Catering to a new 'Jeneration' of independently minded travellers, the new brand will be launched in Singapore, Hong Kong, Brisbane, Penang, Johor Bahru, Manila, Maldives, Beijing and Shenyang from September 2014 to March 2015. Hotel Jen Orchardgateway in Singapore is first in line.
Greg Dogan, president and CEO of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, said that the Traders brand has had a 30-year history of generating "solid business" and "carving out a niche amidst a highly competitive industry" among a base of mostly mid-range business travellers.
“However, we are looking to the future and—based on extensive consumer research and
insight into the way our target market lives and travels—we are recognising and responding to the global travel trends," he said. "This will keep us relevant and competitive for the next 20 years to come.”
The rebranding campaign is inspired by a "very special" and "revolutionary" virtual-persona hotel hospitality concept. The ‘Jen’ persona is meant to portray a "professional hotelier who loves life, travel and the adventure of discovering new places", according to a press release.
Hotel Jen, which positions guests as "friends of Jen", will appeal most to travellers "with a millennial mindset".
“Our existing customer base has been extremely loyal to us, but we also recognise that their needs have changed," said Lothar Nessmann, chief operations officer of the Hotel Jen brand. "Today’s guests want more flexibility, as non-traditional work hours tend to blend the boundaries between business and leisure."
Guy Parsonage, CEO of Fluid, Hotel Jen's agency, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the name is "fresh, fuss-free and catchy" and works well in both English and Chinese with no negative connotations. (This also explains why the company did not choose the full version of the name, Jenny, which actually means "female donkey").
As an important part of the hotel's brand architecture, the moniker is "easily recallable and pronounceable, good from the searchability aspect," said Parsonage, "and not as generic or bland as Traders".
The ‘J’ symbols will be located in places of local interest, including specialist shops, restaurants, shopping malls and public transport, in the form of sculptures, posters or other formats. Winners will be announced on 22 September via email and publication in the Straits Times.
Future Hotel Jen development projects are under discussion in key gateway cities in Southeast Asia, while a digital-first strategy allows "a constant stream of messenging around the elements of adventure and fun", more so than traditional channels, added Fluid's Parsonage.