Category Archives: Incentive Programs

Why a Gift With Purchase Can Be a Very Successful Marketing Strategy For You

Have You Tested a Gift With Purchase Strategy Recently?

testing- a gift-with-purchase-strategy

Austin, TX: Many of my clients come to me when they are looking for ideas to boost their sales, but few have tried a Gift With Purchase..

Many have tried price discounts of some type. 30% Off. Show Specials. Monthly Specials….. These are great ways to reduce your profit margins without adding much value.

Some have tried another failed strategy: BOGO-Buy One – Get One Free. (which only really means half off–significantly cutting into your margins.

But few have tried Gift With Purchase –which creates an excellent opportunity for you.

Gift With Purchase.

Gift With Test Drive.  

Gift With Visiting our Open House.

These strategies help you to retain your full prices by giving something totally unrelated to your offering that adds value to the equation.

Let me give you a few examples of Gift With Purchase:

1) Around the Holidays, the cologne and perfume companies offer free imprinted logo towels or logo teddy bears with the purchase of a larger sized fragrance gift set.  No price concessions. No coupons. Instead they value add the offering by adding greater value for a limited time offer and it works–year after year.  We have been fortunate enough to have been a part of many of these programs and I know they work.

2) I had a client trying to increase the number of test drives they did in January and they offered an imprinted power charger with each test drive.  They had tested a $25 gas card the previous January and they said they increases the number of test drives by 28%– and at a lower cost for the gift.  The power chargers cost them $12 and the $25 gas card cost them $25.

3) We just did a promotion for a student apartment near a university. For the open house they offered a free imprinted selfie stick with a tour of their new facility.  They followed it up 2 weeks later with a $25 Starbucks gift card.  Bottom line, the showings with the free promotional selfie sticks were up 14% over the showings with the Starbucks gift card–while their cost for the selfie sticks were $7 less per gift.

4) We recently worked with a oil company on a pre-paid car wash program.  In the past, they had given $5 off a 5-car wash prepaid card.  At $7 per car wash – they brought in $35 upfront-minus the $5 discount and grossed $30.  In November, they gave a free pair of imprinted earbuds FREE with a purchase of the prepaid car wash card. Same $35 for 5 wash – minus $3 for the logo earbuds-grossing $32 per prepaid car wash card.  $2 higher profit and a 15% higher number of prepaid cards sold for the period.

Not sure a Gift With Purchase strategy will work for you?

Test it.  I always suggest A/B testing on any marketing or advertising initiative.

Find a Gift With Purchase that fits your target audience–but not one that your company offers. Put your logo on it to maximize your brand exposure (something that a $25 Starbucks gift card or cash cannot offer).

Keep an open mind.

Offering a Gift With Purchase helps you to stand out from your competition.

A Gift With Purchase is fun and easy to advertise and to promote.

And Gift With Purchase promotions are usually designed to be run for a limited time only (while supplies last) so you get more immediate action taken as people know it is for a finite amount of time.

Let me know if we can help you with your next Gift With Purchase.

I’d also like to hear from others about Gift With Purchase programs that they had previously run. and what type of results you had achieved.

Happy Promoting!

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including gift with purchase programs. Since 1981, Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations, to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power chargers and power sticks, imprinted Bluetooth speakers and promotional ear buds, custom printed tablet sleeves,  branded iPhone cases, imprinted USB car chargerspromotional stylus pens, promotional USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Increase Your Awareness of your Marketplace

go outside your comfort zone to change your perspectiveAustin, Texas:  Are you tired of the same ideas flowing from your brain–and those of your associates and staff.

Do you have a perception of your marketplace that may be different from your customers’ perceptions.

My suggestion: Get out of your comfort zone!

For the next week, get out of your comfort zone…and see how it feels.

Go to new places.

Explore new restaurants.

Meet with new people.

Do something on your bucket list.

Go to lunch with different people in your company.

Visit Ted.com and take in a few random taped lectures.

Read a book in a different genre.

Listen to a different radio station (or Pandora or Spotify channel).

Visit a museum.

Go to the library.

Volunteer.

Give a speech.

Mentor somebody.

Drive to work using a different route.

But get out of your comfort zone..and see the world differently.

