Taking A Walk On The Wild Side

Cause a ‘Scene’…

“Sometimes the most effective marketing techniques are the most unexpected.” Miki Agrawl, owner of Slice

Before we get too far, when I say “cause a scene” I don’t mean “cause a ruckus”! I do not want anyone out there in hotel land to get in trouble, get arrested, violate company policy, or embarrass your hotel!

What I am suggesting, is that sometimes it is appropriate to “dare to be different”!

When Marriott first introduced SpringHill Suites to the marketplace, their strategy was to tout, ‘we’re not your average, beige, boring box’. As they developed their corporate culture, this mantra was based on the fact that they wanted to stand out in the crowd….. they didn’t want people to think that their brand was just like the other 3 hotels on their corner. Subsequently, they were the first (in my opinion) to dare their customers to step out of the norm and try out what the cool people (perceived) were doing.

When I first read this tip (above) and watched the video that accompanied, I was impressed by the author’s spunk. Ms. Agrawl’s focus was to embrace ‘irreverant marketing’. Now don’t get worked up – there is a difference between irreverent marketing and negative marketing. Their first step in preparing the market for their entrance into the restaurant world was to post a huge sign that covered their entire storefront. The message read, “The perfect food will be arriving shortly. Until then, stop eating.” It gave no other information other than their website. People flocked in stupid numbers to their website – like 100,000 people….. Subsequent marketing included random, unusual events such as a person dressed as a tomato being chased by a group of people in Slice t-shirts through Grand Central Station, printing of temporary tattoos disguised as coupons, and and creating a marketing book that focused on nothing but random facts (like, what is soy cheese?). These types of activities are not what a typical, little pizza place does when it is opening another organic pizza restaurant! People ate it up – literally!

So what does this example mean to you? Well, my take on the situation is that it is okay to be clever. It’s okay to be a little different. It’s okay to use humor (tastefully of course), as long as people don’t perceive you as a joke. In a world where people are inundated by social media, advertising and run-of-the-mill sales strategies, it might be the perfect time to create a little scene to get attention!

The important thing here is that your uniqueness and “irreverence” will be determined by your market and location, your hotel and ownership, and your sales strategies. A hotel in Boise is going to market in a totally different vein than a hotel is Las Vegas. Make sure you are following your road maps and integrating little bits of “different” into the overall plan. Keep it real – but maybe it’s time to take a walk on the wild side!

Happy causing a scene!


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