Last September, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), launched a global TikTok campaign titled the #Infin8Citadines in partnership with global influencers. While the campaign aimed to reignite the passion for travel in a post-pandemic world, its main objective was also to celebrate and garner awareness of its Citadines property.
The brand first bought the Citadines chain in Europe in 2004, and has since built on the portfolio and brought the brand over to Singapore as well.
Presenting a refreshed brand image was at the forefront of Ascott’s aims with this campaign, along with building a community both online and off, providing authentic travel content that would ignite the urge to travel among consumers.
The campaign saw eight TikTok influencers from different countries such as Singapore, Australia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, the UAE and Vietnam, create weekly-themed content surrounding select Citadines properties to compete for a grand prize of a 24-night stay at eight Citadines properties across eight different cities.
According to the brand, TikTok was seen to be a vital marketing channel when it comes to targeting the younger generation which is something that Ascott understands particularly as Citadines is a brand that caters to young professions largely in their twenties and thirties.
“It was a natural choice for us to launch our very own TikTok channel to better connect and engage with guests who seek travel inspiration and insights via the app and through our campaign. Additionally, travel-related content has been a big hit on the platform – the hashtags #travel has 94 billion views while #tiktoktravel has over 32.7 billion views,” said Tan Bee Leng, Ascott’s managing director for brand and marketing when MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke with her.
“Since the launch of the campaign and our TikTok account, we have garnered over 13,200 followers and counting, receiving over 25 million views and more than 211 thousand engagements on our TikTok account,” she added.
The campaign however was not just one to target the brand’s younger demographic. Rather, it was part of a greater brand refresh and push towards digital transformation that Citadines was working towards.
What prompted the brand refresh?
Considering that Citadines used to be a more traditional brand, Tan explained that there were two key factors that prompted the refresh of the brand and that these factors were the rapid growth of the brand over the years as well as the growing trend of travellers looking for more well-rounded stay experiences.
“In line with our continued commitment to expanding our footprint in key cities, we believe it was an opportune time to refresh the brand, to cater to evolving traveller expectations and better deliver on improved brand experiences for our guests, said Tan.
She added that the brand aimed for a more holistic approach as it rebranded, and that the team wanted to prioritise brand stories as well as signature experiences and programmes. “In the aspect of hardware, we look at transforming our spaces within our buildings. Citadines properties in particular are designed with convertible features that are available both in-apartment and across common spaces that allow guests to live, work and play, all within one venue,” said Tan.
“Software on the other hand encompasses aspects of service delivery and curated programmes to address the emotional attributes of brand engagement.”
In order to showcase this new approach to its clients, Tan explained that the brand rolled out a number of initiatives, one of which included the TikTok challenge.
“Beyond our #Infin8Citadines TikTok challenge, aimed at driving awareness of Citadines’ key brand signatures in specific cities, we also introduced a brand film titled For the Love of Cities, on various digital and social channels. The film illustrates how each city offers its own unique sights, sounds and experiences. Travellers can also discover Citadines’ various service offerings that suit their needs in infinite ways, to enjoy the best of city living,” said Tan.
She added that from now until 2025, the brand will be working with its local teams across the globe to implement the brand’s full suite of brand signatures across properties in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, whilst localising in-market outreach as an extension of global marketing efforts.
What’s next for Citadines and Ascott?
When it comes to looking ahead, Ascott and Citadine and firmly committed to three key areas, namely, Ascott’s Brand360 strategy, its loyalty programme, Ascott Star Rewards (ASR), as well as digital transformation.
“Ascott’s Brand360 strategy takes a holistic approach towards building brand equity, based on the pillars of hardware, software, peopleware and businessware. Each brand is different, and we continue to invest significantly in telling compelling brand stories, bringing them to life through different experiences with the right touchpoints and training our operational team to deliver on service,” she said.
Tan concluded by adding that Ascott’s digital transformation is an ongoing one that will continue to support the changing consumer landscape and to continue to give consumers the best experience possible.
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