Freebies: Which free gifts work best?

giftwrapFree stay. Free drinks. Free breakfast. Kids eat free.

It seems that offering freebies has become the “go-to” marketing tactic by hospitality and service industry businesses these days. Priceline.com even has a whole page on their site dedicated to Hotel Freebies. The page allows you to search through thousands of hotels offering discounts on stays, room upgrades, credit towards future stays, golf course discounts… The list goes on and on.

With the holidays upon us, offering a free gift can be the make or break point to consumers who are considering multiple options on what to buy over the holidays. To help you and your business out, Serviceable offers these few pieces of advice.

The occasion matters. In a study conducted at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, researchers found that the type of gift offered for an occasion has a direct impact on the perception of quality of your product or service.

The study showed that guests who are at your hotel or restaurant for every day or ordinary reasons found more value in offers or gifts which enhanced their experience. So offering discounts on meals for two, complimentary drinks, or free children’s meals is a great way show value to those who are simply looking for a place to grab a quick bite or get away for the weekend.

For guests celebrating a special occasion, the Cornell study found that offering a gift which serves as a memory marker or memento of the occasion was preferred in conjunction with an experience enhancing freebie. Offering pictures of the occasion in a special frame, or allowing your guests to take little things from their room home is a good idea.

Overall guest experience. The guest’s experience and the gift offered will total their perception of value. So if you offer a great experience but a minimal gift, guests may not remember the experience as being great overall.

It is definitely not a good idea to assume that every guest is going to want that free gift. When you and your management team or marketing team get together to determine a promotional item or gift, think like a guest. Use your metrics to determine what brings people to your business? Then determine what you want them to take away from their visit. The goal is to create an experience that will keep them coming back over and over again.

Serviceable would like to hear about some of the freebies and gifts you offer your patrons.

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