Hilton Hotels is suggesting that if you’re broke, you should spend £129 a night on its hotels

This is a marketing fail. I’ve just received the following press release from Hilton Hotels, which is one of the most ill-judged I’ve seen in a while. Someone at it, or its PR firm Grayling (whoever wrote it) needs to get in the real world. It either shows a firm totally out of touch or a very poor piece of PR that no one has given any real thought to.

Here’s the introduction of it…

The best broke-ations, city breaks that won’t break the bank

Are you feeling the pinch after shopping for Christmas and partying at New Year? We all are! But this doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home feeling sorry for yourself. If someone told you that you could go on holiday even after your Christmas spending, would you believe them? Hilton Worldwide has put together a list of the best broke-ations, city breaks that won’t break the bank.

Sunshine on a budget


If you’re seeking a bit of sunshine during these dreary months, but don’t want to go overboard, Hilton Dubai is the place for you. From just 129 GBP per night, the hotel offers you a home away from home in the Port Rashid district of Dubai. Why don’t you hop on the Dubai Metro and discover all that Dubai offers. The convenient location makes the hotel a great place to stay.

It then continues with a range of other hotels some admittedly in the ‘from £40 to £60’ a night price range.

Now I’ve nothing against people paying £129 for a hotel room (as long as it’s good value and not available cheaper elsewhere) so if it wants to advertise these as discounted – as long as they’re cheaper than normal, all is fine.

Yet portraying this as a holiday for people who are “broke” is poor taste. The dictionary definition of broke is “having completely run out of money” – I think perhaps in that case £903 a week for a hotel is quite a lot, and of course let’s remember you still have to pay for the flight. Plus these are “from prices”, in other words, you’ll likely pay more.

I suspect some ‘blue sky creative thinking’ marketing team came up with the word “broke-ations” as a nice wheeze, but then the products they chose to connect it to are mis-targeted and brand negative. Back to the drawing board.