Home Business Why we hired a ‘Chief Exploring Officer’

Why we hired a ‘Chief Exploring Officer’

by maria

By: Camille Lorigo, Marketing Director, Point A Hotels

Generating interest in a new product or customer offer can be notoriously challenging for us in the hospitality space.

We operate in an ultra-competitive landscape where multi-million dollar PR and marketing campaigns scoop headlines for industry giants in one fell-swoop for. It’s also famously challenging to drum up genuine interest in commercial product announcements.

Mix in the fallout from the winter UK lockdown, and you get a sense for what I was up against in my new role as Marketing Director at the family-run, independently owned UK hotel brand, Point A Hotels.

‘The Best Job in the World’ – Staycation Edition

We’d been waiting for the right moment to launch our A-List Explorer membership scheme for a long time: an exclusive long-stay programme which allows guests up to 21 room-nights a month at any of our UK and Ireland hotels, for £900 a month.

With this membership, guests are given the freedom to really explore the very best that our home-cities have to offer… but how could we spread the news in a way that carried genuine media interest, and didn’t shy away from the £900 price-tag?

Enter our brand new CEO… Chief Exploring Officer.

A tag-line usually reserved for the highest-ranking executive within an organisation, we turned this on its head by bringing in an outsider to represent one of the biggest budget-boutique hotel chains in the UK.

Riffing off Visit Queensland’s world-famous Best Job In the World Campaign, our chosen CEO would be paid (a handsome £2,000 fee, plus full expenses) to travel the length and breadth of the UK, curating the ultimate to-do list across the cities that Point A has a presence in.

The CEO was to document every highlight of their trip – from Graffiti Workshops on the streets of West London, to late-night warehouse parties in Glasgow’s docklands – via our Point A channels to showcase how guests can get the most out of each city with Point A.

But were the board on-board?

First things first, one hurdle I had to overcome was convincing the board and our long-standing real CEO, to embrace the playful nature of the story.

We all know that any CEO is the real embodiment of a company’s identity and values. This made finding our summer-time ‘CEO’ a real challenge. Given the campaign was designed to generate media and public interest, we’d absolutely have to find a candidate who reflects Point A’s ethos and image.

After putting word out on our social channels, and vetting hundreds of applicants, we decided that former-Buzzfeed content specialist, Muinat Abdul, would join us as Chief Exploring Officer. The board, happy with how she radiated Point A’s brand style – playful, thoughtful, and explorative – gave us the green light to kickstart Muinat’s trip. She was allowed to bring a guest, and opted for her ride or die – Jess – as her Assistant Enjoyment Officer.

One CEO, Three Newspaper Headlines

22 partnership activities, 10 gastronomic feasts, and 1 extra-terrestrial VR extravaganza later, our CEO had completed a three-week romp around London, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

To our delight, the campaign really delivered when it came to earned-media interest.

Three national newspapers in the UK ran in-depth articles on the campaign. The Sun, Metro and The Daily Express all shouted about how you could become a ‘Chief Exploring Officer’ of your own with our Explorer membership. Site visits shot up off the back of the media coverage, leading to a clearly identifiable spike in bookings.

The quest for content

We had a ball planning the itinerary! Once we got researching about all that was going on, we got really excited and there were too many ideas of what the CEO could get up to. Friends and colleagues all got in on the act, pulling favours, sending us suggestions. It was mind melting coordinating all the travel, tickets and timings… and that reminded us to be cautious not to over plan and burn the girls out.

It worked out perfectly. Muinat and Jess had a blast, and we ended up with a deluge of content and feedback. We decided to celebrate the destinations that blew the girls’ minds in the ‘Point A Loves Local Awards.’ Content and awards all to be released in November on our social media channels.

Sharing Muinati’s adventures will not only help us raise awareness of the Explorer membership, it will also create community links and strengthen partnerships. We are grateful to have a vast range of brilliant destinations in our cities, and to see them all come back to life. They brought the whole campaign to life.

If you can win people’s trust… and their energy… you’re on to a winner

Coming into my new role as Marketing Director, I was eager to shake things up and embrace new challenges. Taking on the risk of the Chief Exploring Officer activity was something truly exciting in the sense that it completely spun the CEO moniker on it’s head in a really innovative way. It also allowed us to really invest in celebrating the best activities that each Point A city has to offer. Having our CEO capture masterfully curated content allows each and everyone of our guests to have real insight into the activities available in each location.

We all want to start out in new job roles with a bang, and both the initial trust, and subsequent energy, that the entire Point A team sunk into the CEO campaign allowed me to do this…

Make sure you’re keeping an eye out for more fun and surprises from us in the future.

You may also like