Build On What Makes You Unique
I’ve been writing about travel marketing for a long time, and the changes over that period, of course, are overwhelming. While early campaigns were Internet-free, they are now dominated by online initiatives – heavy on Facebook contests and other social media efforts (although one arena that hasn’t changed much involves tie-ins with movies and television.)
But just because social/electronic platforms have become dominant, it doesn’t mean they are crucial to success. Consider Andaz, Hyatt’s trendy upscale brand, which prides itself not only on a highly personal style of service, but also creativity that is reflective of its community.
A while back, the Andaz in Liverpool brought in an author to read to guests. Then, earlier this year, two Andaz locations -- one on Wall Street and one on Fifth Avenue across the street from the New York Public Library – brought in their own in-residence attractions.
At the Wall Street hotel, a genuine accountant turned a suite into an office and offered April 15 tax services to guests. While only a few guests took advantage of the offer, the publicity generated was tremendous – and, more importantly, conveyed the message that Andaz is a pretty unusual upscale hotel, and one that knows where it’s located – in this case in the heart of the financial world.
Around the same time, the Andaz on Fifth Avenue brought in Mister Cartoon, a renowned tattoo artist with a background in graffiti. Guests were able to “jump” the year-long waiting list to get tattooed by the master. Mr. Cartoon also painted a mural on a door to the hotel’s bar – one of a series of artists to do so.
This time, it was all about Andaz being a place for creative people – re: the library – and its recognition of the importance of creative artists to the community.
The public relations person for the New York Andaz properties has some other tricks up her sleeve. What they all have in common is creating an aura around the brand that is consistent, local and creative. Most important, they reflect what the brand is trying to do.
Sure, social media came into play with comments by guests, etc. – but that is only enhanced by the fact that the original idea was original and memorable.
While Facebook contests and TV tie-ins might tend to run into one another, how many hotels have had a tattoo artist in residence? Or an accountant? And not gratuitously – but to establish an image and a brand.
So, keep the Facebook contests coming. But take a look around where you live, figure out what makes you really different and build on it – in a fun and even funky way.