On any given night, roughly 50% of hotel rooms are sitting vacant. Good ones too. 4 and 5 star hotel rooms. Crazy right?
That spelled opportunity for the founders of Hotwire. Aggregate unsold hotel inventory and make it available at deep discounts. The only problem, hotels don’t want to diminish their brands by advertising 50% discounts. So Hotwire developed the first opaque model in online travel. ”When hotels have unsold rooms, they give them to Hotwire. So you get 4 star hotels. At two star prices.” That tagline served us across dozens of campaigns created for Hotwire over the course of our relationship with this wonderful brand. We helped them rise from #7 in the hotly contested online travel category to #3 over the course of ten years.
But my favorite Hotwire story was when we were developing their jingle. We were having a heck of a time. Multiple jingle houses had failed to satisfy our client. We were down to the wire. We had a jingle presentation the next day and nothing was floating our boats. So I went in with the composer and pulled an all nighter. The account guy saluted us good night at 2am and we kept going. By morning, we had our jungle. We played it for our client and they loved it. You may remember it. “H-O-T-W-I-R-E Hotwire dot com!” The client loved it. They just had one little problem. In our fatigue we over looked one teensy thing. We had misspelled Hotwire in our jingle. It read “H-O-T-W-R-I-E, Hotwire dot com!” I guess a good jingle can survive such an offense because we quickly fixed it and it went on to run for almost a decade.