Even hotel chains can market well online

Posted by David Meerman Scott 04:37 AM on June 05, 2006

Now that the Spring conference season is in full swing, I have been traveling a lot as I present at events in cities all over the US. Anyone who is on the road often, staying in hotels 50 or 100 nights a year knows that the little things are important. For me, interesting style in hotels and even a bit of funkiness is stimulating and keeps me sharp. Typical chain hotels bore me. You know the type, everything is predictable, even the restaurant has the same name city-to-city in many chains.

A few days ago I had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Allegro in Chicago. Typically, it was booked for me by the sponsor of the speaking gig I had the next day. The Hotel Allegro is part of Kimpton Hotels and I loved it. It’s a well-restored older hotel property with the wonderful old-time bits kept such as the mail drop slots on each floor and the large chunky bathroom fixtures.

Great stuff, I'm thinking, but how does a hotel chain market such interesting details to people like me who prefer uniqueness to American-style chain hotel blandness? It starts with the Kimpton Hotels tagline: "every hotel tells a story." Nice. I get it. The tagline works because it tells me that each hotel is different.

What I really liked is that in each room there is a catalog where you can purchase things that the hotel uses to furnish the rooms. Called Kimpton Style the catalog is also available online. This is great web marketing. I always love the "show don’t tell" approach to marketing on the web. By selling things like lamps, mirrors, drinking glasses, bathrobes, and toiletries, Kimpton Hotels delivers a powerful message in a subtle way: "the fixtures, furnishings, and Amenities at our hotel are so great that you will want to use them at home." How much better is this low-key approach than the typical nonsense about hotel rooms that you find online?

This way of showing what your company is about through web content works for many businesses. How about yours?

David Meerman Scott

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