IT DOESN’T TAKE long for excitement to build whenever the topic of travel is brought up. Travel to where? It doesn’t matter. Consequently, the idea of travel brings with it visions of plush hotels and expansive resorts—places where promotional opportunities abound. However, the products should not be confined to the four walls of the edifices they represent. They can be used for a variety of applications not associated with sunny skies and white, sandy beaches.
New York University and Deloitte pulled together a team of professionals to develop a “Vision 2010” of the global hospitality industry. A key finding in the study titled, “Hospitality 2010: A Five-Year Wake-up Call” showed “while currently location is usually the deciding factor for customers when choosing a hotel—with more than 97 percent of affluent leisure travelers and 93 percent of affluent business travelers considering location to be ‘extremely influential’—this picture is gradually changing.” The report said, “given the market saturation in gateway cities worldwide with leading brands sited close to one another, location is likely to become increasingly less important.” Vision 2010 predicted “tomorrow’s travelers will be far more influenced by brand, and—importantly for the financial health of a hotel—guests who are loyal to their preferred brand are likely to stay more and spend more.”
The findings present a clear role for promotional products. “As with all promotional campaigns, distributors’ first consideration should be finding out what the customer is trying to accomplish,” explained Murray Siegel, marketing director at Towel Specialties, Baltimore. “Then, they need to examine the budget and logistics so they can establish the category of products necessary to succeed.”
Branding a hotel or resort doesn’t come without a price tag and some creativity. Siegel said if a particular niche “points to high-quality/high-impact incentive or gift items, distributors should try to get the most value for [their customers’] dollar.” He added: “The old adage holds true— ‘expensive is cheap and cheap is expensive’. Products with high aspirations, but low quality often fall into the ‘throwaway’ category. They are a waste of money for the advertiser and that can also lead to negative [press] and bad impressions.”