Time for me to bring you another Spotter’s Guide. And, as usual, inspiration hit me when I least expected it – on my day off.
I don’t mind admitting that I’m rather a fan of swanky hotels. I don’t have a fancy car, or a designer handbag collection, but, one thing that will always part me from my cash is the opportunity to potter about in a lovely hotel.
Earlier this month I had the perfect excuse to stay at The Hoxton, Shoreditch with my sister.
We were having a field trip that day – at the (Soho) House Festival. It’s a day-long festival starting around 2pm and finishing late. As I was the only West Sussex-based traveller and I didn’t fancy the last train on my own, I decided to stay over.
To help you picture the scene, when we arrived at the hotel it was 1am. Having spent the entire day revelling, eating barbecue, drinking and dancing in a dustbowl of a field, we were sweaty, hot, and trying to recover from a fun, but tiring, day out (and many cocktails).
I didn’t expect to stumble upon a piece of marketing excellence. But, I did.
In our somewhat inebriated state, we needed two things:
- Lots of water, for rehydration purposes.
- In-room breakfast organised so that we would not have to get up too early.
In order to secure these items we attempted to hunt down that heavy, black, embossed ring binder of hotel facts that you usually see on a hotel dressing table. We didn’t find it.
Instead we found this delightful item.
Of course, despite the many cocktails, I was entranced and quickly settled down to have a read. Because, what this clever company has done is to reinvent the cut and paste, turgid, hotel room guide as something that is easy to digest, interesting to read and fully reflects the brand values of the firm.
It’s tempting to cut corners with our marketing, especially when you have a job to do and a deadline in which to do it. But, this piece shows how it is really worth taking time out to rethink what your objective for communicating is, rather than just getting the job done as fast as possible to get that tick in the box. Instead of reproducing the normal dull language and tedious pages that you see in the usual room guide, The Hoxton has created a marketing piece that really connects them to their customer.
Now, as I’m (sadly) not a marketing consultant for The Hoxton Group, I can’t tell you for sure what the brand values (the values that the company wish to communicate to their audience, the personality of the brand if you like) are for this business.
But, having looked at the website and this piece of marketing collateral, I can certainly have a guess as to what they are. Here’s my attempt:
I can see that The Hoxton group has set out to integrate itself within its local communities from this page of the ‘room guide’ and this copy taken from its website:
“The Hoxton is a series of open-house hotels inspired by the diversity and originality of the streets and scenes that surround us.”
Not only is it taking care to be a feature within the local surroundings, rather than working against the locals, it’s also clear that the marketing team have identified who their customer in each hotel is likely to be and what their priorities are (see below re: late check out, they know that guests in Shoreditch are likely to be out partying).
Check out this page. You can see that instead of forcing guests out of bed to check out at the usual 10am as most hotels do (making bedroom turnaround easier), The Hoxton knows its market, its customers like a late night and a lie in. It has decided to offer an easy in-room breakfast option, and a late check out at a cheap rate.
Instead of calling the room guide a ‘room guide’ they’ve named it: ‘survival guide’. We infer from this that they really want to help their guest have the best time at their hotel. Throughout the text there are references to how the hotel staff can help you to enjoy your stay including the ‘rip-off free fridge’ (mini bar), an offer to help with printing requirements, provide bikes, use of the ‘ironing room’ in the building, or delivery of an ironing board to your room, etc etc.
What I really love about this guide is that these brand values are conveyed not just in what is said, but in the language used to convey how the hotel works, and in the choices it has made about how it will be run. The tone of voice is incredibly down to earth and caring. The style of the printed piece, and use of cartoons bring it to life and make us feel as though this has been created for our entertainment rather than just to educate us on the hotel rules, which is how many room guides come across (‘we kindly ask that you refrain from leaving towels on the floor’, etc).
This company has re-thought how a standard issue item is ‘usually done’ and adapted it into something that puts it ahead of its competition. This is something that we can all learn from. Yes, it may have cost more in time and design investment, but it has converted me into a regular customer. I can’t wait to go back. Bravo The Hoxton!