Front Desk

You gotta have a gimmick

I marvel at the constant parade of clever promotional attention-getters that come across my desk. Hoteliers are some of the most creative marketers around, and they have to be if they wish to make their properties stand out from the cut-throat crowd.

Hereâ€â„¢s a couple of pumped-up promotions that caught my eye recently:

∑ As gas prices shoot up for the summer travel season, the Paramount Hotel New York will put free gas in your car. Guests simply show their gas receipts, dated within 24 hours of arrival, upon check-in and the hotel will refund their bill up to $30.

∑ Also from New York City comes the NYC to Go special at Buckingham Hotel—upon check-out, the hotel provides interested guests a boxed lunch featuring a mile-high corned beef sandwich from famed Carnegie Deli, plus a Dr. Browns Crème Soda and a pickle. (Um, Iâ€â„¢m not sure how that aromatic offering would go over with my Continental seatmates).

∑ CNN reports that The Sheraton Chicago Hotel is offering to aid BlackBerry addicts when they check into the hotel by putting the communications and others like them under lock and key for guests whoâ€â„¢re looking for a temporary withdrawal from their "CrackBerries."

∑ And finally, for shoe lovers everywhere (this promotion in particular speaks to yours truly), The Ritz-Carlton, NYC, recently offered a "Shoes, Shoes, Shoes Package." For $2,605 fashionistas get a one-night stay for two in a deluxe guestroom, a day of guided shopping with introductions to famed designers, lunch at a chi-chi restaurant and a fashion-themed treat from pastry chef Eric Hubert.

Maybe these ideas will spur some promotional brainstorming among your own staff. Keep in mind, the more unique or unusual the promotion, the better chance of garnering free media exposure for your hotel, too.

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