As a young student at Johnson & Wales University, I had a professor in hospitality management who constantly chanted “the customer is king!”. That was not anything new or profound but the fact that he exclaimed the phrase so often has stuck with me. Taking this a step backward, in the travel industry, how do we even get the customer? When there are so many options for products and services in travel, brands need to reinvent and expose themselves frequently to capture attention and steady the flow of new customers.
This weekend I stayed at the Ames Hotel in Boston, a Morgans Hotel Group property which opened in late 2009. Having already experienced a number of the group’s fantastic hotels in New York City, South Beach, and London, I was very intrigued to see how they transformed the old Ames office building into a hotel. To my delight, the hotel rooms, lobby, and Woodward restaurant/lounge all had been designed with time-period artifacts of the 1890’s blended with modern luxury.
What prompted me to write this piece, however, are the items I found in my room above the mini-bar. Not only were the obligatory snacks available, but they also had brilliantly packaged branded winter hats, shirts, and even a CD entitled “Morgans Hotel Group 4”. When I checked-out of the hotel, new “Ames” hotel hat on my head, I wondered what kind of impact branded merchandise has on a venue’s marketing strategy? I feel that if the merchandise is functional and provides brand exposure it will work. People are walking billboards for brands and embracing this marketing technique definitely makes an impact….
Plus, with a hat this comfy and warm – I may be a walking advertisement until spring!
For a refreshing drink, delicious meal, or great overnight stay in Boston, please visit: http://www.ameshotel.com