Extended Stay America wants to get guests cooking this summer.
The chain is sponsoring a national recipe contest with Food Network host Sunny Anderson to promote its key brand differentiator—fully equipped in-room kitchens. To enter, participants submitted travel-friendly recipes and photos of finished dishes online at awayfromhomecooking.com. Four finalists, including two fan favorites selected by voters, will win a trip to New York City to compete in a hotel room kitchen cook-off on Sept. 16, judged by Anderson.
As part of an ongoing partnership, Extended Stay America has launched a national advertising campaign starring Anderson, which debuted a new tagline: “a kitchen, a great price, the hotel that’s just right.” The brand also released its “Away From Home Cooking” cookbook to help travelers make the most of their in-room kitchens, says Tom Seddon, chief marketing officer for Extended Stay America.
“The recipe contest is an exciting extension of these efforts, encouraging guests to interact with the brand while gaining perspective on the endless cuisine possibilities that can be created using the utensils and appliances available in an Extended Stay America in-room kitchen,” Seddon says.
According to Seddon, 89 percent of travelers prefer cooking in a hotel room to eating out. “Whether staying for a day, week, or month, guests appreciate the flexibility provided by having an in-room kitchen, allowing them to avoid the usual fast food or takeout,” he says.
He adds that guests have praised Extended Stay America’s kitchens, and notes that having a kitchen in every guestroom is the company’s top point of difference.
“The response from guest has been overwhelming,” Seddon says. “People are excited to have all the comforts of home while traveling and the addition of a ‘kitchen, kitchen’ brings that full circle. A ‘kitchen, kitchen” meaning not what you might expect in a standard hotel room but a real kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, stove top, pots and pans, dishes and silverware.”
The contest winner will receive $5,000, plus a trip the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, Oct. 16-19. The winning recipe will be included in the “Away From Home Cooking” cookbook, alongside dishes created by Anderson, such as her North Carolina braised ribs and a Philly cheesesteak rice bowl.
Anderson says her upbringing as an army brat and her travel-heavy schedule make her the perfect judge for a contest themed around cooking on the road. “Creating recipes for ESA guests has been tons of fun and allowed me to be truly creative,” Anderson says. “I can’t wait to taste the recipes invented by ESA’s own guests.”