Remember when (not so long ago) hotels sold the classic sizzle, as opposed to the steak? They marketed their beds, the sleep experience, and the heavenliness of lying down to snooze in one of their hotel rooms. Not only did hotels make you believe the hotel bed, bedding, and sleep environment was so superior that you would never want to stay in any other hotel but theirs, they were also able to convince consumers that a good night’s sleep included having that “special bed” at home just like the one in the hotel.
There’s the the Ritz-Carlton Sleep Experience, the Westin Heavenly Bed, the Suite Dreams Mattress and Box Spring by Hilton and the trademarked MyBed™ from Hotel Sofitel’s SoBoutique, to name some of the frontrunners. Hoteliers were fully in tune with the fact that selling sleep, especially quality sleep, was a far more powerful draw than selling you a hotel room.
Even if you didn’t buy the hotel bed for your home, the hotels managed to make it so much a part of their brand that you paid attention to the bed, looked forward to opportunities to sleep on one, and somehow began to believe that the quality of your sleep was, in fact, superior because you were on that wonderful bed.
So when we ran across this news item recently, it caused all of us at The Obvious Expert to do a double take. The Rancho Bernardo Inn Spa & Golf Resort in San Diego—the number one resort spa in North America according to Condé Nast Traveler —is currently offering guests the opportunity to stay in one of their luxurious resort rooms, without the bed!
Here’s how it works: Pay $219 for a night between now and September 17 and you are booked into deluxe accommodations with breakfast for two. But pass on the breakfast and the rate drops to $199; omit both the breakfast and the honor bar and your room rate has fallen to $179. However, the items to eliminate don’t just include optionals like breakfast … as the room rate falls, a guest quickly begins giving up amenities such as air conditioning, linens, and electricity.
… Which brings us to the hotel bed. Far from selling you divine slumber, the Rancho Bernardo Inn, Spa and Golf Resort is offering the $19 Survivor Package which means a hotel room with no bed or electricity.
Isn’t this an interesting twist on marketing, in which a luxury hotel decides to sell you neither the steak nor the sizzle? This feels like selling just the plate you would have served the steak on, and it’s a disposable paper plate at that!
New Media and New Business Marketing
But, perhaps in today’s economy, with New Media driving the direction of marketing, it is no longer about either the steak or the sizzle, but has come to be about a composite of other factors as well. You see, the Survivor Package is a sellout and it could even turn out to be a business marketing home run. Selling hotel rooms minus the bed has provided the hotel lots of fuel for its new Facebook and Twitter accounts, tons of blog coverage, and even some primo television interviews, including ABC News.
Yes, it is a whole new world in business marketing out there. Although the consensus around here is that we still prefer our hotel rooms to include a great bed.