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At the 2019 Portada Event in Mexico City, we had an insightful Q&A session with Isaias Araiza, Manager, Destination Marketing LATAM at Hilton. He shares his know-how about destination marketing in Latin America, media mix, hotel sites vs. OTAs and more.

 

Interview conducted by Alejandra Velazquez

 

Destination Marketing: Tailoring the Message

In what ways are the Hilton advertising campaigns different for Latin America and for the rest of the world? 

Destination marketing expert
Isaías Araiza

For Mexico and Colombia, it’s important not just to translate, but to adapt the message. You have to be very aware of the kind of words and ideas you are conveying, otherwise, your audience won’t feel connected. They are often very nationalistic and proud of their identity, and the communication needs to be respectful of that. We always cast talent that looks and feels Latin for local executions. Anna Kendrick is our global image, but if we featured her on Hispanic campaigns, people wouldn’t relate. You can’t just take it for granted. You need to speak their local language. 

 

It’s important not just to translate, but to adapt the message.

 

How about between Mexico and Colombia? Can the same message work for both? 

The message and creativity can be the same. However, you have to pay attention to specific local language nuances. We’ve had issues with punctuation throughout Latin America. For example, many countries separate decimals with a comma, not a dot. So if we separate thousands with a dot, instead of three thousand pesos, it would end up looking like just three. We had to be meticulous with that. I always tell customers in the U.S. that they have to take into account the actual day-to-day grammar usage, not just what Google or the [Real Academia Española] says. We might even have legal problems if there’s a mix-up. 

 

Hilton’s Media Strategy for Destination Marketing

What does your media mix look like in Mexico? 

To promote destinations, we have an upper-funnel, massive media strategy. We’re trying to create brand awareness. Hilton is unequivocally recognized as a global hotel chain, however, its specialized portfolio brands are still not top-of-mind for audiences. For example, we want to make clear that Doubletree by Hilton is a part of our family. We still conduct a great deal of offline traditional marketing: printed magazines, in-flight reading material, billboards, OOH at airports, digital and offline radio, and Spotify. Absolutely no television. A bit lower on the funnel, we have digital performance, targeting, training desk…, all things reach-media related. We target customers depending on the kind of hotel we try to promote. 

 

 

How about your video content strategy?

We’re basing our contents around “Rediscover Mexico”, based on promoting the uniqueness of the destination. As of today, we have very little video content, but for this year we’ll be implementing a much stronger strategy. We need to capture customers during the “dreaming phase” and help them develop their journey through special offers. We’ll be offering two proposals: one focused on the destination and favorite places, and another with local stories and characters, influencers, experiences, and random tourist video tell-alls. Like, “tell me how everything was, what you did, where you stayed”, etc. 

We target customers depending on the kind of hotel we try to promote.

 

The Online Travel Agencies Controversy

Do you have a strategy to strengthen purchases on the hotel website vs. using OTAs as intermediaries? How do you fight the generalized idea that OTAs are much cheaper than buying directly at the hotel?

OTAs have spread the idea that their rates are cheaper, but that’s not true. Hilton has a strict parity policy, which means they offer the same rate on their website than anywhere else. This means a single rate anywhere online. There’s no way an OTA can offer a better rate. Expedia and other OTAs take a very significant cut out of the deal, but the price is the same for the general public. Of course, Hilton would prefer selling D2C.

A few years ago we launched a campaign called “Stop Clicking Around” and the motto was “don’t even look for a better rate, here’s the best offer you’ll find”. Same with the loyalty program. The only people who may get better rates than anyone else are the members of our Honor Program. Also, Hilton offers discounts and rewards for customers who purchase in advance. We have strong campaigns to fight OTA preference. 

Is there a way to cut away from OTAs?


Maybe in the long run, but definitely not right now. Since they used to be the only online booking platform, the industry let them grow without limits and now they’re a necessary evil. They became a monster and we’re doing everything we can to control it, but the truth is… it does generate great volume. The problem is, a company should never earn much greater revenue from outside channels than from direct channels. The goal right now is not renouncing OTAs, but rather pairing the revenue mix to a much fairer amount. We’ll implement the strategy to get more flow into our home by generating content, launching informative campaigns, and fostering organic traffic to our sites. 

 

 

Business VS Leisure

Could you give us cold hard numbers of the business vs. leisure categories for online purchases?


It’s hard to get precise data because Mexico is a very dynamic destination in terms of the business and leisure mix. For example, Hilton Reforma is for both sectors because of its privileged location. On weekdays it’s all about business, and during weekends it’s a leader of the plaza. Some hotels in Querétaro are really close to industrial parks and are purely for business, but we also offer benefits if you prolong your stay until the weekend. For example, all users may accumulate loyalty points by using hotel amenities, so they’ll end up redeeming them on future family trips. It’s almost impossible to get an average.

 

Marriott has a very strong minority inclusion program. Do you also have a competitive strategy?

