Hotel's E-Mail Campaign Makes Return Visit

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Puerto Rico boutique hotel The Water Club dives into summer with a new e-mail marketing campaign.

The "Be Our 3999th Guest" effort encourages visitors to the hotel's Web site at www.waterbeachclubhotel.com to sign up for its Your Desires loyalty program and enter to win a free night's stay at the hotel.

"This is the second time we have done this promotion," said Bob Sassani, general manager of the San Juan-based hotel. "Last summer it was the 1999th guest contest, and it brought great attention to our Your Desires club. We thought we would expand on the promotion's popularity as it was so well received."

By booking online, members get the chance to become the 3999th guest and can be offered various other deals. The firm is using this promotion to increase its e-mail database and club membership. So far, its database includes previous guests as well as visitors to its site.

Another online marketing strategy on the hotel's site is the "Sizzling Summer" package, which gives members benefits like discounted rooms; welcome martinis; free breakfast in the hotel's restaurant, Tangerine; and check-in gifts.

The hotel's target audience is twenty- and thirtysomethings, appealing to tourists looking for beach relaxation as well as the local nightclub scene. In the future, the hotel plans more emphasis on marketing to the gay market and to business travelers while continuing to attract its primary Generation X and Y markets. Much of this audience comes from the United States and Europe.

Tourism is a key industry in Puerto Rico, accounting for a large percentage of the commonwealth's revenue.

The Water Club is an 84-room beachfront boutique hotel that sits on the Atlantic Ocean. Its water brand is apparent throughout the hotel. The elevators have glass-protected waterfalls, and the two bars are named for the compound. Liquid is the first-floor nightclub, and Wet is the hotel's rooftop bar where customers can lounge on beds in front of an open air pool.

"There are franchise-recognition programs but none as personalized or involved," Mr. Sassani said. "With our Your Desires program, we truly enhance the guest experience prior to arrival so everything is customized according to the guest's needs."

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