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The other day, I read a release by the Travel Leaders Group about a consumer survey it conducted that showed that almost half of all respondents plan to use all or part of their tax refund this year on travel — certainly good news for travel agents. For whatever reason, this release reminded me of the famous minor league baseball promotion, “Tax Preparation Night,” where actual accountants were set up in the stands to answer the fans’ tax questions during the game.
In fact, I recommend that agents looking for clever promotional ideas research minor league baseball, which has a long history of creative gems. There was the Charleston RiverDogs’ 1K Backward Race (complete with a “beer hydration stand” at the halfway point); the Las Vegas Wranglers’ Rod Blagojevich Prison Jersey Night (the same team also had a Dick Cheney Hunting Vest Night); and the classic Awful Night, by the Salem Red Sox, which featured awful promotional items (free air guitars), awful game music (by William Shatner) and awful fan-participation contests (bobbing for onions).
How great would it be to see that kind of creativity in travel agents’ marketing as well? Just to prove that the industry does have its own creative thinkers, here are a few favorite hotel promotions that come to mind.
• Last year, the W Hotel Buckhead, in Atlanta, introduced its “Fifty Shades of Stay” suite promotion, which came with champagne, a helicopter ride and a lingerie butler.
• In New York City, the Roosevelt Hotel’s Vander Bar hosted an Anti-Love Night for Valentine’s Day that featured “Love Stinks, Let’s Drink” cocktails.
• To encourage its LGBT guests to pamper their moms on Mother’s Day, Kimpton Hotels created the “Queen for a Day (And We Mean Your Mom)” promotion that included an in-room spa treatment, breakfast in bed or a night on the town.
Creativity is key to being remembered by customers, so don’t be scared to come up with your own wacky promotion. If you want to share your favorite hotel or travel agency promotion with us, contact the editors via email or on Facebook.