t have that local component at all. This way, we can provide our guests with an effortless experience in 170 locations run by business owners who can give our guests a local glimpse of where they are staying.
Quest has now launched a new brand campaign featuring TV advertising and content partnerships with publishers including The Guardian, featuring some of Quest’s local business owners and their communities. Baars says the new brand platform is also reflected in the customer experience.
“This ensures that what we stand for as a brand is delivered locally in a consistent manner and presented in a very clear manner,” says Baars. “We work very hard with our business owners to make sure we put these components on display for every customer. ”
Quest also invests in display advertising and works with micro-influencers to showcase the uniqueness of places.
“This model of contract with corporate clients will remain a very important part of our strategy,” said Baars. “We’re just acknowledging that the end consumer ultimately has a lot more of a say in where they stay. And so we know we have to do both.
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