Newspaper article International New York Times

A Knowing Voice for the Affluent Traveler ; Belmond, a New Brand, Resurrects an Older Form of Appeal to Consumers

Newspaper article International New York Times

A Knowing Voice for the Affluent Traveler ; Belmond, a New Brand, Resurrects an Older Form of Appeal to Consumers

Article excerpt

Belmond, the brand formerly known as Orient-Express Hotels, has resurrected an old-fashioned form of appeal, hoping to tempt rich travelers.

An old-school tactic in advertising is getting a prominent role in an effort to generate awareness for a new brand in travel marketing.

The new brand, Belmond, is appearing on hotels, railroad lines and river cruises around the world that are aimed at affluent consumers. The name was adopted in stages this year by the company formerly known as Orient- Express Hotels; the company's holdings were rebranded first, followed by the change of the corporate name to Belmond.

The centerpiece of a campaign to introduce Belmond, which began on Thursday, is print advertising that uses long copy -- a Madison Avenue term for lengthy text -- to woo the upscale tourist to locations like the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro; the Belmond Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Italy; and the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, where, as gossip has it, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin might be getting married. The text of each print ad is composed of 95 to 97 words, styled like a conversation and runs for 12 lines of type in a row.

"We looked at competitors' campaigns and there are lots of destination pictures, lots of model pictures," said Ralph Aruzza, chief sales and marketing officer of Belmond, based in London. "They were not speaking to someone individually, in the first person."

Relying on long copy "won't appeal to everybody; there is a risk to that approach," he added. "But it conveys what a travel experience is to a sophisticated person we call a 'confident consumer,' who skews older, wealthy."

The text is written in a voice meant to be chatty and knowing, a tone that would appeal to wealthy people who consider themselves travelers rather than tourists. For instance, one ad begins: "I came here because I was told to come by a friend I trusted. He said Antonio makes a fabulous martini. And he was right."

The campaign also includes digital ads and a presence in social media like Facebook and Twitter. The campaign is being created by AgencySacks in New York, which specializes in ads for premium- priced products; the phrase "We influence the affluent" is splashed across the home page of the agency's website. The budget is estimated at $3 million through the rest of this year and a total of $15 million over the next four to five years.

The Belmond campaign is one of several appearing now as travel marketers step up their appeals to well-to-do Americans because data indicates that the rich are growing richer. Among other examples are Le Meridien, Ritz-Carlton and Rosewood.

"It's always remarkable to me how much affluents spend in a category that's pretty discretionary," said Stephen Kraus, chief insights officer for the Audience Measurement Group of Ipsos MediaCT. …

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