Daily Insights

Tails of Travel

By: Mackenzie Baker | Oct 05, 2020

With travel trends rapidly changing during the Coronavirus pandemic, Hotels.com looks to bring accurate and current hotel reviews to potential guests. For its new campaign, the hotel booking site appeals directly to pet owners with a suite opportunity to test out pet-friendly hotels for free. 

Hotels.com is hiring three “Creature Critics” and their owners to find the best pet-friendly hotels around the world. Through the initiative, devoted pet parents can volunteer to stay at and review pet-friendly accommodations so other consumers know what to expect if they bring along their furry friends. With a 300% increase in searches for “pet friendly hotels” during the pandemic, reviews from creature critics could appeal to a wide audience. To find its Creature Critics, Hotels.com turned to Twitter and Instagram, where interested applicants can apply with a picture of their pet and a reason as to why they deserve to become a Creature Critic. By using consumers and their pets, rather than paid influencers, Hotels.com could further validate its reviews and drive engagement to its site, according to a Gartner report. The chosen winners will have the chance to stay at and review 10 different hotels in the U.S. and abroad, free of charge. Owners and their pets can apply until October 9 by following Hotels.com’s social accounts and using the hashtag #CreatureCritics in their “application”. 

Hotels.com created a microsite for the campaign where pet parents can read the rules and information. The site also includes pictures of current applicants, allowing pets and their owners to sniff out the competition. To encourage pet parents of all kinds to apply, Hotels.com released a short ad where a dog named Dolly Pawton interviews potential Creature Critics, including a hedgehog, turtle, and toad. The comical commercial could help Hotels.com reach owners of all kinds, not just of dogs and cats. The hospitality brand is running the ad on digital media and television, which could engage potential applicants outside of Twitter and Instagram. As pet owners begin to travel again, making it known where they can bring their furry friend could also help Hotels.com build up a loyal audience. Though Hotels.com is taking a lighthearted approach to its initiative, the competition could appeal to the thousands of pets and owners suffering from Pet Separation Anxiety as routines return to normal following the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Hotels.com’s Creature Critics campaign shows how it’s adapting to a new era of hospitality that appeals to more than just paying customers, but to their tail-wagging travel companions, too.