Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Host Accommodation 5th Birthday

Our trip to Auckland last week happened to coincide with Host Accommodation's 5th birthday function that were held at the The Bluestone Room in central Auckland.

While we weren't officially on the guest list, this didn't deter us from sneaking in the back door, lurking in the shadows and observing the festivities.

Official guests were welcomed as they entered at a "motel desk" manned by actors that gave a reception worthy of several episodes of Faulty Towers. We estimate that there were about 100 attendees that represented a broad range of travel organisations that included Tourism NZ, Jasons Travel Media, AA Travel, Qualmark, Motel Association et al along with a large contingent of enthusiastic Host member property operators.

Brief and lively speeches were given by Host GM, Chris Lee and Host President Debs Suisted. Travel industry icon, John Sandford gave a stirring speech and the highlight of the evening was the presentation to the winner of the Host Accommodation most loyal customer competition.

Overall the evening was a huge success that was professionally executed with authenticity and humor.

The story of Host Accommodation over the last 5-years is most interesting with the quirky referral chain transforming themselves into New Zealand's leading accommodation network. They have somehow developed a unique culture within their group that sets them apart from other corporatised accommodation chains and this is their greatest strength.

While other accommodation chains are attracted to the bright lights and the huge expense of courting overseas trade, there is an irony that Host Accommodation's domestic program is also attracting the lucrative FIT overseas market.  While other chains grandstand investing in digital media, Host's core marketing strategy appears to be distributing a directory. Paper-based marketing may appear to be rather staid and old school, however it appears to be working extremely well for them.

Although the Host directory is a cornerstone marketing tool we were interested to learn that there is an advanced digital strategy in play that includes social media:


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