Back in August, the yet-to-open Virgin Hotel in Chicago started the #VirginRumors social media campaign. The hotel began encouraging people to spread rumors about the hotel on social media, Virgin Rumors. The person who had the best #VirginRumor would then win a two-night stay at the hotel during the opening party along with airfare and transportation.
The owner of the hotel, Sir Richard Branson, had actually act out one of the Virgin rumors. Richard Branson was tucking the big winner and her fiancée in and was reading them a bed time story.
If Richard Branson isn’t able to provide personal advice or read you a story, Lucy is a great stand-in. Lucy is an app that is your personal assistant during your stay. Lucy gives you advice to find the best local restaurants and gives access to the Virgin Hotels chatroom where you can get recommendations from other guests, meet up, or make new contacts. Besides that Lucy is the remote control you need to watch TV or order movies on demand. You can browse the menu and order with a few ticks. Order while you’re out and come back to find a meal waiting for you.
Marriott enables guests to share their experiences
Guests staying at selected Marriot Hotels will be able to use a complimentary GoPro camera during their stay. To share their experiences with family and friends at home.
An old trick to get your guest to share their experiences at your spot.
Somewhere in 2009 we wrote an inspiring article about the Omni hotels who gave their guests a camcorder for the weekend. At the same time these guests were asked to upload their greatest video and with this video they could win another free stay for the weekend in one of the Omni hotels.
And don’t forget the inspiring article about enabling your guests to make the best #selfies in Paris. The luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel launched a ‘Selfie in Paris’ campaign in August 2014. They offer their guests a tour of Paris’ best selfie spots with a private car and driver.
Enable your guests to share their experiences
The selected Marriott hotels do have perfect spots to use the GoPro. It must be great to share experiences like scuba diving in the Caribbean, summiting Machu Picchu, or jungle trekking. The program has been launched in 17 properties across the Caribbean and Latin America, destinations for the outdoor adventurer and with a lot of scenic activities. Guests can test GoPro’s latest Hero4 camera.
Check out your surroundings and enable your guests to make the best pictures possible! Selfies or video’s during a special tour or lent them a new camera to play with….. And if they share it on their social media platforms, we hope that their family and friends want to visit your hotel as well. Check out the video’s on Marriott’s website Travel Brilliantly, you will certainly find a spot you would love to visit!
A social dining app: Chattable
Chattable is a social dining app which brings people together in a whole new way.
Social dining app
With the Chattable-app on your phone you can see which restaurants are affiliated with Chattable anywhere in the world. You can see the affiliated restaurants in the overview screen with the opening hours, type of kitchen and the distance from your current location. You can also see if someone already made a reservation or if there are people waiting in the restaurant. Your table guests will not know your name, your gender and your appearance until they sit down with you at the table.
Chattable restaurants have a special ‘Chat-Table’ reserved for people who are coming alone, and like to eat with company. According to Martin Opdam, cofounder of the app, a lot of the people who eat alone grab their phone, tablet or eat in their hotel room. Millions of people all over the world are eating alone. The app is developed to bring these people together.
Increasing sales for hospitality businesses
The amount of business stays and single person households increases, this makes that more and more people are having dinner alone. Next to this there is an increasing need or face-to-face contact instead of digital contact. Research of The University of Hotel Management Maastricht, commissioned by KHN (Royal Dutch Hospitality Association), shows that the expenditures are higher when people eat together. The restaurant owner has more tables for other guests if he brings the people who are eating alone together, which creates a win-win situation.
The restaurant owner pays a low pay-per-use rate for everyone who sits down and checked in through the app. The margin of the owner remains guaranteed.
The app went live on 12 January 2015.
The Apothic Crush letter generator: you’re my crush for Valentine!
Writing somebody a love letter for Valentine is difficult! But what if a pro did it for you, would you dare send it to your crush? As owner of a restaurant or hotel you could use the tactic this winery did! They made a limited-edition red wine called Apothic Crush and help with writing a love letter.
The Apothic Crush letter generator
The Apothic Crush Letter Generator is now online. So think about somebody you want to write a love letter and go to the Apothic Crush letter generator and answer a few simple questions. A computer operated by a handful of poets will take your longings, your emotions and deepest desires and translate them into an electronically delivered, handwritten letter you can give with a bottle of Apothic.
