Branded Hotel Key Card Goes Un-Noticed
While we're sure this has been done before though we're not sure how effective it was since a friend had to point it out to us, Datran Media sponsored the hotel room key cards at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago during the ad:tech online marketing conference. Every attendee who was staying in the hotel was given a Datran-branded version of the hotel's room key card.
Whether it was the Pampered Chef conference attendees cackling like hens in the elevator or simply the innocuous nature of a hotel room key, our attention was not drawn to the card. Perhaps it was the design. Perhaps it was our weary, conference-addled brain. We just didn't notice the card. What we did notice, disturbingly, was our car keys missing from our briefcase upon arrival at Logan Airport in Boston and the hundred dollar cab ride we had to take home while knowing those Massport folks would be collecting $29 for each day we had to wait for our keys to be FedEx'd back to us from Chicago. Who said conferences where uneventful?
"Perhaps it was the design."
Don't think there's any 'perhaps' about it.
On a recent trip to Atlantic City, there were ads for various local businesses on our hotel keys (for both the Tropicana Casino Hotel and the nearby EconoLodge). I think I saw it a few times during a cross-country trip this past winter, too. It's certainly not uncommon.
I've seen "branded" key cards in a number of hotels. The only effective cards are those that are more colorful and offer some sort of benefit, preferably immediate or in a short time frame. Free or discounted meal, drinks in bar, discount on hotel or rental car, etc. On a quick look, the Datran card looks cluttered.
I recently stayed a small roadside place recently because I couldn't stay awake any longer and the hotel's keys were done up with ads for a pizza place that delivered to the hotel. Man, that was a great idea.
The hotels around E3 have been doing this for years. While I didn't attend Ad:Tech and haven't seen the keys first hand, I can pretty much guarantee that it was because of the design.
Even with the sensory overload that is E3 I can still remember the Mario themed key card I got from the hotel.