Passionist Travelers Are a Priority for Red Roof as Company Expands Target Markets
By Marina MacDonald Chief Marketing Officer, Red Roof | June 16, 2019
A new subset of travelers are road-tripping across the country to attend, compete in, or experience their favorite passions first-hand, 'The Passionists'. Red Roof, known for listening and responding quickly to consumer needs and wants, is catering to these growing, and diverse communities of passion travelers.
The Passionists are the convention, conference and event travelers who are avid gaming geeks, compete in obstacle course races, follow cornhole contests, and dress up in cosplay, among many other hobbies and interests – and, if employed, may use their Paid Time Off (PTO) to attend these events.
Red Roof has found that travelers no longer want to leave their games, hobbies, sports and other interests at home when they travel. They're traveling to deeply indulge in their favorite pastimes and are looking to destinations and hotels to extend the experience in any way possible. It's all passion all the time. Red Roof has plugged into this growing segment of travelers, particularly courting comic book aficionados, gamers and niche sports enthusiasts as well as opening their arms to Passionists everywhere.
Whether it's the passion of dressing up in cosplay at comic conventions or the thrill of being the first to build up to 21 points in a cornhole competition, passionate pursuits are driving a segment of travel that Red Roof is addressing with targeted events and promotions. Gamers and comic book fans, in particular, are loyal, devout Passionists and Red Roof knows that affordable lodging is key as they travel across the country to attend some of their favorite happenings.
Passionate travelers are looking to not only get away, but to also find affordable and easy accommodations along the way. And while they may be working with a small budget, the desire to travel and tap into passion-driven activities will continue to increase. Research shows that even in a tight economy, people will not give up what they love to do. According to Elle Magazine in 2019, 42% of travelers' plan to visit a destination that makes them feel like a child again for more traditional thrill-seeking adventures. Red Roof is enticing these travelers with special incentives and discounts, rewarding them for indulging in their love of sporting events, competitions and conventions.
Red Roof is also teaming up with ReedPOP, a global producer of pop culture events in order to reach even more Passionist travelers. We kicked off 'Red Roof's Road to New York Comic Con' sweepstakes in March which ends in October 2019 at New York Comic-Con. Fans can enter to win the ultimate VIP fan experience by visiting budgetheroes.com. The grand prize will include roundtrip airfare, a VIP pass to New York Comic-Con, a meet and greet celebrity experience, and a stay at Red Roof's newest Red Collection property in New York, Lord & Moris Times Square Hotel. Sweepstakes winners will be selected mid-September.
From Red Roof's research into Passionist communities, emerged key learnings into niches of travelers who – beyond the convention and conference - engage in fringe sports. Cornhole players were of particular interest to us so we devised an integrated marketing program that catered to a growing group of Cornhole players and fans who are looking for convenient and affordable lodging beyond their expectations as they travel across the country participating in, and following, tournaments.
Once a favorite activity at tailgates and backyard parties, Cornhole is now one of the country's fastest growing sports. Cornhole has been growing at a steady and impressive trajectory in the last few years. In 2018, the American Cornhole League Pro Invitational, was viewed by 500,000 people, the most ever for the sport. During 2017's The Ocho, a one-day event for alternative sports on ESPN 2, the Championship of Bags was the most viewed competition. In the 18 to 49 age group, more peopled watched Cornhole on that day than the competing game coverage of Major League Baseball, the WNBA or the final stage of the Tour de France, according to Sports Media Watch.
Red Roof embraced this fringe pastime, and its players and fans, with :30 second spots on ESPN and ESPN2, during ESPN's broadcasts of the American Cornhole League (ACL) tournaments and streamed on ESPN3. The spots run through August 11. The :30 second spot, created by Red Roof and produced by Mills James, plays on the element of surprise with an ending voiceover, "Not what you expected? Neither is Red Roof.", underscoring that Red Roof, who created the Upscale Economy® sector, surprises and delights guests with an enhanced experience for a value price.
