Hospitality clients rely on memorable promotions to spur repeat business

A memorable vacation stay or spa day often spurs us to want to relive those moments of pampering and relaxation, but since pilfering fluffy robes and plump pillows is frowned upon, what else can spas, hotels, vacation rentals and resorts provide guests that will remind them to return? Promotional products of all kinds, of course.

From branded mints on pillows to logoed spa slippers, guests who receive thoughtfully selected promotional items are more likely to be repeat customers. PPAI’s most recent study on promotional products’ influence on consumer behavior revealed that 85 percent of consumers who received a product from a business with whom they already had a relationship were likely to continue that business relationship.

Alex LeFevre, CAS, president of Identify Yourself (UPIC: iyyf) in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, says his distributor firm is seeing a three-pronged approach to promotions by clients in the vacation-rental industry.

“With more and more vacation rental companies using branded products to increase brand visibility in an increasingly crowded marketplace, they are seeking out experts in our industry to develop programs as recruitment tools to increase their rental inventory, maintain current relationships and bring units into their rental programs,” says LeFevre. “Our clients come to us for answers on how to keep rental homes in their programs, how to increase their vacation unit inventory, and how to keep the units rented for as many days or weeks as they possibly can.”

With this objective, says LeFevre, his team can tailor solutions that include branded products to help clients meet their goals. “We find they are using a multi-piece direct-mail approach with a call to action: encouraging a homeowner to consider changing to a new rental management company. If a rental company can bring in three to five homes with a modest direct mail program, then we have done our job and they are thrilled with the return on their investment in the program; not to mention the upside for the actual homeowners, who require and demand that their units generate income.”

Joseph Ausband, vice president of sales for Identify Yourself, says premium giveaways are being employed more often to attract repeat business in the vacation rental industry. “An important emphasis this year definitely seems to be on saying thank you and inviting guests to return,” says Ausband. We think this is key for any business, but for the hospitality industry this is exceptionally true. Building good will with guests is key, and giving quality branded items before, during or after a visit definitely helps hit a home run for the brands we represent.”

LeFevre says one of the biggest programs being employed involves the face-to-face interaction between vacation rental front-desk staff and vacationing guests. “This is the one point of contact that makes or breaks a relationship with the vacationer. After a long day of traveling for the family vacation, [receiving] a branded gift or tote bag upon check-in builds good will and encourages the vacationer to return and rent with the same company year after year,” he says.

“It’s all about that little extra to make the experience extraordinary these days,” adds Ausband. “We are giving beach bags, beach towels, bluetooth speakers, beach chairs, gift baskets, robes, sunglasses … you name it, we are using it to promote and say ‘thank you’ to our clients’ guests and owners, and encouraging repeat and loyal business.”

Make a Splash With Custom Towels

towelstackWhen hospitality clients ask for a product that will have a lasting impact on guests, a custom towel seems an obvious choice—but a poorly chosen product can rub recipients the wrong way. Beach towels are almost always a sure bet, says Murray Siegel, CAS, marketing director for supplier Towel Specialties (UPIC: TOWLSPEC) in Baltimore, Maryland. Their universal benefits and appeal mean you’ll avoid putting your clients’ business through the wringer. Siegal notes beach towels off three major advantages over other products:

“Beach towels have the largest imprint area of virtually any product; this is key for those looking for major impact with their brand.”

“size is not an issue thanks to the beach towel’s ‘one size fits all’ persona.”

”Quality beach towels last, on average, more than 15 years.”

Hotels, resorts and spas that want to stock their own custom towels should consider styles made of terrycloth instead of terry velour. “It’s best for towels that will be used and laundered several times a week,” says Siegel.

Fey luggage tag web

Contact information stays secure on your luggage thanks to this carbon fiber luggage tag. With a snap closure, nickel-finish buckle and contrast stitching, the tag is crafted in black calf hyde-vinyl and carbon fiber, and is both durable and attractive.

Fey Promotional Products Group UPIC: FEY

Sailor Bags sundry bag web

Carry toiletries and small necessities in a smart-looking sundry bag. Efficiently organized spaces hold everything in place, so you can hang the bag up for easy access, taking out just what you need when you need it.

