How does a hotel get “heads in beds?” From measuring the results of ads to getting the sales team to win the big events that book many rooms, hotels have to come up with new and creative ways to stand out so they are not seen as a commodity. If you have ever wondered how to get out of the pricing game for room rates, this is for you.
When I sold ads for W magazine at Conde Nast, I was involved with convincing The Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas to run their launch campaign with us. The strip is filled with so many hotels I wondered what they were going to do to stand out. They told me they didn’t want to just compete with the Bellagio, they wanted to attract customers that didn’t necessarily like to visit Vegas.
Their whole focus was on “unexpected luxury” and wanted to take that to a whole new level. They planned to do everything from an art exhibit in the lobby to having unique fashion boutiques that were nowhere else to be found in Las Vegas. Because W magazine’s editorial was at the intersection of art and fashion, they decided our audience was a fit.
The next step was to get awareness and buzz around the launch. They looked to me and my marketing team at W to come up with an idea to provide added value for their ad spend. We decided to have a fashion show, using clothes from their boutiques, at night around their swimming pool during the MAGIC trade fashion show. The promoted it and aired the show live on their billboard above the strip. They built a runway over the water in the pool and everyone in the fashion business who was attending the trade show came to the fun fashion show that got picked up by the national press.
Then I suggested they have their sales team start marketing to all the fashion brands who would be returning to Las Vegas for the next trade show to book their rooms now as they would continue to have unique and custom events. The result was The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas sold out their rooms and then continued to get those guests to tell their friends they had to stay there. Once you give influencers a great experience, they become your brand ambassadors.
In my book, Better Selling Through Storytelling, I talk about the journey of going from invisible to irresistible. Think of these as rungs on a ladder and you have to figure out how to move up one rung at a time.
Invisible—The hotel was new and nobody had heard of them.
Insignificant—Even for the few people who saw it being built they didn’t think it was worth their time investigating staying there during fashion week.
Interesting—When we started describing the fashion show around the pool at night we started getting requests to attend.
Intriguing—People wanted to know more. How could you have the models “walking on water?” was a question they got after seeing the teaser on the invitation.
Irresistible—The pool area could only accommodate a fixed number of people and this became the must-attend party with a waiting list!
The key to going from invisible to irresistible to drive sales for your hotel is to first realize where you are on the ladder with your ideal clients. To get the big events that book blocks of rooms make sure you are offering them more than just a place for heads in beds. Give them a wow experience that will make your property irresistible.