The ESPN ad campaign is being amplified with in-market promotions and contests to elevate awareness and drive bookings of Cornhole lovers and followers to local Red Roof properties. Red Roof is also providing a 15% discount on stays for those who travel for tournaments. Select Red Roof properties are also receiving a regulation-sized Cornhole set for guests to enjoy, providing opportunities for social media photo capturing and sharing to drive social engagement using the hashtag, #RedRoofLovesCornhole and/or #PassiontravelwithRedRoof. In addition, Red Roof has partnered with the American Cornhole Organization (ACO), sponsoring the Corny 40 Player program.
As 2019 unfolds, Red Roof continues to expand its offerings. We've revealed plans for a new build prototype for HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof; this new prototype design is based on the number one request from consumers: more functional storage in-room but not at the expense of good design. The new build upgraded specifications for exterior, lobbies and rooms provide guests with everything they need for an elevated extended stay experience and provides franchisees with a cost-effective solution to drive performance. We'll also be introducing Premium Room upgrades at PLUS+ properties with new in-room upgrades and snack offerings that guests want.
Attractive, contemporary curb appeal will greet guests as they approach the exterior of the new builds. Inside, lobbies are designed as an open concept with retractable pocket walls for added usable space. The new builds incorporate a refreshing color palette of blues and greens that will make lobbies and rooms feel fresh and clean. Rooms will provide expanded storage for guests, a priority for extended stay customers, and effectively utilize the vertical and horizontal spaces. Smart storage solutions include redesigned tiered coat racks that provide space for luggage, folded and hanging clothes.
Behind room doors, wall clips will be installed for guests to hang coats, jackets, backpacks, and purses. Bed heights will allow for additional luggage storage underneath. Wood-like flooring and drape-less window treatments keeps a clean look to the rooms adding visual interest and texture while reducing the amount of odor absorbed by room fabrics. Honeycomb shelfing units in bathrooms are placed vertically, efficiently utilizing the small space while being loyal to the design aesthetic.
The new HTS prototype can be adapted to current HTS properties and can be easily used to enhance existing hotels. HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof brand standards will continue to provide guests with warm and inviting accommodations, free high-speed Wi-Fi, flat screen HD TVs featuring premium cable with HBO, on-site laundry and free U.S. phone service. Live-in studios and suites feature all the conveniences of home, including a kitchenette with full-size refrigerator, microwave, sink, kitchen table and chairs. HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof also offers a kitchen kit for a low additional charge that includes a full dish and silverware set that guests can keep after their stay. Outside of the kitchenette, guests can expect laundry rooms open 24 hours per day, seven days per week and complimentary coffee in the lobby areas each morning. Properties are located near work, local restaurants and shops.
We've also completely rehauled our loyalty program, rebranding it RediRewards and adding a slew of enticing, intuitive components that reward guests on every level. RediRewards invites members to experience a robust program that goes far Beyond free nights and serves as an umbrella for a variety of desired benefits, not only hotel stays, but a broader loyalty program that can be used for entertainment and everyday needs. The redesigned, multifaceted loyalty program, RediRewards, encourages its members to access discounts and experiences with everything from theme parks to theater to homemade meal programs while saving on stays.
RediReward's RediAccess is the centerpiece of the expanded program. RediAccess provides members with thousands of offers, many exclusive, across most consumer categories simply by logging into their account. They're able to use their RediRewards membership for substantial discounts at restaurants and amusement parks, for air travel and car rentals,r childcare and other lifestyle needs. RediAccess is available via a partnership with LifeMart. For over a decade, LifeMart has been providing thousands of loyalty programs, associations, and employer groups nationwide with special deals on premium products and services to offer to their members and employees.
With its proprietary, members-only discount shopping website, members can quickly access thousands of discounts and coupons for travel, tickets, electronics, home, entertainment, automotive, grocery, restaurants, services and more. Providing these exclusive savings to members enables loyalty programs and associations to increase their member acquisition, engagement, retention, and loyalty.
Red Roof is passionate about its guests and has implemented programs to exceed the needs and wants of passionate travelers who are looking for clean, comfortable, convenient accommodations at affordable prices.
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