How to be memorable: Give consumers the choice

This past weekend I stayed at a Westin hotel in Chicago, and a few elements stood out to me as novel approaches. I encountered two specific instances where they put the choice into the hands of the consumer, empowering their guest with the final decision, which I think was effective at creating a memorable experience.

Upon checking in, the front desk told us “Since you’re Starwood Gold, you get the choice of perks – would you like complimentary internet during your stay or 250 Starwood points?”  My husband and I took the internet (a no-brainer since we are device addicted/internet-reliant), but I thought the approach was unique.  Giving customers the choice of reward likely leads to greater satisfaction, a feeling of pride and creating a more memorable stand-out moment.  Aside from simply a sense of gratitude and extra thanks for the perk (“they even let me choose”), there’s an additional sense of achievement that customers remember: “I did that” or “I chose that for myself”.

westin-hotel

Separately, we noticed a hang-tag that guests could elect to hang on their door (where the do-not-disturb sign goes) that presented the offer “Skip your housekeeping and get a $5 credit daily to the restaurant”. Another way of putting the choice in the hands of the consumers – allowing them to decide what is most important or which they value more highly.  Not only is this part of Westin’s “green initiative” reducing waste, but makes sense economically as the cost of fully cleaning a room is likely greater than $5 when you consider staffing needs and associated salaries, laundry, electricity/overhead and other supplies.  I’m curious how many guests actually choose this option, and of those that do – what part is most compelling to them – knowing that they are helping environmental practices or the attached monetary incentive.  Regardless though of the reason they’d opt for the $5 credit over a clean room, I again think that putting the choice into the hands of the consumers is a wise move.

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3 thoughts on “How to be memorable: Give consumers the choice

  1. Cool! So, what’d u do – take the $5 credit or the go green clean room? I’d take the clean room. However, if I were to forgo the cleaning it would more so be to go green rather than to get the coupon, as $5 is not a large enough incentive to impact the decision (for me personally). But I do agree with your financial analysis. As a matter of fact, they are likely not just saving on the cost of labor/supplies/etc for cleaning the room, but I think the $5 credit guarantees they get the breakfast business where the customer (who thinks they got a great deal) will likely spend more than $5 when they may not have even gone there in the first place if they didn’t have the coupon. Variable cost of restaurant is much less than of cleaning the room (I think), and profit opportunity obviously much larger. Regardless of your individual decision (or anyone’s) I agree that it is a unique and smart holistic marketing tactic that provides benefits to the business (financial and customer relations), consumer (financial and psychological), and environment. Nice write-up. …. and what was your decision – clean room vs $5 breakfast coupon? 🙂

    • I’m with you — we took the clean room over the $5 credit! As you mentioned, if I had taken the credit, it would have been to spare them the costs and supposedly help the environment, far more so than for the monetary value. But ultimately even though I kept the clean room, I thought it was wise to give guests the option.

      • agreed on providing the option being a smart choice. it would be interesting to know what the stats are on what people choose – my guess is they have a 25% coupon choice, 50% intentionally choose clean room, and 25% not even notice they have the option to choose.

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