Protea Hotels has won over the hearts and minds of South Africa’s youth, who last night once again named it the coolest hotel group in the country in the Sunday Times Generation Next 2012 Brand Survey awards.
The annual youth survey is watched closely by brand marketers because it is a yardstick of what the leaders of tomorrow believe are products that’ll grow with them. It illustrates the effectiveness of marketing campaigns to a generation that is more tech-savvy than ever and likes information in bite-sized chunks.
This is the second time in a row and third time in four years that Protea Hotels has won this category and it demonstrates the efficacy of the messaging that the company was using to communicate its brand position to the market, says Protea Hotels Group Marketing and Advertising Manager Nicholas Barenblatt. “We’re proud to be right up there for Generation Y. It shows that while there may be a lot of new players in the market, the youth values our authentic hospitality and unique service philosophy. Protea Hotels is bold, slick and sexy, and we deliver our message with great attitude, and it resonates with Generation Y.
“One of the cornerstones of our brand communication is being bold, slick, sexy and communicating with attitude and irreverent humour and there’s no doubt we push boundaries. The Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! properties are a prime example. It’s not like you’re going to find another hotel in SA that has lifts like shark cages or cable cars going up Table Mountain. The hotels are urban, chic and edgy – coffins for seats in a smoking room, a chaise lounge large enough for 20 people and 2m-high silver wingback chairs are just some of the quirks that make Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! such a contemporary and fun brand.”
Protea Hospitality Group CEO Arthur Gillis says there was no doubt that the service culture also had much to do with the brand’s success. “We have an exceptional service culture that treats every person who walks through our doors as an individual with a unique set of wants and needs. We strive to always exceed GUEST expectations; nothing less will do.”
Gillis says with the rise of social media, instant messaging and smart phones, companies have to change the way they engage with potential customers – especially Generation Y. “Very often the traditional methods of brand communication miss their mark. We live in such a brand-cluttered environment that you have a fraction of time to grab the attention of the client. If they don’t ‘get’ you straight away, you’ve lost the opportunity and the client.
“I’m immensely proud of the Protea Hotels extended family, which has worked hard to take our bold and sexy brand personality to the public so successfully and we take seriously our obligation to deliver the best GUEST service and product – but with a large dollop of humour tossed in for good measure.”