Hotels at Home, a publisher of in-room catalogs, in January launched titles and Websites for visitors at Fairmont Hotels, Homewood Suites, and L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resorts. The programs enable hotel guests to purchase items they have enjoyed during their stay, such as beds, linens, pillows, and robes.
You might think that guests would only want to buy goods from the high-end hoteliers, but that’s not the case, says Howard Cohl, president of Affinity Media International, which is purchasing Hotels at Home. (The deal is expected to close after a shareholder vote in April.)
For instance, Hampton Inn, a Hilton property, has one of the more successful titles with the Hotels at Home program. “Hampton Inn has been promoting it, and it’s been a tremendous program,” Cohl says. “We thought the program was all about luxury, but it was about hotels being upgraded and comfortable. And if the visitors enjoy the experience, they become a candidate to be a customer.”
Hotels At Home’s programs are available in about 2,400 properties representing more than 500,000 rooms worldwide. The in-room hotel catalog is a cost-effective business model, Cohl says.
“There are almost no returns because the hotel plays the role of experiential marketer,” he notes. “The customer is enjoying the bed and the linens while staying at the hotel, and the catalog is placed right in the room, so he or she can make an impulse buy.”
Cohl says that also cuts down on customer acquisition costs, since Hotels at Home doesn’t need to mail books to prospects. It’s up to the individual properties if they want to follow-up with in-room catalog buyers with mailings.