We have an entire marketing section called Diversity and Inclusion, which covers all the spectrum: from commercial strategies to pricing, marketing, special offers, etc. We definitely offer special programs and rewards for our diverse program. Not doing it would be a mistake. 

 

Learning From Mistakes

What was the mistake you learned from the most during your career? 

I used to be a marketing director at one of our downtown Mexico City properties. We had a major issue with public protests and demonstrations. It was impossible not to address the issue. So we released campaign after campaign with alternative routes and all kinds of warnings. But instead of helping, it would highlight the problem. We spent too much time trying to solve it until we realized there was nothing we could do to soften the blow of traffic and blockades. We suffered several cancellations due to expecting an imminent protest, and in the end it wasn’t even as serious as it seemed. We’d live in fear and uncertainty.

Until we just accepted the issue instead of trying to cover it and we implemented a strike insurance: if your event had been in any way affected due to the circumstances, you got a discount. So instead of apologizing, we offered post-care. It’s all about the small details. For example, the Santa Fe DoubleTree offers a warm chocolate cookie upon check-in. We have customers married to the brand who come in just for that cookie. Every and any small thing you do for your customers counts. 

 

Isaias Araiza, Manager Destination Marketing LATAM, Hilton will be one of the dozens of brand marketing innovators present at Portada Miami on June 4, 2020. If you are interested in participating in Portada Miami and/or in Portada’s networking and knowledge-sharing platform with brand marketers please contact us here.

Daniel Galvan Duque, Marketing Director for Flavored CSD’s at Gepp PepsiCo Mexico tells Portada about their Consumer Engagement Cycle for reaching audiences through meaningful experiences, heartfelt stories and open conversations. You may know everything about your consumers nowadays – what they wear, where they go, what they eat, and even what they need and when they need it. Perhaps your brand has been paying close attention for years. But have your brand’s consumers been paying attention to you? Read on to see how Gepp PepsiCo Engages the Mexican Consumer.

Interview conducted by Alejandra Velazquez

Daniel Galvan Duque, Portada, Brand Marketing
Daniel Galvan Duque, Gepp PepsiCo Mexico @gepp

The Power of Storytelling

PepsiCo has been mastering the Consumer Engagement Cycle for decades. Their beverage portfolio is relatable, and their strongest brands have been household names for the fashion, music, and sports industries for decades. This isn’t just about what people like, it’s about how people live. Melding into consumers memories of meaningful events gives brands a backstage pass into people’s experiences. And once they’ve shared an experience, it’s how the story gets told.

El Peluches: Creating Engagement Through Passion

When people don’t immediately skip your ad, you know you’ve hit a home-run. “Truth is, in an era populated with so many brands, communication, and content, the challenge is grabbing people’s attention,” says Daniel Galvan Duque, the man behind PepsiCo’s marketing strategy. In August 2016, Gatorade partnered with Alejandro “El Peluches” Ruiz, a man who runs marathons wearing a vest covered entirely in plush toys. Why? Because his unique passion encourages others and brightens their day. Gatorade was clever enough to notice and share the story to connect with their Mexican audience.

Truth is, in an era populated with so many brands, communication, and content, the challenge is grabbing people’s attention.

The “El Peluches” ad was an unconventional format with a story worth telling. “You have to constantly challenge yourself to produce things that create proximity. The digital world demands you to keep your pre-rolls under five seconds long and all your content under 20, and here was this 2’30’’ narrative with a 70% view rate” reminisces Galvan Duque.

5v5 Montemorelos: Rooting for the Underdogs 

The Gatorade 5v5 soccer tournament in partnership with the UEFA Champions League has gained plenty of momentum in its four-year run (check out our interview with Jill Leccia, Senior Marketing Director – Gatorade Latin America). In 2017, a team from the small rural town of Montemorelos made it to the playoffs but lost in the semifinals. “They asked us if there was a chance they could try again at the second playoffs, and we gave them permission. This time they won, and that gave us a chance to tell a great story. They ended up losing at the finals and didn’t get to travel to Barcelona for the first prize, but we still made the story fit perfectly with the brand’s message: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you never quit trying” says Galvan Duque.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you never quit trying.

The outcome was a brief 3’34’’ documentary in which the narrator says “At the end you might win. You might not win. You might have all the odds against you. But one thing is true: in Montemorelos and anywhere else, if you keep sweating, nothing can stop you”. The message matched the brand messaging and reached over seven million views.

Fido Dido Parade: Nostalgia and Influence  

Relatable characters, a touch of nostalgia and partnerships with influencers can keep brand awareness alive. Fido Dido was 7UP’s beloved hand-sketched character in the nineties who was “ageless, thoughtful, chill, and compassionate towards one and all” according to one of its creators Joanna Ferrone. Reviving an ambassador like Fido Dido, highly nostalgic and relatable, does wonders for sparking all kinds of conversations, activations, experiences, and stories – the cogs that keep the Consumer Engagement Cycle alive and spinning.

We wanted each to have a different personality, imprinted by the person creating them. So we found an influencer pool that made sense with the brand.