You will soon realize that the world is not black or white.  There are a lot of shades of gray (more than 50, I would surmise).

Once you start to see the world view a little differently, you will get a better understanding of your marketplace.

You will start to see better how your products or services affects others.

You will see things from a new perspective.

Take steps for one full week to get outside your comfort zone to challenge your beliefs and see things from a whole new perspective.

Get out of your comfort zone. That is where the magic really does happen.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Are You Using Story Telling to Convey Your Marketing Message?

storytelling is a great way to get your marketing message across

Are you telling your company story?

What is Your Company Story – and How are You Telling It to Communicate Your Marketing Message?

Austin, Texas Have you ever gone to a networking function and met somebody that you thought you could partner up with on business opportunities, then totally forget the gist of the conversation later that evening.

Or have you met with several possible suppliers at a recent trade show and when staring at their business cards, could not remember a single thing about them, their products or their booth?

It seems to happen to me quite often – and not just because I’m about to turn 50.

It happens because they did not involve me with a story… and they just blended in with the dozens of other companies and people I spoke with at that particular event.

After going to the Holiday and Christmas parties over the next few weeks, try to remember the people that you had engaged with – and see which conversations you can recall the next day. It will inevitably be the ones that had a good story.

Stories help people to relate to you and your company in a way that can be remembered – and can be re-told.

The Bible and Aesop’s fables are remembered through the ages because they tell a story. If they were just a list of facts or morals, they’d have been quickly forgotten.

Most people remember the business tale of David Packard and William  Hewlett  starting their business in their garage–which later became HP – and the legend of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak starting Apple Computer in their homes.

Stories help to position your company as a problem-solver.

Stories can conjure up images of the struggles of the company founders in a way that people can relate to.

Stories can be about a colossal failure – and how you learned a valuable lesson from it.

Stories can be funny, tragic, straight forward — but they need to be interesting and memorable

Every company has a story to tell .. and conveying that message helps set your company apart from your competition.

People remember stories, long after they’ve forgotten you marketing message, pricing and other specific details.

What is your story?

Tell your story – and make it a part of your company’s fabric.

Tell your story in social media.

Tell your story at trade shows.

Tell your story in brochures, flyers and other print media.

Tell your story on sales calls.

Tell your story often.

You and your company will be remembered for it for a long time.

Happy Story Telling!

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Is Poor Customer Service Costing You Sales?

Tips to Improve Your Company’s Customer Service

ideas to improve customer serviceAustin, Texas: How hard is it to get customer service right?

I mean “really” right.

Too many companies judge the performance of their customer service team by the number of complaints they get on a survey form.

Some of the more progressive companies even gauge their level of customer service by the chatter in social media forums.

Others do mystery shopper reports to either catch employees doing things wrong or rewarding those that are “caught” doing things right.

But are you getting to the real root of customer service issues and concerns?

Are your employees asking insightful questions to gauge sentiment?

Not stupid questions like: “How was the food?” or ” I hope everything was fine with your stay” type of throw-away lines after the service was performed.

I am talking about customer service-oriented questions that uncover facts, such as:

“What could we have done to make your stay better?”

“Are there any dishes that you’d like to see added to our menu?”

“How long did you have to wait to speak to a customer service agent?”

“Did we resolve this issue to your liking?”   Then, depending on the answer, follow it up with: “I’m sorry to hear that. What could we have done differently?”

“Any suggestions that you’d like to suggest for improving your visit?”

Ask questions– then stop and wait for an answer.

Do not defend your turf.

Do not engage in an argument.

Just ask and listen.

Really listen.

Pay attention and nod. But, most importantly, really listen.

If you start to see a pattern — then make changes.

If not, then fine tune your answers more until you get to the heart of what type of customer service issues are in the minds of your customers.

After all, what is the point of asking questions if you already know the answers?

That does not improve customer service at all.  That just makes you feel smug.

One bad experience with customer service can give your company a black eye – and ruin your good reputation permanently – and cost you a great deal in lost sales. Here are some ideas to help improve customer service.

Homework assignment: Write down 5 or 6 thought-provoking questions that you can ask of your customers to gauge their level of happiness – then start asking.

Then fine tune.

Then ask again.

Your customer service should always be a work in progress.

