Hotels are the 'go-to' lodging choice for leisure travelers; just as some other 'bigger name' cities are 'go-to’s' for leisure vacation travel. For HomeAway, we had to change that dynamic. We had to get people to see them as a different – and better - kind of option. To compound the problem, HomeAway had no brand recognition, no category awareness and they’d never advertised before. They wanted America to know who they were – not over a period of years, but as quickly as possible. We knew that no matter what we did, we were going to be outspent by a ton by the big hotel chains so we needed a radical approach.
So we got Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo to reprise their roles as the Griswolds from the classic American Vacation movies and made our own 15-minute short film called Hotel Hell Vacation. Then we aired it exclusively at homeaway.com. The film touched on those hotel nightmare stories that we’ve all experienced. However, there was a twist. For the first time ever, Americans realized there was an alternative: the vacation rental. Then, to promote our film we launched a massive social media campaign, an online video game, a User Generated Content contest, a digital campaign, and a movie trailer that we ran during the Super Bowl.
Outcomes / Stats
Over 1 Million views of the online teaser before the film’s release
More than 100,000 Facebook fans in less than a month before we spent a dime in paid media
24 hours after the movie launched, homeaway.com got 4.4 million hits – an increase of 3000 percent
By the end of the campaign we’d gotten more than $5 million in earned media
A 500 percent increase in vacation inquiries within three weeks of launch (HomeAway’s key business metric)