This purple goldfish by Hyatt is nothing to sneeze at

by Stan Phelps

in purple goldfish project

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Allergy friendly becomes a differentiator

#690 in the Project was submitted by Sarah Gore of STANCE. Sarah shared an article in the NY Times on Hypoallergenic Hotel Rooms at the Hyatt and Fairmont chains.

hyatt hypo-allergenic

Here is an excerpt from the article by Tara Mohn:

Sneeze Free Zone

“Even die-hard road warriors need a comfortable place to recharge after a long day. But for business travelers with allergies, asthma and other sensitivities, hotel rooms can be rife with dust mites, mold, animal dander and other allergens that set off sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches and sleepless nights.

Individual hotels have long accommodated guests by cleaning rooms with special products and processes and washing linens in hot water with no or fragrance-free detergent. They have also offered mattress and pillow protectors, rugless rooms and windows that open.

But now, two hotel chains, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, are taking the service even further by designating permanent allergy-friendly rooms, with things like medical-grade air purifiers and chemical- and fragrance-free bath products.

Thirty-eight percent of hotels offer some kind of allergy-friendly service in guest rooms, a 14 percent increase in the last two years, according to the 2010 Lodging Survey prepared for the American Hotel and Lodging Association by STR, a hotel research company.

Hyatt recently announced plans to create hypoallergenic rooms in all of its full-service hotels in North America. The rooms, which will soon total about 2,000 in 125 properties, cost $20 to $30 extra a night and are intended to eliminate up to 98 percent of allergens and irritants. A medical-grade purifier continuously circulates air, Hyatt said.

“This was a market really underserved,” said Tom Smith, vice president of rooms for Hyatt.

The number of allergy sufferers is believed to have gone up substantially since the late ’70s, said Dr. Darryl Zeldin, senior investigator and acting clinical director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Roughly half of Americans are sensitive to at least one common allergen. Different testing methods may account for some of the increase, but better hygiene resulting in less exposure to bacteria is also thought to play a role, Dr. Zeldin said.

Brian Brault, chief executive of Pure Solutions, the company that installs and maintains Hyatt’s hypoallergenic rooms, said more than 200 hotels nationwide, including properties at several major brands, had Pure Solutions rooms, but Hyatt was the first to offer them across its brands. Some hotel conference centers also use the technology, he said.

Lisa Abbott, a marketing consultant for nonprofit groups in Oakland, Calif., who suffers from multiple chemical sensitivities, has learned the benefits firsthand of good air quality in a hotel room.

At home, she rarely takes the morning rush hour train, to avoid “breathing in a soup of fumes and fragrances” from deodorant, hair products and freshly laundered clothing. Traveling, she said, has “always been dicey.” But she stayed in one of Hyatt’s new rooms on a recent trip to Chicago. “The air is purer,” she said. “I slept great. I felt energized both days of conferences. It has just completely opened up my travel options.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Differentiate yourself by offering that little extra.  It doesn’t have to be a ‘throw in’.  You can go the extra mile and charge a premium for the added value.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra) – Allergies can be tough.  You need to do the right thing to avoid a reaction.  Sometimes it takes a little motivation.  Check out this hilarious video:

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe, i.e. purple goldfish,  is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’. It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth?  Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras?

What’s Your GLUE?

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