Crafting Experiences in Shanghai

Case Study: Crafting Experiences in Shanghai



China’s hotel development growth had reached an unprecedented rate, so for the newly opened Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao cutting through the noise to generate consumer awareness amidst fierce competition was no easy task. WE Red Bridge was called upon to help the hotel carve out a distinct market position and avoid becoming another cookie cutter property that media and consumers glossed over.


With more than eight other five-star hotels within a nine-kilometer radius, Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao needed to find and showcase its differentiation to attract consumer and media attention. WE found the right positioning through a focus on health and wellness, supported by Meliá’s incredible facilities including a first-class spa, healthy and delicious dining options and a club lounge. According to a recent Gallup survey, 40% of the Chinese workforce said they experience high levels of workplace stress (and those doubling as business-trip road warriors only compounds that stress). In addition, Chinese consumers are increasingly paying more attention to wellness – industry observers have cited a shift in the importance of spa and wellness programs. So, how best to create brand messages that resonate with media gatekeepers who have seen it all – from extravagant hotel grand openings to being lavished with gifts?

WE Red Bridge identified an opportunity to elevate the global wellness proposition to a holistic and immersive experience that Chinese travelers desire. Enter, Joy of Being. This launch platform allowed us to position Meliá as a brand that cares about guests’ wellbeing, establishing the flagship Meliá property as a sanctuary in the city’s buzzing economic development zone – a haven where guests come home to relax, reflect and recharge. Before a widespread launch, we softened the ground with media sessions where the Joy of Being wellness concept came to life through three dimensions: Mindful Eating, Sleep and Relaxation. Each focus area connected to special experiences where the media could see first-hand the property’s unique wellness offerings and amenities (ranging from serving media special Balance by Meliá breakfasts and special gifts of essential oils and YHI Spa-inspired music, to special relaxation-focused spa treatments). These experiences concluded with tailored itineraries to host press overnight at Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao. Media found that these more personalized considerations within each itinerary brought the dimension of wellness to life and demonstrated how it inspires the urban lifestyle concept of the hotel. Additional amplification via social media on Weibo and WeChat reinforced the lifestyle theme, with elements of design, ambience, service, and the hotel amenities threaded throughout, raising the visibility of Meliá as a leader and innovator in this arena.


Our goal was to break through the noise, carve out a unique position and generate awareness with consumers. To say we accomplished that is putting it mildly. It’s all in the numbers, after all. We secured 152 pieces of exposure in media and social media, RMB 4M+ in advertising value equivalent, 14.9M+ in total impressions and 87 new spa and gym membership sign-ups in a span of three months.