Hotels At Home aims to boost guest loyalty

Hotels At Home has expanded its in-room catalog and e-commerce program to the Fairmont Hotels, Homewood Suites and L’auberge du lac Casino Resorts. The company, which is in the process of being acquired by Affinity Media International Corp., distributes its catalogs of hotel-exclusive furniture and linen products to more than 500,000 rooms.

“People have begun to realize the hotel experience is important,” said Howard Cohl, president of Affinity. “[The hotel customer] is not overtly marketed to, but then [a guest] thinks, ‘What a great bed!’ and lo and behold, he or she can buy it from the catalog.”

He went on to say that the model of marketing hotel goods to guests carried a low acquisition rate and high returns because the buyers are in the hotel room and can experience the products first-hand. Buyers’ lists are proprietary for each hotel with a Hotels At Home program, but information about purchasing patterns is shared with Hotels At Home in order to plan inventory and product selection.

The program highlights the quality of the hotel rooms, and Cohl argues that improves customer loyalty.

“The hotel industry spent an extraordinary amount on room upgrades last year,” he said. “So as hotels are increasingly doing this renovation, the Hotels At Home sales force is going out and meeting with different potential product partners.”

However, the concept of in-room product ordering does not just appeal to luxury hotels, according to Cohl.

Hilton’s chain Hampton Inn appeals to “sort of the road warrior” customer type, according to Cohl.

“Hampton puts in nice beds and puts in nice amenities,” he said. “Road warriors love it, and are very loyal to the brand.”

While all of the hotels in the program feature in-room catalogs, tactics for advertising the e-commerce site vary, according to Cohl. Past campaigns have featured on-newspaper sticker promotions and targeted e-mail blasts to former guests or loyalty program members.

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