THE ROAD TO WEMBLEY
Hilton London Wembley’s interactive films dispel misconceptions about the brand’s location through a unique insight into the area’s history and the hotel’s event spaces. Dariya Subkhanberdina reports
In 1919, Conrad Hilton decided to buy his first hotel and an empire was born. During the following century Hilton Hotels & Resorts expanded to over 5,000 locations in 100 countries and territories. While the Hilton brand remains a household name within the hotel industry as well as across the globe, individual venues have faced a continuous battle to differentiate themselves from the rest of the brand portfolio.
For one of Hilton’s many individual venues, the Hilton London Wembley, the perception of the site’s location was the biggest challenge in attracting international delegates. Offering flexible meeting and banqueting space and situated 35 minutes away from Heathrow Airport, the Hilton London Wembley was built to accommodate a variety of conferences and events. Yet, while its juxtaposition to iconic English landmarks such as the Wembley Stadium and SSE Arena grant the Hilton London Wembley a notable reputation within the bounds of the UK, international delegates remained, for the most part, oblivious to its allure.
To position itself as a memorable and sought-after corporate event venue, the Hilton London Wembley worked with multi-platform media company Eventopedia to debut a new series of interactive online videos. An online platform that serves as a marketing channel for the corporate events sector, Eventopedia is designed to help hotels and venues increase visibility and tell their stories. And, having developed the branded tool and sale asset video site inspection (VSI) format for film, Eventopedia could help the Hilton London Wembley create engaging content by allowing its users to be lead remotely through the venue as if a staff member was present.
The resulting eight videos include an introductory film as well as detailed tours of the executive lounge, business centre, ballroom, restaurant, suites and the venue’s unique Icons Bar and Sky Bar 9. Featuring information displays and video menus, the films enable viewers to simultaneously personalise the experience and access information.
Prior to the design process, Eventopedia and the Hilton London Wembley identified the property’s key characteristics to understand the vision for the films. According to co-founder and COO of Eventopedia Alan Newton, “It’s all about understanding the personality, the objectives and the key narrative for the hotel chain, and so we have a fairly consistent approach, in terms of the model, because a lot of the issues hotels are experiencing are consistent.” Working closely with the venue, the team developed the narrative to convey in the films, adhering to the Hilton’s brand guidelines.
Branded in Hilton colours, the series pays tribute to the global Hilton brand while enhancing the charm of the Wembley branch. Personalised with Hilton London Wembley-specific communications, the film begins with an introduction that tells the story of the venue’s location, atmosphere, quality of service and available amenities. “A lot of event planners will look at a venue and look for connections between their brand and commonality, so all of these aspects have to be built into the story that you’re creating, into the narrative that you’re crafting for the venue,” says Newton.
Designed to simultaneously inspire and inform its audience, the series of interactive videos consists of stunning visuals and fluid transitions accompanied by theatrical, upbeat background music to reflect the sleek style and grandeur of the London Wembley’s distinct personality. Featuring two delegates as guides, through subtle details and panning shots, the film subliminally reveals that the venue has all-day refreshments, exemplary service and unique spaces like a terrace, a ballroom and a rooftop bar.
Newton says, “Some hotels are prepared to be a little bit more wacky; they will want to be a bit more fun rather than corporate.” In regards to the Hilton London Wembley, the marketing team “wanted to push boundaries a little bit more, but they had to do it within the confines of the corporate brand identity,” he adds. “It’s quite an unusual hotel because, as you enter, they have all these football shirts that fall in line with their sporting theme, and so they wanted to have a bit more fun with it where they could, but it still had to be rather corporate.”
Supporting the videos with data and analytics, every interaction is tracked and monitored to see what is most popular and the aspects with which people are most engaged. Combining VSI with this kind of proactive marketing means the films have helped the Hilton London Wembley generate more than £400k in revenue booked in just 10 months. Using customised analytics tools and smart technology, Eventopedia was able to measure customers’ interactions with videos. The Hilton discovered the average length someone spent a video was six minutes and 24 seconds; the team was “blown away by the engagement statistics,” says Newton. David Waddington, director of sales at Hilton London Wembley agreed, “Eventopedia truly appreciates and understands hotel marketing, and have delivered products and services that provides is with valuable and actionable customer insights and effective digital marketing.”
For a global brand like Hilton, connecting with international clients is imperative to its success. As online video moves away from being the exception and towards being the expectation within the hotel and events industry, the Wembley films are just the beginning for Hilton. Having collaborated with one venue, the template devised by Eventopedia and the Hilton London Wembley might now work to convey the stories of Hilton’s individual hotels to clients more widely, supporting further business growth and highlighting the benefits of some of the historic hotel chain’s more unusual locations.