Aloft Hotels is trying something new: scattering digital tags around its hotels for customers to search for.
Up to three tags or bar codes are placed on hotel postcards, room key inserts, projections on video walls and other locations. Guests who find and scan the tags with their smartphones can input their name and e-mail address to be entered into a sweepstakes to win a VIP trip to an exclusive music showcase sponsored by the hotel chain, “Live in the Vineyard,” in November. Guests who find all three can enter three times.
The Aloft brand team created the tags using Microsoft’s tag creator platform http://tag.microsoft.com/consumer/index.aspx. Paige Francis, the vice president of marketing for Aloft Hotels, shared some insights into the program, which began Oct. 4 and runs through Oct. 29.
PROMO: How do you let guests know about the promotion?
FRANCIS: We communicate with our guests in a number of ways, but for this particular promotion, we have been getting the word out via our Facebook page, the Aloft A-Go-Go blog and a press release. Additionally, our guests learn about the program through the electronic ticker that’s located in all Aloft lobbies, pre-stay reservation confirmation e-mails and through our Aloft Web site.
PROMO: Are you using any paid media?
FRANCIS: There was a media buy on Facebook to promote the Live in the Vineyard ticket contest, and since the tag promotion is a way to win tickets, the media buy was another way for our fans and guests to learn about the contest.
PROMO: What demographic are you trying to reach?
FRANCIS: The tag promotion was created to appeal to our core customer, the tech-savvy next generation of traveler with a Gen-Y mindset.
PROMO: Who is your core consumer?
FRANCIS: We tend to approach our core customer as a psychographic rather than a demographic, who we see as savvy, early adopters who look for high-tech amenities and great design when they are on the road whether they are 28 or 58.
PROMO: What is the brand’s connection to Live in the Vineyard?
FRANCIS: This year, Aloft is the title sponsor of Live in the Vineyard, a twice yearly grassroots music showcase held for an intimate audience of about 200 people at boutique wineries in Napa Valley. As part of our partnership with Live in the Vineyard, we are also bringing exclusive live performances into our lobbies with our free “Live at Aloft” concert series. Artists such as Brooke White, Matt Hires, Green River Ordinance, the Plain White T’s and more have rocked out in our w xyz bars.
PROMO: How does this promotion fit into your overall marketing plan?
FRANCIS: Aloft is always on the pulse of what’s next, and we love to offer our guests the latest in technology. The brand, in general, utilizes innovative new media approaches to market to its target segment, incorporating Facebook, Twitter and online marketing tactics. A tag promotion was the natural next step and a great way to incorporate our music programming into our technological offerings.
PROMO: Is there a connection between where you put the tags and services or products you promote in the hotels?
FRANCIS: We chose to place our tags in public areas (such as the video wall), as well as on room key cards and w xyz bar flyers, to emphasize the areas of Aloft that we find our guests in the most—the lobby, the w xyz bar and the guestroom.