About the limited edition wine Apothic Crush
The people behind this initiative make wine. Red wine, more specifically, smooth-drinking limited-edition red wine called ‘Apothic Crush’. Tasting notes include: chocolate, caramel, luscious red fruit and endless possibilities to combine with food.
Why not create a possibility to have poets writing poems or love letters to go with an original invitation for a Valentine’s dinner at your restaurant or a night out in your hotel? Ask a couple of insights and create one of the greatest gifts you can give to your loved one, a poem or love letter.
Random acts of kindness for Valentine’s Day
McDonald’s uses the ‘random acts of kindness’ marketing technique from 1 February until Valentine’s Day. All over America their guests may be randomly selected to pay for their meal with selfies, hugs, high fives, and other forms of love.
Random acts of kindness
In 2009 we already wrote about the unexpected friendly gestures the Hyatt hotel group did to their guests. They gave away free massages, offered breakfast and randomly selected guests that didn’t had to pay the bar tab. Also companies like KLM used acts of generosity in the past. With the prominent position of social media in our lives these unexpected gestures are a strong stimulant for positive mouth-to-mouth or ‘mouth-to-media’ advertising.
The effect of the gestures by McDonald’s
On the internet more and more videos and pictures with the responses from guests who are offered a free meal are posted. This works out great. The company invests in an advertising campaign and free meals, their guests talk, write and share videos with their friends about it.
At the website of RAK, random acts of kindness, you will find a lot of inspiration for your act of kindness. They even have their own #RAKweek2015 for stories about random kindness from 6 to 15 February.
Creative dreams in the hotel rooms of The Hospital Club
The Hospital Club launched fifteen unique new hotel rooms in their creative hub in the heart of London.
Sleeping in The Hospital Club means…
The luxury boutique bedroom extension to The Hospital Club provides members, guests and clients with a welcoming home-from-home where they can work, rest and play. Guests can fuel their creativity at the restaurant. The hotel rooms have a unique twist, like in their amenities which include inspiring turndown cards (brain power tool kits by the School of Life) and an erotic mini bar by Holloway Smith Noir available for those wishing to explore their creativity in other ways! There is a cocktail trolley at 7pm each evening and suite guests can enjoy a bespoke bartending experience in their rooms, with their own personal bartender. Rooms are available in four sizes: small, medium, large and suite.
Association with the contemporary art world
Continuing the strong heritage and association the Club has established with the contemporary art world, each room features the works of individual artists, including Alyson Mowat, James Alec Hardy, Dominic Beattie, Noah da Costa, Rick Guest, Jacob Love, Harriet Clare, Kristof Jeney, Christian Thompson and David Degreef.
Being part of the creative hub as guest
All bedroom guests have full access to the facilities of the Club including the production and screening facilities and the enviable schedule of member events which include comedy nights, mixology classes, industry networking drinks as well as premium ticketed events such as chef master classes.
About The Hospital Club
The Hospital Club is a unique hub in the heart of London, offering the members of the creative industries the environment and facilities they need to create, connect and collaborate. As part of London’s creative community, the role of the hub is to discover and host the best creative talent and produce, publish and celebrate their work. In addition is The Hospital Club Studio London’s most central and luxuriously appointed TV production facility (which regularly hosts WATCHDOG (BBC), THE AGENDA (ITV) as well as clients including Disney, MTV and BBC Comedy.
Book a room for a few hours
When booking a room in The Netherlands online, Dutch hotels are often limited to a standard rate for one night. It’s hardly impossible to book a room for a few hours.
There are website that gave it a try, such as ‘Day-Use Hotels‘ which we wrote about in 2012. That website is in the Netherlands still limited to Hotel & Spa Savarin and offers a minimum stay of five hours. The website of between9and5.com gives a little more options for a room, although even there fixed time frames apply with a minimum of five hours. It’s still not possible to book a room for a few hours.
Expanding time windows
With an emerging international 24-hour economy, arrival and departure times are no longer as set as they used to be. If guests themselves could indicate during which time they wish to use the room, hotels would get the maximum out of their available rooms.
Capsules in Asia
Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong are more familiar with booking rooms by the hour, since it is a regularity that tourists or businessmen rest a few hours in capsule hotels. Green Plaza Shinjuku Capsule Hotel even offers 630 cabins, but these are restricted to men only. A capsule measures 190cm by 100cm by 90cm and has air conditioning, a TV, radio, alarm clock and adjustable lighting.
Book a room for a few hours
Although sleeping capsules seem claustrophobic to us and do not fit our culture, Dutch guests from the region might find it pleasant to book a hotel for a few hours in the Netherlands as well. Only not like the tourists and business guests do in Asia. It can be an opportunity for dating purposes.
Dating in hotel rooms
The dating market is hot! There is an interesting market for the visitors of dating sites like Second Love and Ashley Madison. Apps like Tinder and Grindr are in high demand and it is becoming easier for ‘adventurers’ get in touch with like-minded people. This (online) dating market is an interesting business for hotels. There’s taboo on renting rooms for these occasions, but for hotels it’s a chance to earn extra money by renting rooms for a few hours that would otherwise still be vacant. Which hotel offers an easy booking system to book rooms by the hour? Let us know via email@example.com, we’ll be discrete.
Zenzez combines Hotel, Lounge and Showroom
Matthijs Wilmink and Paul Mulder are the founders of ZENZEZ Hotel & Lounge. Zenzez is an attractive design- and cityhotel located at the edge of the city center of Apeldoorn (The Netherlands).
Zenzez Hotel & Lounge is fully furnished by the styling team of Riviera Maison. The owners created the hotel to be distinctive and to offer a contemporary and affordable luxury product. Guests of the hotel can buy the furniture and accessories during their visit. That makes Zenzez a hotel, lounge and showroom all in one.
Zenzez Hotel & Lounge is the first hotel in the Netherlands that is founded through crowdfunding. The hotel is located at a renovated Jugendstil villa from 1904 and has 10 rooms. The hotel is also suitable for business meetings and it has a luxuriously furnished businessroom. At the lounge you can go for a lunch, cup of coffee, high tea or a glass of wine.
NH Hotels show their hearts!
The NH Hotel Group recently launched this year’s edition of the annual globally Christmas Campaign “Hotels with a Heart”. The campaign is in partnership with the Ronald McDonald Children Fund, Iris Hospital in Belgium and the Lenval Children’s Hospital in France.
Hotels with a Heart
The NH Hotel Group offers free nights, afternoon teas, Christmas dinners and cooking workshops in its hotels for families who have had a hard time because of the illness of their child. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the “Hotels with a Heart” initiative, which has gained a prominent place in the Corporate Responsibility Program of the hotel group.
Corporate Responsibility ambassador
In the Benelux, UK and France 43 hotels will invite special guests in the period from 22 December, 2014 until 11 January 2015. In total, about 300 hotel nights are offered worldwide. To make sure the families will lack nothing during their stay, every hotel has an ambassador to watch over every need of the families.
The campaign video about this initiative is published in several languages. It could have been an even stronger campaign if every country would tell another story instead of ‘just’ another variation in subtitle and voice-over. This would have strengthened this great gesture!
Experience in theater as storytelling for your product
Undergo storytelling, experience a 3D animation and taste the product in a theater.
Recently I joined one of the theater tryouts by Glennfidich. Tony van Rooijen, the enthusiastic Dutch brand ambassador of the whisky makers gave a virtual tour of the distillery in Scotland during a tasting where he presented six different whiskys.
Experience in theater
Apart from the enthusiastic narrator and a stylish tasting kit, the virtual tour consisted out of a very detailed 3D animation of the brewery that had a lot of resemblance with the computer game ‘The Sims’. While the presenter went through the various stages of the brewing process he showed the buildings of the brewery from the outside and inside. Everywhere there was a visual explanation from a first person view, so you had the illusion walking through the brewery itself without leaving your lazy (theater) chair.
A virtual tour like this can be very interesting for products with an authentic character. A rookie (like me) gets to see more about the brewing process of whisky and the expert will for example learn more about the typical taste each barrel emits.
Flexibility is the future
For theaters, but also for cinemas this way of a product presentation is an interesting case. The stage remains a wonderful place to tell your story and to combine this with a tasting your product and (controlled) experience of it. At most hospitality fairs and food festivals the stage plays an important role in the total concept thus the hospitality industry is already familiar with these crossover concepts. My experience fits in well with a recent article in Fast Moving Targets that shows that flexibility of the theater is the future. ^Armand