Hotel Catalog Hopes to Appeal to Hurried Guests

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Guests at Hotel Casa Del Mar are finding more than mints on their beds.

They are also receiving a copy of the hotel's boutique shop catalog.

"This is the first catalog endeavor for us," said Klaus Mennekes, general manager at Hotel Casa Del Mar, Santa Monica, CA. "There are some larger hotels that may have gift shop catalogs, but we felt our catalog can appeal to guests who are in a hurry. Also, it could be an additional source of revenue for the company."

The hotel printed 2,500 copies of its catalog, Accessories to Memories, last month and is using the launch as a test to gauge customer interest in the catalog. The book is not being mailed, but instead it is being placed in the hotel's guest rooms, restaurants and gift shop. Hotel Casa Del Mar is considering making the items available on its Web site. Visitors to can request a catalog.

The catalog has been helpful in driving traffic to the hotel's gift shop. Although some orders have been placed through the book, Mennekes said the hotel has yet to compile statistics regarding the number of people who have placed orders via the catalog.

"In about six months we'll evaluate the catalog and look at what worked and where we can make some changes," he said.

At that time, the hotel may choose to produce a larger book and do an annual mailing targeting guests of the hotel and its restaurants.

The 5 1/2-inch-by-8 1/2-inch, eight-page catalog is printed on heavy postcard paper and has more than 20 items separated into four categories -- Relax, Fashion, For The Kids and Toast. Items are featured in one layout shot per page. For example, the Toast section showcases champagne flutes ($18 each), iced beverage glasses ($14) and hearth matches ($15).

Shoppers can find items such as rubber ducks, shampoo, shirts, baseball caps and toy cars in the catalog. They range in price from $4 for a set of two miniature turtle soap bars to $120 for a white jacquard robe.

Customers may place orders at the front desk at checkout, by phone or by mail using the order form attached to the back of the book.

"What we found, in some cases, were people [who] are very busy and leave very early in the morning or have appointments throughout the day and don't always have the time to purchase items in the gift shop," Mennekes said. "They can take the catalog with them and hopefully, at some point, make a purchase."

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