December 7, 2022
A new Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants survey of social media users worldwide asking for what they would like to see from the travel content they consume threw up a key finding: a yearning for more genuine and varied content from a more diverse and inclusive group of content creators.
The resounding response, 4,000 voices strong, led to Kimpton responding in kind with its ‘Stay Human’ global campaign that included a creative collective to act as an advisory team.
“Our founding principles have us rooted in human connection and delivering a 'Stay Human' experience," said Kathleen Reidenbach, chief customer officer of Kimpton in a statement.
"We want our guests and our employees to be comfortable and embraced for being their most authentic selves, no matter their pronoun, skin color or body type," she said.
Kimpton is part of IHG Hotels and Resorts’ Luxury & Lifestyle Collection.
The vast majority of those surveyed (85 percent) believe that social media content produced by travel industry brands should be more inclusive and that those brands should put more effort into providing diversity.
Though participants hailed from the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and the United States, this lack of realism and relatability most markedly affects U.S. consumers (88 percent) and millennials (88 percent).
This discrepancy between social media content and many travelers’ reality takes a psychological toll, with U.S. consumers again feeling most affected.
Participants described feeling pressurized to make their experiences ‘more social media worthy,’ and this pressure detracted from the joy of their travel experiences.
U.S. respondents were most likely (at 24 percent) to feel self-conscious by the majority of travel content offered, and 15 percent said is made them feel left out.
Forty-six percent of total respondents reported feeling jealous and/or self-conscious by current travel content.
One-third of those surveyed feel that their personal needs were not being met by current travel content, while 76 percent feel more realistic depictions of travel would be a better alternative to what is being offered.
To address these concerns and desires, Kimpton has launched its worldwide ‘Stay Human’ campaign, which will include an unprecedented creative collective serving as advisors.
Driving this campaign is a pledge to be more inclusive and diverse both in the experiences they provide and the creators that they present.
Kimpton vows to work with creators who vary in religion, ethnicity, religion and size among other characteristics, so that it makes up a minimum of 75 percent of brand content. It vows to present ‘zero digital distortion’ of individuals who appear on its social media, and to enhance the way it shares information critical individuals with disabilities, ensuring accessibility for all.
Notably, Kimpton pledges to be the first brand to do away with the ‘creator content brief,’ which means that rather than dictating what creators should present, the hotel chain will encourage them to showcase how they actually travel while embracing the values of the brand.
The brand also promises to create and continuously consult the first Kimpton Creator Collective, a diverse group of creators with a number of perspectives.
The collective includes Myrne, a Singaporean DJ and artist; British journalist, author and radio presenter Anna Whitehouse; and Australian director, model and creator Shayne Tino. The group met in November at the Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel to discuss their approaches to travel and what inspires them.
Beginning in February, ‘Stay Human’ hotel packages will be available at select Kimpton hotels, which will include a diverse array of experiences to suit a broader range of personalities and travel styles. Guests will be invited to attend and participate in themed pop-up events, social media contests and curated social hour menus.
For Kimpton, this is just one more step in a concerted effort towards diversity and inclusivity, and a continued effort to make sure all guests continue to feel welcome.
"(W)e know that social media and marketing content within the travel industry hasn't always reflected the people and experiences that truly make up our global community," Ms. Reidenbach said in the statement.
"That's why we are committed to diving deeper into the foundation of our 'Stay Human' brand ethos with new brand commitments that will continue to change the way we work with creators, the imagery we share and the experiences we offer," she said.