Lessons at the door of a hotel: The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing Your Business

It was 3:00 in the morning at a Marriott hotel in north Dallas. 

You know how you awake to that feeling that something is just not quite right.  I heard a loud argument through the wall to the next room, looked at the fire red clock display and thought, “Are you kidding me, who has the energy to be awake and arguing at this hour?”

There came the slamming door in the hallway.  A few minutes of quiet where interrupted by banging on MY door with the accompanied female yells of “LET ME IN!” 

I hurried to the door and looked through the peep hole to see the upper half of a blonde head.   It is apparent that she is not about to stop. 

I cracked open the door to let her know that I thought she had the wrong room to discover she was totally naked; complete birthday suit.   “Ah” I stammered, “I think you have the wrong room”. 

She looked up at me and did an “Opps, sorry about that.”  Taking two steps to the right she started banging on the next door. 

Let me finish that story after some musing on “best sales moments”. 

There are times when the customer is in the right state of mind; when all of their senses, interests and motivations are perfectly aligned to hear a message.  These are moments when the time is exactly right to make a sale. 

For example: Hotel doors.  They provide a great moment to have a sales moment.  You have a room key and you are transitioning from a traveler to a resident.  From gas consumption in the car, to food consumption for the traveler.   

A few weeks ago I was scheduled to present to a group of 60 business people at an early morning networking meeting.  I arrived the night before, after a long drive, hot, weary and hungry.  After checking in and driving to my room I gathered my teddy bear, bubble bath and all the other essentials (not really, but it does have you thinking) and stepped to the hotel room door.  I took out the key that resembles a credit card and remembered thinking, “I wish I could just hole up in the room and not go find some dinner.”   That was when the door key screamed out its advertising message.  There on the side of the key card was the local phone number for delivery pizza. 

A best sales moment.  Not the door, but the moment when my wants and needs as a customer were perfectly aligned with the message of the pizza parlor.  They had timed the delivery of their proposal perfectly. 

There is the U.S. Army who wants to get their message to potential recruits.  In a brilliant insight they bought thousands of pizza boxes and donated them to local pizza parlors – free.  When the delivered pizza was dropped off in the home (and what are the ages of those who eat these meals?) the potential recruit saw the Army recruiting message there on top of the pizza box.  Brilliant timing.  Picture an 18 year old, inhaling some local pepperoni and staring at the top of a box.  A best sales moment for someone thinking, “what should I do next with my life?  Hmmm, I wonder if they have pizza in the Army?”

What would your customer be doing at an exact moment, when you would want your advertising and value message to appear magically right in front of them?    Write it down.  What would they be eating?  Fixing?  Experiencing?  Wanting?  Feeling?   The more detail you can get about THAT moment is what will give you ideas about your best sales moment.

So back to the Marriott. 

My naked hallway guest is having a shouting match with a muffled male voice that is seeping through my wall with him firmly barricaded between a strong door and what has to be his former room occupant.  She is yelling something about, “I want my clothes.”  She left after fruitless efforts. 

Things quiet down until I hear a sharp metal rap at my Marriott neighbor’s door and a strong male voice from the hallway says, “This is the police.  Would you please open the door.”

I remember thinking, “I wonder what the rates are like at the Hyatt down the street?” A best sales moment for sure.

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