There is always ways to improve it.

Start asking questions.

Here’s to improved customer service–and happier customers.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Are You Training Your Customers to Wait for a Discount Before Making a Purchase?

Creating Greater Customer Loyalty at Retail

Retail Incentives to Increase LoyaltyAustin, Texas: As a consumer products company, what are you doing to create greater customer loyalty?

Attractive retail displays?

Newspaper ads?

Multi-pack discounts?

Colorful packaging?

All of the above?

None of the above?

I just bought some ink cartridges for my laser printer and saw no reason to stock up.  There were no discounts.  No free gift for loyalty.  No save your proofs of purchases for a premium.  So I bought just what I needed, hoping that next time, I can wait for a sale or discount.

Are you training your customers to wait for a discount before making a purchase?

Before you say “NO”, think again.

Do you run discount coupons?  How often.

Are your customers looking online for discount codes?

Do you run sales at regular intervals.

If so, then you are training your customers to shop on price only.

What can you do to re-train your customers?

Create a loyalty program.

Encourage customers to save proof of purchase seals, product bar codes, receipts, etc – in return for a free gift.  Be sure the gift is not one of your products or you will just reduce the value of that product.

These programs can be created with a promotional firm that can verify the validity of these proofs of purchases – or you can do it internally.

A loyalty program is a reward for loyalty.  Do not run this in addition to couponing or you will reduce your profitablity.

Your loyalty program should be run instead of a discount.

One key point to remember: Count on breakage while calculating your gifts to offer something truly commensurate and one that will be effective..

Don’t count on 100% redemption rate — or even 50% …or 25%.  If you plan on 10%, you will most likely be well under budget.  Closer to 5% would be more likely. Most people won’t take the time to send in the proofs of purchases, lose them, not buy sufficient product, etc.

What does this mean?  Well, if you are currently giving a $1 discount on your product, then with three proofs of purchases, you can offer a gift with a $30 retail value for the same budget. (3 times $1 times 10—which is the best-case scenario for redemption rate).

Not only will you be under budget, but you will be encouraging multiple purchases, protecting that category from competitors and re-training your customers to pay full list prices–while rewarding your loyal customers.

Discuss with a promotion firm how to set up your loyalty program that can maximize your profits while creating greater loyalty. Their experience and expertise can help you set up a program that is right for you.

Resorting to discounts is the surest way to minimize your return on investment.  It is short-sighted and will hurt margins

Customer loyalty programs can be created for specific lengths of time, can be tested, created for specific retail outlets — and, best of all, maintain your price integrity. .

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

In This Economy, How Are You Retaining Customers?

customer service tipsAustin, Texas: Last week, while dealing with one of my best vendors, they dropped the ball on an order.

OK. Nobody is perfect.  Mistakes happen.

When I called them to discuss the displeasure that my client felt about missing an in-hands date, the vendor was very cavalier and said they’d try to do better next time. They also said that my client should not overblow the situation, no big deal.

No big deal?!?!  Well, it is now that I am looking for an alternative vendor to service my clients.

A vendor’s reputation is made or lost when things go bad.  Not when things go good.

Everybody looks like a hero when things are rosy. But how does your company respond when things don’t work out as promised or as planned? That is the true measure of any organization.

Especially in these days of economic uncertainty, more attention needs to be spent on customer service than ever before.

Unfortunately, customer service is often viewed by companies as a cost–as a liability.

Customer service can often be the difference between your company and your competition.

Think it doesn’t show up on the bottom line?  Think again.

Our company was recently awarded a bid in the mid six-figures where we were not even close to being the lowest price. The client had used our services in the past and told me that past performance was the deciding factor.

Past performance: Quality products/services plus good customer service.  You need them both to be successful.

Now is not the time to fall behind on improving the entire customer experience.

You can pay lip service to customer loyalty, frequent customer programs and customer retention programs, but actions speak louder than words.

  • Are you pro-actively searching for areas of customer improvement?
  • Are you looking for ways to stay “top-of-mind” to your customers?
  • Is your follow up second to none?
  • When you say you’ll get back to your clients, do you? Every time? When you say you will?
  • Do you under-promise and over-deliver?
  • Are you value-adding your product/services?
  • Have you told your customers how much you appreciate their business?
  • When was the last time you thanked your customer?

Remember, your best customers are you competitors top prospects. Keep them.

A customer saved is better than a new customer. They are more likely to remain loyal and more likely to refer you.

What are you going to do to retain your customers?

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

How To Choose The Right Gifts For Your Next Incentive Program?

choosing the best incentive gift for your sales incentive programAustin, Texas:  Last week, while working with a Fortune 500 company in finalizing their gift options for their latest sales incentive program, I was struck by how often the gifts that are chosen for a loyalty or incentive program usually reflects what the senior marketing people would like to have, rather than what their customers or employees would like to earn.

I often hear such words as:

“Let me show it to my wife to see what she likes.”

“I love to fish.  What fishing items should we offer?” (you can substitute “golf” or “NASCAR” or “hunting” into this mix just as easily).

“I don’t like  to wear a watch, so why should we offer one?”

” I own two iPads already.  Why should we offer one?”

Funny as these seem, they are all actual quotes that I have heard in the past 6 weeks.

Forget about what you’d like and find out what your customers want (or employees if you are running an employee incentive program).

It does not matter that you prefer opera over rock, Mac over PC and Rolex over Seiko — all that matter is what will inspire and motivate your customers.

Hold a focus group. A real focus group of your customers at a trade show or on sales calls.

Don’t ask loaded questions. “Wouldn’t you like this crystal vase?” is not the way to start the process.

What is your competition offering?  Assume that they might have done some research and play off of some of their findings.  Don’t copy them, but see what categories they have selected: Travel. Music.  Books. Clothing. Accessories.

Understand that your target market may be broader than you think, so expand your offerings. Just because your target audience may be “C-Level Executives” does not mean they are all white, male, middle-aged golfers. If you typecast, you will most likely miss a large percentage of your potential audience.

Don’t ask your administrative assistant or spouse what they like.  This may be useful for birthday presents for them, but not in selecting incentive loyalty rewards.

See what has worked on your previous incentive programs. If you have run a prior program, look to see which categories of merchandise have performed best and be sure to include others from that group. If they like electronics, expand it.  If travel did not get much response, limit or eliminate it.  

Your incentive reward gifts should have broad appeal. If you are not sure whether to include an item or eliminate it, just add it. Why not?

Do not limit your offerings based on personal likes and dislikes. All that matters is what your customers will want to aspire to earn.

 

Happy Promoting.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

C-Store Fountain Drink Promotion Includes A Free Music Download

free music download promotions-available from blog.geektechbranding.comTexas-based Valero has just kicked off its latest fountain drink promotion at its Corner Store locations to increase demand during the summer.

With each purchase of a 44-ounce fountain drink at one of their convenience stores, the customer gets a free code for one MP3 music download. This program is available until the approximately 3 million cups are gone.

The music download cards have a broad reach, and will help to encourage motorists to take a moment to come inside their c-stores after filling up, where margins are much more generous to the retailer.

Valero’s “MP3 FREE” program was introduced to all store employees a week before the promotion was kicked off to consumers. “We wanted our employees to experience the excitement of free music so they can share it with their customers,” said Hal Adams, Valero’s vice president-retail merchandising. “Our employees are the ambassadors of our marketing programs and create the energy in the store.”

This promotion will be blasted on store signage, inside and out, as well as on some of their distribution trucks in Texas proudly displaying the slogan “ALL THE MUSIC YOU CAN DRINK.”

Robert Piller, president of DownloadIncentives.com says, “With pump prices hovering over $3.50 on most parts of the country, c-store operators are looking for ways to increase add-on sales–including in-store purchases and car wash sales. As pump prices remain high, discretionary income gets reduced and these profit centers see diminishing returns.”

What are you doing to increase incremental sales?

Contact Download Incentivesfor the latest in MP3 music download programs , as well as such other digital rewards as free movie tickets, iSkins, restaurant cards, magazine subscriptions and more.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Which Approach Works Better for Safety Incentives: Group Performance or Individual Achievement?

