High End Hotels Reward with Experiences, not Clutter

High End Hotels Reward with Experiences, not Clutter

Travolta StarwoodThe Wall Street Journal recently featured a story about a California couple who traded in a whopping 124,000 Starwood Preferred points for the chance to accompany John Travolta to the premiere of Hairspray in New York. While not exactly my cup of tea, I can only imagine how much these folks are enjoying sharing stories and pictures from this experience (and how thrilled Starwood must be for the WSJ placement). Creating conversational capital for your customers is a high ROI investment.

At the WOMMA Summit in Las Vegas, Marc Priut, in speaking about his personal experiences spending his vacation following the band Sister Hazel, captured this phenomenon as “People don’t really want ‘things’ anymore. They want to ‘do.’ While all hotels provide a bed and shelter, hotels that inspire loyalty are the ones who provide experiences worth retelling. Sending top customers to a movie premiere definitely fits the “do” bill. At the beginning of the year, I wrote about Kimpton Hotels going above and beyond to solicit feedback and then shocking me by actually engaging in the specifics of my feedback. Kimpton never disappoints in providing me with a great experience in the moment and a great story to retell.

As with most business travelers, I don’t want to be rewarded with a t-shirt or other marketing clutter, but if you leave a copy of the New Yorker on the coffee table, remember me by name, or bring a goldfish to my room, I will remember that and tell someone. I have purchased a night at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco in DC as a gift for my father’s birthday on Thursday. It is my hope that while he is extremely hard to buy for in terms of “things”, this might start a tradition of cutting the clutter in my own life and providing family and friends with the gift of remarkable experiences instead.

4 Replies to “High End Hotels Reward with Experiences, not Clutter”

  1. 124,000 points is a remarkable feat considering Starwood points are dropped after a year, making it a ridiculous program for the occasional traveller.

  2. Sigh. Someone who would love to find the New Yorker at their bedside. Yes, I think we would be fast friends if we lived less than 3,000 miles apart. As for the “do” rather than “things” approach to marketing, I was recently captivated by the “ZERO-G Weightless Experience” at… Sharper Image-? Kudos to Sharper Image for going above and beyond their “for the person who has everything” pointless electronics. Aside from the souvenir flight suit (and come ON, it IS kind of cool), for a mere $3,675 you can give yourself the ultimate weight loss experience. AND you get to eat floating m&ms too. I’m IN.

  3. While I’m not a Nascar fan, I’m a huge fan of the fact they built their billion dollar name on the “do”. There are not many, if any, sports that the fans can be so close to the action….radio access to hear every word between the driver and crew chief during an actual race, infield seating where you can walk and gawk at the pits from as close as 20 feet and the driving experiences that Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and some other greats of racing offer at many of the tracks across the country. Nascar understands that the experience is what keeps 250,000 fans coming to the tracks.

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