Travelers expect a lodging property to have a bed and a shower, but hoteliers should look beyond that to offer hotel amenities that also have marketing value. What do I mean by that? I mean the type of things that make a lasting impression. The kind that guests want to photograph and share on social media, and text to friends with an “OMG ISN’T THIS THE COOLEST THING EVER?”
The type of things that transforms guests into ambassadors.
Let’s face it. Travelers in 2023 will STILL be itching to make up for their pandemic travel pause. Call it revenge travel, rebound travel, or restorative travel…no matter the name, it means they’re seeking experiences memorable enough to feel like several vacations in one.
And extraordinary, unexpected amenities are one small yet meaningful way for hotels to deliver such standout memories. Better yet, they don’t have to be expensive or extravagant for either the hotel or the guest. They just need to be unusual enough to make an impression.
Here are five spectacular examples from around the world of hotel amenities that have marketing value:
The Toilet Paper at The View – Lugano, Switzerland
With its breathtaking setting up on a hill overlooking the Lake of Lugano in Switzerland, The View Lugano already offers a lot in the “making memories” department. But with the hotel’s “Tailor Made Services” program, guests can customize nearly every aspect of their stay prior to arrival. And while there are plenty of the usual customizable amenities on the list of options – pillows, champagne in the room, breakfast choices, etc. – one thing is SO unusual, it’s likely a guest will never forget it: you can choose from among five different colors of toilet paper to have in your bathroom. It’s a small detail that makes a huge impact.
The Bookmarks at The Betsy – Miami Beach, Florida
It’s pretty cool (so says this bookworm) that each room at The Betsy in South Beach has its own library, but then there’s the bookmark at turndown. Each night, guests receive a bookmark on their pillow made from recycled paper and wildflowers. Take ‘em home and plant them in your garden, and voila: you now have a tangible and lasting memory of your visit.
The Podcast Booth at The Sinclair – Fort Worth, Texas
Every hotel is looking for ways to make it easier for guests to share their experiences with others. The Sinclair takes it to the next level with a fully-equipped podcast booth for rent during a stay. Open to both guests and the public, this quirky (but brilliant) amenity rents for $50 per session. So, from the hotel’s perspective, over time the investment they made pays for itself. But even if it didn’t…the press coverage alone upon opening earned them a worthy ROI. This is DEFINITELY a hotel amenity that has marketing value, on multiple levels.
The Coffee Maker at the Marriott Hacienda Belen – San Jose, Costa Rica
Paying homage to the glorious thing that is Costa Rican coffee, the Marriott Hacienda Belen provides some elite guests with a traditional drip coffee maker to use during their stay…and then gifts it to them to take home. It’s such a startling difference from the “tech-ification” of the typical in-room coffee amenity at hotels that it stands out in a lasting way. Not only is it highly Instagrammable and TikTokable, it also taps into the extreme passion of serious coffee enthusiasts. A win-win.
The 3D Cocktails at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac – Quebec City, Canada
Heaven knows that people LOVE snapping and sharing pictures of beautiful cocktails. Indeed, at the time of this writing, the hashtag #cocktails on Instagram had 36 million posts. The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac takes it one step further by making some of their cocktails video-worthy as well. The 3D cocktails feature a small model made of sugar and natural flavors (the one above is a miniature of the hotel itself). Once the liquor is added, the model slowly dissolves to create a perfectly blended cocktail. Delicious drink…delicious marketing.
The point is…not EVERY touchpoint of a guest’s stay needs to provide a snap-to-attention, memorable “wow.” Too many of them would just be desensitizing anyway. But strategic pops of surprise can capture a guest’s heart and make a lasting impression. Hotel amenities that have marketing value can be a low-cost way to do that. I mean, you have to give them toilet paper… why not offer it to them in pink?
For other ideas on how to make a lasting impression on guests, check out these two other resources:
Tiny design details can make big memories in hospitality.