The New Language(s) Of Marketing

A recent press release from the Acme Hotel Co. in River North, Chicago, included these phrases: Snapchat Spectacles, Amazon Echo, ESP Guitar, DIY cocktail.

Yes, it may be time to provide a translating service for hoteliers trying to keep up with speeding changes related to technology and demographics. This hotel, whose website says it’s targeted at the “tragically hip,” offers Snapchat Spectacles at the front desk on a first-come, first-served basis. The glasses have a button on them which, when pressed, will create a 10-second video “snap” that is wirelessly uploaded to the memories page of a personal Snapchat, readied to be posted for friends and family to see. 

Of course, the in-room Amazon Echo — one of those personal digital “assistants” now rampant among the tech savvy — can help guests decide where to go in town to get the best videos. The DIY (do-it-yourself) cocktails can be created with an in-room kit that costs $18, makes two drinks “and the shaker is yours.”

And those guitars — the trendiest, of course — are an amenity in some suites and available free at the front desk for those wanting to try one out. Also available at the front desk for free are Apple Watches.

Jim Harness, the hotel’s general manager, says “Acme prides itself on offering fun and ahead-of-the-curve technology to help guests make the most of their stay. The Snapchat Spectacles allow guests to showcase their Chicago adventure almost instantly, both hands-free and camera-free.”

All very cute, but amidst all the hipster jargon are some shrewd marketing messages. For instance, anyone who books the hotel directly, rather than through a third party, gets $10 a day toward onsite food and drink (including the hotel’s very own “après-ski hot tub bar in the basement; it’s called Bunny Slope.) 

While this hotel is deploying products and phrases that are new, other marketers are just plain making up words. At Travel Portland, the Oregon city’s tourism bureau, they have created something called a “You-can-o-mizer,” an online video tool that can create 1,296 possible combinations of things “You Can” do in Portland. 

The slot-machine-inspired “You-can-o-mizer” ( provides a sampling of the endless possibilities that “You Can, in Portland.” Users simply press “Spin” to see an array of fun (and sometimes fanciful) accessories adorn Portlanders’ favorite local monster and stop-motion video character, Sasquatch. Visitors can keep spinning to see more combinations, explore rich content about Portland inspired by the outfits, and share their creations on social media using the campaign hashtag, #YouCanInPortland. 

Learning a new language is intimidating but with the rush of technology and demand for memorable experiences, marketers should at least be familiar with what’s going on out there, and decide whether it’s right for them. A downtown, branded business hotel may not stock guitars at the front desk but it may want to think about what could make a stay more fun, and more memorable.

Everybody’s sharing their experiences, whether it be through Snapchat Spectacles or something as old fashioned as Facebook, but that’s how the word is getting out even if that word seems like it comes from a different language.

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