An understated appeal to upscale travelers

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THE HOTEL pages inside the customized Peninsula jeepney in Brewster green

In the midst of stiffer competition posed by new hotels, the Peninsula Manila recently launched its global brand campaign to remind the people about its distinction.

Through photography and short film, “Peninsula Moments” features the signature characteristics of Peninsula hotels and their milieu.

“It’s about capturing the essence of Peninsula—creating special moments, memories, special experiences and history. We are creating that special warmth, that special feeling when you stay at the Peninsula. The global marketing campaign was about capturing the magic of each of the destinations where the nine hotels are nestled in,” says Sonja Vodusek, Peninsula Manila’s general manager.

Developed internally, the campaign highlights the hotels’ outstanding architectural features, posh interiors and the must-go places.  Produced by Ridley Scott Associates, the vignettes were directed by Jean-Claude Thibaut and Antony Crock.

While most deluxe hotel campaigns focus on the usual suites, amenities and food and beverage outlets, Peninsula Moments highlights the human touches that make the hotel memorable and the factors that resonate with the guest.

An ad promotes the Peninsula brand in general, featuring snippets of its hotels in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Thailand, Japan, China, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The group ad presents the Salon de Ning, Peninsula’s restaurant-bar at the rooftop in New York; Loy Krathong candle rites on the poolside in Bangkok; a kimono-clad guest services officer pouring tea in Tokyo; a guest descending from a Peninsula aircraft on the Hong Kong helipad; the hotel’s signature vintage Rolls-Royce and Peninsula Manila’s waterfall façade.  The group ad will be shown on international television.

Each property has its own vignette that offers scenes which give a sense of place such as the foot of Rush Street Madison Avenue Bridge in Chicago.  A staff sets up a dinner instead of breakfast at Tiffany’s New York. The Japanese penchant for cuteness and pop culture are interpreted in Tokyo’s pastry section.

Vodusek points out that the common element in all the short films and print ads are the page boy or page girl with a genuine smile. Clad in white with a pillbox hat, the page is seen walking a dog in Beverly Hills; running with a balloon across the Water Cube in Beijing and riding a customized Peninsula Jeepney in the hotel’s uniform color, Brewster green.

The message: “Peninsula is about glamour, style and passion,” says Vodusek.

“The staff is doing something especially for you,” adds Mariano Garchitorena, public relations director. The campaign helps the market understand what the experience of staying there would be. It also conveys that guests should expect the unexpected but in a wonderful way.

Clearly, the campaign targets the upscale business and leisure travelers.  “These are people who want to experience personalized service and genuine warmth,” says Vodusek. “They want different things that are going above and beyond (the norm).”

The Philippine version of the Peninsula Moments is the most unique among the different properties because it focuses more on the tourist spots than the hotel. It presents page boys/girls riding the Peninsula jeepney, passing through Roxas Boulevard, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and flying the Pen chopper over Laguna de Bay. Then there is the bamboo raft being steered by pages in Villa Escudero, with Mount Banahaw in the background and fireworks in the sky.  The raft is decked with banana leaves, vines, orchids and candles. The male and female pages are preparing a formal setting on a dulang or low table.

Then it ends with a page walking through the Ayala Triangle gardens carrying antique gold combs to be delivered to the guest at the Lobby.

The vignette, which runs for a minute and 18 seconds, presents its historic voluminous lobby; Salon de Ning, which signifies Manila’s vibrant night life, the poolside and the page girl’s winning smile. The poolside party,  replete with the Bayanihan Dance Company and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, is a highlight because it has never been done before.

“When I first saw the video, I got emotional. Wow! I was so proud to be part of the group where we invest in our destination. We are showing this to the world,” exclaims Vodusek.

Garchitorena organized the nine-day shoot in the Philippines last July.  For the location shooting, the director, Jean-Claude Thibaut, the production crew and the Peninsula team had to work in challenging conditions, including shooting Villa Escudero’s lake scene between heavy rainfalls.

He acknowledges many people who supported the campaign such as Albert Avellana for styling the Villa Escudero; Conrado Escudero and the 50-staff team; Bambi Harper who allowed an ad shoot in Intramuros, Raul Sunico who had the CCP lights and waterfall working on a Sunday shoot, Jeremy Barns of the National Museum, Ayala Land for letting them shoot the park at dusk and Ramon Villegas for lending antique combs.

Celebrity photographer Russell Wong took photographs of the poolside party, champagne on a raft on the lake, the pages carrying the 20-kg luggage in the lobby and the Peninsula jeepney in front of the National Museum. These print ads will appear in Financial Times, Conde Nast Traveler and other upscale magazines.

The short film can be viewed online through the website and Facebook page. Likewise, it is shown in all of Peninsula Manila’s venues. Vodusek notes that online traffic increased by 40 percent.

Garchiterona adds that promoting a hotel takes far more than showing its rooms. The film ultimately conveys that the experience becomes memorable when the Pen takes the guests to great destinations in its signature understated style.

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