Red Roof Inn has always been 100% pet friendly, but only 23% of new potential guests were aware of that at the start of 2022.
And during the pandemic, when 1 in 5 households added a new pet to their family, this messaging became more important than ever for potential travelers. So we set out to find a budget-friendly way to reach a budget-minded audience with the long-term goal of driving up booking amongst younger pet travelers, increasing occupancy in the summer travel season, and standing out in the hospitality space.
1 in 3 travelers turn to social media when planning their trips. And budget pet travelers in particular need to know they can trust their hotels to accept their furry friends along the way.
So while competitors focused on promoting glamorous travel shots, we made the bold choice to go all in on creating a personality and voice for Red Roof that potential travelers can trust. So we dreamed up Red Rufus, the fun-loving and family-friendly pooch that champions pet travel.
MEET RED RUFUS
We know our core demographic loves traveling for sports games, with Red Roof Inn destinations around the country seeing an uptick in travel during the winter tailgate season. In order to get ahead of summer travel, we introduced Red Rufus in person at tailgate games across the country, where he connected with thousands of fans by giving away free Red Roof swag and posing for photos.
BUILDING THE CONNECTION
As tailgate season wound down, we took Red Rufus’s genuine connection to the internet by launching the brand new @red_roof TikTok channel with Red Rufus as our face. Red Rufus made a splash by consistently hopping on pet-friendly trends in order to capitalize on culture and build awareness with a younger demographic of travelers and their pets.
Red Rufus re-introduced himself to the world, celebrated the Puppy Bowl, put his own spin on the viral “corn song” and of course gave out some pet-friendly travel tips too, leading to the fastest-growing pet travel account on TikTok.
In the end, we saw a huge impact both in our bookings and on social media within the first 6 months of our Red Rufus launch, with awareness growth high among pet travelers.
All-time high in single-day revenue achieved for the start of summer
Booking rate raised to a consistent 80%, with over 84% of prospective pet travelers admitting Red Roof’s Pet’s Stay Free policy is now a major factor in their booking
Over 1.1 million video views and counting
Positive sentiment surrounding Red Roof with pet travelers has risen 7% since 2021, with 66% of all surveyed potential guests saying they would make Red Roof their #1 choice the next time they travel with their pet
From 0 to 55k followers on TikTok, Red Rufus is the #1 hotel mascot on the platform and most-followed pet friendly hotel brand on TikTok.