The program, called Traveler's Award, would place a packet of product samples and coupons (for the sampled products and possibly others) in hotel guest rooms. The brand-name samples are intended as a value-added bonus for guests, not as a replacement for the amenities, such as soap and shampoo, hotels already supply.
'We created the division to explore ways to do couponing and sampling for clients, given all the attention electronic and in-store couponing has received,' said MZD president/chief operating officer Allan Zukerman. 'What we discovered is that is couponing and sampling in hotel rooms is a natural, but not being done.'
For marketers, the appeal of sampling through hotels is the 'definite demographic skews to hotel patronage. From Ramada and Holiday Inn through a Red Roof Inn, you have very definite and identifiable clienteles to market to,' said Zukerman. MZD hasn't signed any manufacturers to provide samples or coupons for the packs, but has an agreement with the International Association of Holiday Inns to test the program next spring through as many of the 1,450 franchised Holiday Inns it represents that opt to participate. Marriott Corp. will try the program in its Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield Inn chains.
'I can't see why they wouldn't want to do it,' said IAHI executive director Jim McCauley. 'It won't cost the hotels a penny and it's brand-name products.'
IAHI will have the right to approve all products and coupons included in the packs, McCauley said 'to make sure we don't get cross-wise with (Holiday Inns corporate management). Procter & Gamble is a big preferred account for Holiday Inns, for example, and we don't want to upset that relationship.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)