Protea Hotels has won over the hearts and minds of South Africa’s youth, who this week named it the coolest hotel group in the country in the Sunday Times Generation Next 2011 Brand Survey awards.
The annual youth survey is watched closely by brand marketers because it illustrates what the leaders, movers and shakers of tomorrow are relating to and 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 three years that Protea Hotels has won this category and it demonstrated the efficacy of the messaging that the company had used to communicate its brand position to the market, said Protea Hotels Group Marketing and Advertising Manager Nicholas Barenblatt. “We are immensely gratified to once again be named as Coolest Hotel Group. It shows that as much as there has been an influx of new brands to the SA hospitality landscape, the youth values our hospitality and unique service philosophy. Protea Hotels is bold, slick and we deliver our message with great attitude, and it resonates with this generation.
“One of the cornerstones of our brand communication is irreverent humour and we therefore push boundaries. The Protea Fire & Ice! Hotels are a prime example. You’re unlikely to walk into a lift in any other hotel in the country and find yourself in a shark cage or a cable car 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 Hotels, with its hotel OWNER partners, is currently in the midst of the broadest refurbishment programme in the company’s more than 25 year history. The project, which runs to hundreds of millions of rands, is giving a facelift to properties that have been part of the portfolio for some time and modernising them to meet the same brand standards as newer properties such as the contemporary four-star Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge.
Protea Hospitality Group CEO Arthur Gillis said the STAFF 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 said the modern reality was that companies have to change the way they interact with potential customers. “Very often the traditional methods of brand communication miss their mark if you’re talking to Generation Y. We live in such a brand-cluttered environment that you have a fraction of time to grab the attention of the youth. If they don’t ‘get’ you straight away, you’ve lost the opportunity and a potential CLIENT.”