Did you hear about the penguin in the bed?

Yesterday, we hosted a webinar with TripAdvisor about how to beat your competition on the site. If you missed it, we are holding a second session of the webinar live on November 12 and I hope you will join us. I was putting together a slide for this event about how to drive more reviews when Jay Ashton, Revinate’s Co-founder and CEO, forwarded me an email with an attached photo that his mother sent to him, from his aunt, Anne.

The subject of the email was, “This was Anne’s room.” She had just returned from the 21C Hotel in Louisville and when she walked into her room she found the giant red penguin tucked into her bed.

Quirky? Yes. Funny? Yes. Something to talk about and share? Absolutely.

If you want your guests to write reviews and share experiences, you have to give them some material. A quick look at the hotel’s reviews reveal that they know what they are doing.

Here are some examples from TripAdvisor:

“I’m not going to spoil it, but if you are a man, you have to go to the men’s room.”

“…from the hologram between the elevators, to the bathroom “eyes”, to the provocative photography on display, this hotel matches many of the finest modern art museums, not in quantity, but in quality.”

Not not every hotel also operates as a museum so what can you do to be memorable? Here are some ideas from my own experience staying at the Hotel Lucia in Portland last weekend.

  1. The Bellmen welcome you ‘outside’ as you leave the hotel. They also ask if you need directions when you appear to blindly stagger out the doors.
  2. On the desk by your bed are earplugs with a small note that explains that the ‘sounds of the city’ can be drowned out with the ear plugs. (I found the hotel really quiet but it’s a great touch!)
  3. The artwork in the hall is all black and white photography of celebrities. It’s fun to just wander to halls looking at the quirky photos of politicians and actors.

How do you get guests talking?

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