How the ‘F’ word got my business, and brand experience won my loyalty
I don’t get out much! Between work and kids I really am a home-body at heart.
But when I do get out to play I am constantly amazed by how some businesses know how to impress, while others have you feeling as though you shouldn’t have left home.
This past weekend I am pleased to say was the former. My husband and I decided that we needed a night out in the city. We organised dinner with friends and booked a hotel close to the restaurant. It was in Woolloomoolloo, Sydney – yes home to Russell Crow and no, I didn’t spot him lurking around the restaurants or gazing outside his window.
But something happened at Olovo Hotel that left me stunned…
The hotel was easy to get to and on entry certainly impressed. Was it the large staircase, raked wharf style ceilings or indoor trees covered in fairy lights? No, it was actually before we even stepped inside. Being an avid fan of art I immediately noticed three spaghetti styled chrome balls outside the front of the building. They were 3D replicas of the symbol that appeared in their logo. Clearly over time, many guests must have, sat, stood or touched these spheres, causing concern about safety or the degradation of the artwork. To combat this sensitive topic, the hotel took to using humour to get their message across. A simply sign saying
‘Please be so kind as to refrain from touching our balls (and we promise no to touch yours)’
After reading this and having a good chuckle at their cheekiness, I realised that we were about to experience a brand with a difference.
The shock came at the time of checking in. You see, we had booked the hotel room directly through their website. To us, this isn’t anything strange, but for them it resulted in a deluge of the use of the ‘F’ word! Yes! The ‘F’ word – in this case, it stands for free. To thank us for booking directly with them, we were offered:
- FREE upgrade to a loft room
- FREE super speed wifi
- FREE self-laundry
- FREE mini-bar (yes you heard me correctly)
- FREE breakfast
- FREE social happy hour where all beer, wine and soft drinks were on the house!
Wow! They really know how to make a client feel wanted. As we took the lift up to our loft on the top floor, I marvelled at how they were able to so easily tap into what their clients want in an experience. Who hasn’t been to a hotel and stared longingly at the mini bar but never dared to drink or eat anything for fear of the exorbitant prices that follow? Who hates it when hotels make you pay for wifi – a commodity that us ‘social’ humans deem our modern right to have access to? And finally, who doesn’t enjoy a free breakfast?
OK, so it seems as though they gave away so much – how the hell do they make any money? So here’s the thing. We didn’t have everything in the mini bar, we didn’t use the self-laundry and we weren’t in the hotel much to even use much of the wifi. The free social drinks meant that we invited our friends to join us at the hotel for pre-dinner drinks instead of just meeting them at the restaurant and we spent a good hour and a half there, spending money at the bar. But the biggest spin off for the hotel is that the brand experience was so remarkable, everyone was talking about it!
When customers are so impressed that they want to share their experience with others, they become advocates and brand ambassadors for your business. These raving fans spread their news far and wide across social media – hell, brand strategists write about it in their blogs! Being able to create a brand experience is tapping into your clients needs and wants. Creating a memory for them that is so unforgettable or unique that they want to share it with the world.
The secret to creating a successful brand experience is to give consumers more than what they’d expect to receive when it comes to customer service, quality and brand experience. What are you doing to surprise and delight your clients?
Written by branding specialist Debbie O’Connor
Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker