YWCA makes construction noise a good thing

The non-profit aims to make guests okay with the disruption, while also driving awareness for the work it does in Vancouver.


Summer brings sunshine, but the end of cold Canadian weather also brings an increase in construction activity in cities across Canada. YWCA Metro Vancouver is contributing to the construction people will be seeing, but it has launched a campaign to show Vancouver residents and guests of its hotel that this is one project they won’t want to complain about.

The YWCA Hotel and Residence is a non-profit hotel operated by YWCA Metro Vancouver, which offers affordable rates to travelers and sends all of its profits to YWCA programs supporting single mothers and families. In January, it began construction to add a new tower to the hotel, increasing its capacity by 65 rooms, which will allow it to host more guests and raise more funds for its cause.

Now that summer has started, more people are walking around downtown Vancouver and more tourists are visiting the city. Anticipating their complaints, creative put up along construction scaffolding, in common areas of the hotel and in its elevators, features local Vancouver stakeholders – like business people and community leaders, as well as previous guests – and emphasizes that putting up with the noise is a welcome price to pay so the YWCA can provide support to more people.


YWCA-EarplugsInside the rooms, guests will be given a set of earplugs that provide details about the expansion and explain why putting up with some noise is the right thing to do. Hotel staff will also be wearing t-shirts bearing the campaign message, and digital ads are running on travel and hotel booking sites.

“We couldn’t pretend the construction wasn’t going to be disruptive. We instead sought to reframe the noise as being for a good cause, and worth having a positive attitude about,” said Bryan Collins, ECD at 123w, the creative agency on the campaign. “We felt it was important to show a range of stakeholders supporting the construction and what it stands for. When people realize all the good this building does for women and single moms in need, they can’t help but get behind it.”

Besides explaining the construction and getting people to support it, the campaign is also an opportunity to drive more awareness for the hotel and the kinds of YWCA programs it supports. All profits from the hotel supports work that offers things like housing, employment training programs and violence prevention to women and families in need, something YWCA says isn’t well known by the public.

“Construction will affect guests’ experience of the hotel,” said Arthur Mills, VP of hotel and housing development at YWCA Metro Vancouver. “The challenge is to offer clear and fun communication to elevate the guests’ perception. We want them to understand this is all going towards an amazing cause and feel that we care.”