Database marketing, in which companies identify potential
customers and mail them promotional material, has become a popular
tool among hotels, particularly upscale ones, seeking to establish
expand their guest bases.
Among the hotels using such marketing to supplement or replace
more traditional approaches are the ultra-chic Paramount, Royalton
and Morgans in New York, Delano in Miami and Mondrian in Los
all managed by Ian Schrager, the nightclub owner turned hotelier;
SoHo Grand and the Trump International Hotel and Tower, two new
hotels in New York, and Hyatt Hotels' North American and Caribbean
hotels and resorts.
Hotels say database marketing provides an efficient way to
their message, whether it is intended for travelers or travel
they can use guest information obtained at check-in to tailor their
message to the specific audience.
Another benefit of targeted direct mail: Hotels can measure the
return on their investment, something not easily done with ad
campaigns in most other media.
"As hotels' messages become more complex, they are moving to the
micromarketing approach; they need to get the message out to the
right people, which requires more than 30 or 60 seconds on TV, or an
8-by-10 ad in a magazine," said Steve Judge, co-managing director of
Rapp Collins Worldwide Dallas, a direct mail agency that works with
Hyatt. The agency is part of the Omnicom Group.
One of the original and most creative proponents of hotel use of
targeted direct mail is Schrager, a co-founder of the discotheque
Studio 54 in New York in 1977 who turned to the hotel business in
With the exception of a four-month-long $1.9 million television ad
campaign by Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., which was begun on
the Academy Awards telecast in 1992, Schrager has relied exclusively
on direct mail to promote his hotels.
His sophisticated direct-mail pieces, designed by Baron & Baron in
New York, feature photographs and architectural drawings by Todd
Eberle, Bruce Weber, Bruno Borione and others.
They have covered the recent redesign of the Morgans by the French
designer Andree Putman, illustrated in an elaborate portfolio of
color photographs, as well as the opening of the Mondrian in
December, displayed in a pad of drawings and photographs affixed to
high-tech clipboard. Both pieces quote reviews of the hotels by
publications like The Los Angeles Times and Vanity Fair.
Schrager is also using an illustrated storybook called "Delia at
the Delano," a parody of Kay Thompson's tale of a mischievous girl
named Eloise who charms and exasperates the staff of New York's
Hotel; it features a trendy 8-year-old who lives at the Delano in
Miami with a Prada ant farm and a French au pair. …