Safety Incentive Ideas

Safety Program Incentives: Group vs. Individual Goals

When putting together safety incentive programs for my clients, one of the first criteria is to determine how rewards (or awards) will be achieved

There are three most popular methods of keeping score of safety success:

1)      Individual Goals: Usually this takes into account accident free days, in addition to perfect attendance, safety meetings and education, being “caught” doing things correctly (wearing safety goggles and ear protection), etc.

2)      Team Goals: In order to encourage safer working habits or procedures, team goals encourage peer pressure, as it is believed that fellow workers will do a better job of encouraging safe working habits or procedures than management.

3)      Hybrid Goals: This combination system allows some individual goals in addition to team goals, as the name implies

So, which system works best?

It would seem logical that the hybrid approach is most effective.  It allows team goals to be combined with extra diligence and hard work of individuals.

As we know, all workers are not created equally, so some employees will work harder than others earn additional points – and a hybrid formula encourages those employees to outperform their peers.

However, in 25 years of running safety programs, our findings are that individual performance goals outperform both team based goals and the hybrid approach.

This is for two main reasons, both revolving around peer pressure:

1)      Pressure to Hide or Under-Report Accidents: It has been reported over the years that employees that are earning points for accident-free days or months will certainly try to “persuade” their co-workers not to report minor accidents or to cover up misdeeds.

Because of this pressure (some of which may be closer to coercion or outright threats than persuasion), this cover-up can have negative impact on team spirit and togetherness.

In fact, for years, OSHA has warned against team incentive programs, particularly those that it deemed could promote under-reporting.

I have even seen examples of “gangs” that will not allow accident to go reported—sort of like a prison gang mentality.

Granted, this is not the norm, but when one person can negatively affect an entire team or shift of workers from earning awards (which can often be quite substantial for year-on-year carryover achievement), strange things can happen

2)      Pressure to Not Get Ahead of Peers: Nobody likes a show-off, and workers that are going to extra safety meetings or taking additional safety education classes can be mocked, shunned or warned by fellow employees.

Workers that have families, have longer commutes, are taking night classes or cannot (or just will not) participate in extracurricular activities may encourage their peers to slow down so they do not look badly in the eyes of management.  Especially in this slow economy, nobody wants to be a glaring example at the bottom of the point earning poster/spreadsheet or called out for low score at safety meetings.

There are unfortunate unforeseen consequences that happen when the fate of an individual is in the hands of a group.

Most Americans do not like socialism (Tea Party anyone?), and everything other than individual achievement can leave a sour taste in the mouths of your employees.

Before setting up your safety program, look beyond the obvious.  If you have a safety program already in place, perhaps it time to re-evaluate how points are awarded.

Here’s to a safer work place.


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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Hotels Need Better Promotions to Encourage More Wi-Fi and Gym Usage

increasing sales at hotelsWhile staying at a Las Vegas resort hotel recently, I was disappointed at being “nickel and dimed” for every little bit of service that I normally get for free elsewhere.

First, I had shipped a box of catalogs to the hotel to be there for my arrival.   Kaching!  $17.50 service fee.

Next, I needed Internet service and was granted Wi-Fi in my room.  Kaching! $50 for three days of usage.

Going to the gym—another $15 per day.  Kaching!

Just about everything that I received for free at a Courtyard by Marriott the week before seemed to be a pay-for-service module.

This is the complete opposite of a normal pricing schedule.  It would make more sense for the less expensive hotels to charge for additional services rather than the premium priced ones.

If these premium priced hotels want to create greater loyalty—they need to reduce the cringe factor that these ridiculous add-on charges have on their guests.

Perhaps a gift with purchase promotion might help in righting the ship.

You want to use WI-Fi—how about a free music gift card for 3 songs for 3 nights of usage?  People love getting free gifts- and the perceived value will help take the sting out of these fees, which are mostly pure profit anyway.

Gym usage–  why not a free magazine subscription to a business or fitness magazine with two or three days of usage?

Restaurant, bar, dry cleaning and other miscellaneous fees—Wouldn’t a free gift offer of a free gift card for a movie ticket for every $100 in extra charges be a nice touch?

The keys to repeat business is a pleasant buying experience and exceptional value.

Lowest price does not mean best value.

A gift with purchase goes a long way to making customers feel better about their purchase—and adds value to their purchase. Value add your services to keep customers coming back for more.

What can you do to add value to additional services or add-on fees?


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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.