He recently made a comeback in a series of ads and parades held across Mexico where the brand invited different artists to decorate blank forms of the beloved character. “We wanted each to have a different personality, imprinted by the person creating them. So we found an influencer pool that made sense with the brand. First thing to consider is whether they believe in your message and what you’re doing” reveals Galvan Duque. The right strategy goes a long way for how Gepp PepsiCo engages the Mexican consumer.

Daniel Galvan Duque, Marketing Director for Flavored CSD’s at Gepp, PepsiCo Mexico, will be one of the dozens of brand marketing innovators present at Portada Miami on June 4, 2020. If you are interested in participating in Portada Miami and/or in Portada’s networking and knowledge-sharing platform with brand marketers please contact us here.

Will 2020 be the year of the bounce back after several years of decline in panregional advertising expenditures out of Miami-South Florida into Latin America?  Miami continues to have distinctive advantages as a media buying hub, according to Portada’s recently published 2019-2020 Panregional Marketing and Media Report, which provides Latin American Panregional Marketing Expenditures forecasts for the 2019-2024 period.

 

According to Portada’s 2019-2020 Panregional Marketing and Media Report, Miami/South Florida is the largest panregional hub for actual buying (over US $200 million in 2019) as well as for influence over purchasing decisions (over US $ 1 billion).  The report also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of Miami as a panregional media hub, according to more than 100 major brand and media agency executives interviewed by Portada.

Portada expects Latin American-Panregional Marketing expenditures to reach US$ 740 million in 2019. Miami continues to be the main panregional marketing and media hub, although Mexico City and other centers have an increasing weight. This is one of the insights of the just-published 2019-2020 Panregional Marketing and Media Report, which provides Latin American Panregional Marketing Expenditures forecasts for the 2019-2024 period.

Portada’s 2019-2020 Panregional Marketing and Media Media Report provides data, intelligence, insights, and forecasts. The report is a crucial tool for corporate expansion into Latin America and sales-planning/intelligence for marketing vendors offering services to major brands targeting the Latin American consumer. The 75-page report includes a market volume and growth forecast model based on a survey of more than 100 brand and media agency executives conducted by Portada, answers a myriad of questions including the six below:

1. What is the size of the panregional marketing sector?

The overall actual Latin American Panregional Marketing Services Sector, understood as decisions taken out of several marketing hubs (*see question 2) including Miami, Mexico City, New York, London and others, has a volume of approximately U.S $ 740 million a year (2019), according to the report. Measured in influence, although not necessarily in direct purchasing power, the brand and media agency executives located at those centers influence approximately US $2.26 billion a year (see chart below.)

Panregional Marketing Expenditures
Actual and “Influence” on Panregional Marketing Expenditures

 

 

2. How is panregional marketing defined? (*)

Panregional marketing is understood as marketing services purchases for two or more Latin American countries by clients (brands) or media agencies located outside of those countries.

3. Which city is currently the largest hub for panregional marketing?

Miami/South Florida is the largest hub followed by Mexico City, New York, London and Sao Paulo. The report provides overall market volumes for marketing decisions taken out of the above hubs from 2016 to 2024.

4. What media category is increasing its share of panregional media buys?

The structure of the panregional media buy out of Miami has changed substantially over the last decade with Pay TV- ten years ago the clear leader – only capturing 20% of the share in 2019 and digital media increasing its share to 60%. The 2019-2020 Panregional Market and Media Report includes expenditures and market share forecasts  (2016 to 2024) for the below market services types (both overall as well as for Miami/South Florida):
Outsourced Content Marketing Services
Outsourced Social Media Related Services
Public Relations Services
Media Planning and Buying Services
Paid Media (Overall)
-Print
-Pay-TV (Cable and Satellite)
-Out of Home
-Radio
-Sponsorships
-OTHER (Including: Movie
-Advertising, Inflight, In-Game
Advertising)
Digital
-Social Media
-Search
-Display
-Video
-Audio Advertising

5. Does the 75-page research report also provide intelligence on Panregional Marketing Expenditures on the brand/client side?

Yes, the report displays  Panregional Marketing Expenditures volume forecasts (2019-2024) for the below ad  -categories.
-IT/Electronics
-Studios/Entertainment
-Financial Services
-Telecomm
-Cosmetics/Fragrance
-Luxury
-Travel/Tourism
-Beverages
-CPG
Other (including Automotive, Education
and Health Services)

6. What other brand related intelligence does the 2019-2020 Panregional Marketing and Media Report provide?

Dozens of examples of panregional (Latin American) marketing decisions by Fortune 1000 companies are provided. Intelligence includes the description of different ways companies structure their marketing organizations targeting Latin American consumers and their marketing decision making as well as from what hub (e.g. Miami, Mexico City, New York etc..) these decisions are made out of.

The 2019-2020 Panregional Marketing and Media Report is a major tool for corporate expansion into Latin America as well as sales-planning/intelligence for marketing vendors offering services to major brands targeting the Latin American consumer. To get more information about the report, please contact Sales Director Leslie Zambrano.