Your client’s ad message at hotels
Reach an affluent crowd of travelers with in-room sampling
October 1, 2012
Travelers are always an attractive audience for advertisers, and a good place to reach them is at hotels.
Hotel guests are affluent, with more than a third bringing in at least $100,000 annually, and hotels offer an opportunity to target specific groups of vacationers or business travelers.
For example, advertisers can target sports fans at hotels in cities where there is a big game or race, or they can reach professionals in town for a conference or convention.
There are a variety of media available at hotels, and one of the most popular is sampling, which allows guests to test products they may not otherwise try at home.
To find out how to get your client in hotels, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Targeting travelers with ad campaigns in hotels.
Most out-of-home agencies can help set up hotel campaigns, although only a few have hotel networks in place.
How it works
Advertising options at hotels begin when guests step into the hotel lobby. Desk attendants can provide guests with product samples as they check in or out, or advertisers can place brochures or pamphlets near the desk area.
Brands can also place ads on items guests might find useful, such as a map of the city where the hotel is located. Ads can also be placed on hotel key cards.
A relatively new option inside hotel rooms is sponsored wireless internet. Most hotels offer Wi-Fi service, sometimes for a fee, but brands can offer the service for free in exchange for an ad on the browser when guests log on.
Some hotels also have the ability to insert ads into the in-room cable TV service.
The most popular in-room option is product sampling. This is most often used for common items such as toothpaste, shampoo, snack foods and beverages, but it can go beyond that.
Rooms can be outfitted with a particular brand of bedding or electronics, along with in-room literature to educate guests about the product.
Finally, advertising can also be placed in other areas of the hotel, such as the lounges/bars or business and fitness centers.
Hotel campaigns can be executed in any market.
In 2011 there were 52,214 hotel properties with 15 or more rooms, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, with a total of 4.87 million guestrooms. Average occupancy rate was 60 percent, with $137.5 billion in total sales.
How it is measured
Advertisers can use guest information provided by hotels to measure impressions. They can also track how many samples are distributed and used.
What product categories work well
Recent or current hotel advertisers include fast food, restaurants, consumer packaged goods, electronics, telecom, financial services and retail.
Advertisers can target demographics based on events taking place in or near the hotel. For example, brands looking to reach medical professionals could run a campaign in a hotel hosting a medical conference, or an advertiser looking to reach football fans could use hotels in a Super Bowl host city.
Hotel guests are 59 percent female and 41 percent male, according to the travel and tourism research company DK Shifflet & Associates.
Twenty-seven percent are ages 20-39, 51 percent are ages 40-59 and 22 percent are 60-plus.
Nine percent have an average annual household income below $30,000, with 15 percent between $30,000 and $49,999, 40 percent between $50,000 and $99,999 and 36 percent at $100,000 or greater.
Making the buy
Lead time can vary based on a number of factors. For example, for hotels in markets where a big sporting event is taking place, suggested lead time is two to three months. But for a more general sampling campaign lead time can be as short as two to three weeks.
Pricing also varies depending on the campaign and media used. Sampling generally ranges from 10 to 30 cents per item, while in-hotel media elements range from $500 to $5,000 per venue, per month.
Who’s already been at hotels
Recent brands that have advertised at hotels include Borders, Pampers, Oracle, Accenture, Domino's, Papa John's, Subway, DirecTV, Colgate, Walmart, Verizon and Samsung.
What they’re saying
"Hotels are a great venue because you've got a captive audience, typically over multiple days. The room can be somewhat of a showroom because it's a clean palette. A CPG brand can put an amenity in a room–if there's something free, people are much more willing to try it than if you were to send it to their home. It's a great environment when done right." – Sherry Orel, chief executive officer at Brand Connections.
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