Hotels See Profit in Tangible Products

Bed, Bathrobe and Beyond (New York Times)

Hotels Brand Own ProductsToday we celebrate the 4,000th posting of stories to our Marketing Stories Archive. The Marketing Stories Archive began back on May 14, 2004 when we posted two stories. The first story, titled CRM Superstars, appeared in CRM Magazine, and it examined how several organizations were integrating CRM software within different facets of their business including sales, marketing and customer service.

The second story, titled Can Burger King Rekindle the Sizzle?, appeared on the Harvard Working Knowledge website and looked at how the burger giant was fighting to keep up with McDonalds. Their strategy was targeted at the heart of the marketing concept by focusing on allowing customers to ?customize? their purchases.

Reading both of these stories today one is struck by the fact that the problems faced by marketers in 2004 differ little from what marketers face in 2012. In many cases, the issues revolve around two market factors: 1) stiff competition and, 2) continually changing customer needs. Facing these conditions marketers are forced to adjust their plans and seek creative solutions.

This is evident in story #4000 where hotels, facing tough price competition, are finding new ways to generate income. The approach discussed here is for hotels to create their own branded line of products which are sold to their guests. In this way, hotels are extending their brand beyond the hotel service to tangible products.

Westin Hotels has been particularly successful with its line of Heavenly branded products, including robes, bedding, lotions and shampoos. Since 1999, according to the company, it has sold more than 100,000 of its Heavenly Bed mattresses, and 250,000 pillows identical to the ones it offers in its hotel rooms. It sells the products through its Web site and partners, including Nordstom, Amazon and Pottery Barn stores.

What issues discussed in the current story are similar to the issues presented in the stories published in 2004?

Image by pellesten