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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

IHG Mailer

Winner in Employee Engagement

Entered in Hospitality


IHG Hotels & Resorts are long time clients of award-winning COFFEE Labs, an NYC-based creative agency focused on immersive and innovative technologies in travel, sports and entertainment.

IHG came to COFFEE looking for ways to introduce their upcoming global relaunch of their loyalty program, IHG One Rewards to internal audiences. COFFEE came up with a strategy to "push the envelope" and bring an interactive and unique experience to colleagues around the world, reaching both hotel teams and corporate colleagues alike.

With five distinct member tiers, ranging from Club to Diamond Elite, the new IHG One Rewards provides members more flexibility and options than ever before when it comes to earning and using their rewards. The objective was simple; find an innovative way to engage tens of thousands of IHG employees across the globe, unite them as one team, all while educating them about the new IHG One Rewards program and inspire them to advocate all its benefits to IHG guests.

Strategy and Execution

COFFEE Labs' concept was to create and execute a mixed media solution that combined traditional printed mailers with new and emerging digital technology.

“Out of the box” COFFEE created and designed a 13x9 mailer complete with a custom QR code and step-by-step instructions on how to activate the digital experience. The mailer was custom designed portfolio style, and included a dedicated pocket for IHG education materials, celebratory stickers, and collectibles for hotel colleagues. Upon opening the mailer, participants saw five custom insert cards below the QR code, which corresponds to the five IHG One Rewards member tiers, and showcased  a variety of properties in the IHG portfolio.

When creating this global campaign, we remained cognizant of the many differing demographics (age and geography) that would be receiving the immersive mailer. The printed mailers, WebAR hologram and interactive 360 tours were created in 14 different languages.

Utilizing a tangible mailer enabled employees to feel familiarity within the communication; then, the WebAR hologram and interactive 360 tours added a brand new suite of learning tools for the program’s communication success.

Lastly, adding a digital layer to traditional media enabled us to measure engagement like never before. Enabling tracking analytics to the QR code and customized image scanning plus every hotspot link tapped, we were able to track engagement at an extremely granular level.

Step one was for colleagues to scan the QR code, which spawned a life sized WebAR hologram of IHG Global CEO Keith Barr. Barr follows his introduction by taking the time to thank each employee and share a personal message, before going on to explain the new IHG One Rewards program, purpose of the mailer, and exciting interactive contents within.

Step two prompted colleagues to pull out and scan each custom-made card that reacted to image recognition technology. The cards were designed to “come to life” when staff pointed their cameras at them. Each card took employees on an immersive 360 tour of various IHG properties around the globe and across their hotel portfolio, and via interactive hotspots, they were able to learn and discover more about each location and IHG One Rewards.

After completing the experience, the final step prompted colleagues to take a selfie, which included a custom border to showcase their ‘journey around the world.’ Lastly, they had the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes for the chance to win IHG One Rewards points.


At COFFEE Labs we use Augmented Reality as an important concept within the hospitality industry, because it allows our clients and other related businesses to enhance the physical environment they are promoting (i.e. their hotel resorts and rewards programs).

Another key to the success of this internal communication was that immersive technologies such as AR and 360 interactive video enable participants to learn and retain more information than they do by just reading or watching a 2D video. In fact, participants that use immersive learning tools recall over 90% of what they learn compared to just 10% who learn by traditional means. 

Following the campaign success COFFEE also produced an event based version for IHG’s annual Americas Investors and & Leaderships Conference. Attended by over 4,000 IHG employees who were able to interact with large format posters and take 360 Resort Tours and meet the hologram version of their CEO Kieth Barr.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

COFFEE Labs, IHG Hotels & Resorts

Entry Credits