SailorBags UPIC: S598750

BIC cosmetic bag - Copy web

Corral your favorite travel-size lotions and potions in a fashion cosmetic bag with printed lining. The bag offers a main zippered compartment and a back zippered pocket for plenty of storage.


Scully vest web

Staff uniforms pop with the addition of a 100-percent silk vest that features notched lapels, two welt pockets and an adjustable back strap. Fully lined, the dry-clean-only piece is made in the U.S.

Scully Leather UPIC: S174962

Kati Sportcap tote

Keep belongings safe in a stylish zippered tote constructed of 100-percent cotton canvas and lined with 100-percent cotton. Self-fabric straps provide a 10-inch drop for comfortable portability. Choose from eleven colors and color combinations.

Kati Sportcap UPIC: KATI

Heritage Sportswear sweater

Convey a sense of upscale-casual comfort with a men’s Van Heusen lightweight long-sleeve V-neck sweater. Cotton and rayon combine to form a fine-gauge jersey fabric that’s finished with a ribbed v-neck and cuff, and contrast color along the inner collar. Choose from black, light gray or navy, in sizes small to 3X.

Heritage Sportswear/Virginia T’s UPIC: HERI0002

Makana Line mug

Copper-coated stainless steel mugs can handle the kick that comes with a Moscow Mule. These 16-ounce mugs feature fashionable handles and smooth rims, and they are FDA-approved and Prop 65 compliant.


GIll Studios table displays

Keep guests informed from the start with a durable plastic table display or a tent-card display that can be used to highlight services and amenities.

Gill Studios UPIC: gill

Prime Line waterproof bag

Keep valuables dry and in plain view in a PVC plastic pouch with triple zip-close seals and fold-over Velcro closure. The adjustable nylon neck lanyard means phones, keys and cash will always be within reach, and the pouch allows you to dial a number or tap out a text without removing the phone.

Prime Resources Corp. UPIC: PRIME

Beacon luggage cover - Copy

A full-color stretch luggage cover slides over medium-sized luggage (21 to 25 inches) and prevents scratches and marks from damaging bags. The TSA-compliant accessory makes luggage stand out on the airport carousel when full-color images are printed using dye sublimation.

Beacon Promotions UPIC: BEACONP

Case Study

Refreshing Returns

A newly reopened resort wanted to bring customers back after closing for renovations, so a cabana bottle was offered with each guest’s first drink purchased at the resort’s new poolside tiki bar. The unbreakable cabana bottle guaranteed a 10-percent discount on future drink purchases when it was used. Local media outlets caught wind of the promotion and provided added publicity for the promotion.

Source: Hit Promotional Products

Checking In With The U.S. Hospitality Trade

The U.S. lodging industry employs nearly two million people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs include management, front-desk service personnel, housekeeping and janitorial services, as well as in-house food service personnel.

Members of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the industry’s primary trade group, own and operate more than 53,000 properties and generate a combined $176 million in annual sales from five million guest rooms.

U.S. Occupancy Rate: 65 percent

Average Daily Rate: $121.37

Average Hourly Wages (all employees): $16.59

Average Weekly Hours: 30.6

(November 2015)

Around The World In 80 Stays

The global hotel industry is forecast to generate $550 billion in revenue this year. The biggest contributor? UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group. Runners-up include Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International. Check out a few more global numbers on the international hospitality trade.

Highest Daily Rate: Monte Carlo, $331.63

Highest Average Room Service Cost: Helsinki, Finland; $88.94

Largest Hotel: First World Hotel, Genting Highlands, Malaysia—7,351 rooms

Most Remote Lodging: Hotel Patagonia near Lake Pehoé in Chile—it’s 170 miles from the nearest town

Most Haunted Hotel: Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado—otherwise known as the inspiration for The Shining

Least Expensive Destination: Kiev, Ukraine—where visitors spent an average of $23 per day for food, lodging, local travel and entertainment in 2014

Most Expensive Destination: Switzerland—on top of costly airfare, an average hotel night costs nearly $250, and goods and services cost 50 percent more than in the U.S.