Gold – Sid Lee

Sid Lee's Grand impression: Last year's B!G winner makes it two for two by adding a seductive tour to the MGM Grand website

Challenge


The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is one of the largest and best-known hotels in the world. But competition is stiff in Sin City, with other hotels offering gimmicks including 109-storey observation towers, Venice-style canals and Coney Island themes.
How could the Grand stand apart from the crowd and achieve its goals of increasing on- and offline reservations by 5% and the average room rate by 3%?


Insight


The team at Montreal’s Sid Lee started with the fact that most people book their vacation destinations online.
eMarketer.com found that online travel purchases increased by no less than 90% between 2000 and 2002 – a trend that has continued, with growth between 15 and 30% annually.
Sid Lee decided that positioning the MGM Grand as a high-quality experience was the key to attracting more clients, and that they would have to be won over during pre-book online visits.


B!G Idea


First, Sid Lee convinced MGM Grand to spend most of its marketing budget on a lavish website presentation. To seal the deal online, attractive hosts take visitors on a 90-second virtual journey around the hotel’s luxurious amenities, including entertainment, dining, spa facilities and, last but not least, accommodations.
Sid Lee figured that if MGM Grand offered the most compelling online enticements, potential customers would be more likely to book, and if they were convinced that it had
the highest-quality amenities, they would pay a premium.
To drive consumers to the website, banners were posted on travel sites including Destinationcoupons.com, Tripadvisor.com,
Virtualtourist.com,
Yahootravel.com and
Fodors.com.



Impact


Over the past year, the MGM Grand saw an 8.8% increase in telephone reservations and an impressive 25% increase in online bookings. As well, the average daily room rate increased by 5%.
MGM also scored increased spending on its entertainment offerings, not to mention international recognition for the site in the form of a Bronze Lion at Cannes this year and Best in Show at the Digital Marketing Awards in 2006.



The judges have their say



Lawrie Ferguson


‘The goal is to show examples of agency thought leadership that goes beyond campaign contributions. Sid Lee’s work for MGM Grand is a fine example of this.
‘The agency scored strategy points in their ability to take the insight that most travellers pre-shop their vacation online, and reposition the client’s dollars to an online ‘immersive journey through the MGM Grand.’ The video gives the viewer a real taste of the MGM experience, fully delivering on the conception to execution points. Sid Lee also demonstrated the impact of this new strategy as MGM surpassed their bookings goals.’

Ken Wong


‘The most measurable idea was Sid Lee’s MGM Grand project. It wasn’t just that it provided the detailed metrics most others did not – which arguably is inherent in the technology used versus other campaigns – it was the alignment of creative and execution with very precise business objectives. To me, these were big ideas not just in the insight that drove them, but in the fact that they went places few had gone before.’



Mike Welling


‘Sid Lee’s MGM campaign was a great example of the agency being challenged with the client’s business objectives and then having the opportunity to identify how to attack the challenge rather than just execute. Many agencies, large and small, can offer very valuable strategic counsel, if only they are asked.’



Alain Gignac


‘Sid Lee’s Vegas campaign is all about consumer experience. I believe this campaign communicates the target audience’s desires and aspirations. A true brand experience – no wonder it performed so well on every front. Clever, clear and sexy!’