I know, the hotel room comforters are nasty, and that’s a blog post for another time, but traveling is exhausting. I don’t care what my method of transportation is, and who is with me on the road, but when I get to the hotel, I feel like Steve Martin (Neal Page) from the 1980’s classic movie: Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
To be honest, this is one of my favorite holiday movies – it doesn’t get the credit it deserves and I absolutely love the reminder that we should all try to make room for one more at our Thanksgiving Dinner table, work lunch table, or school cafeteria table. I mean, who doesn’t have room for someone like Del trying to sell shower rings?
Lost in the COVID-19 eruption this year was the Hilton DoubleTree cookie getting baked in space. <pausing> While we’re talking about it, I’m claiming dibs on a future Bill & Ted Movie titled “Baked in Space.” Buying that URL in 3, 2, .. <resuming>
Hilton DoubleTree filled the International Space Station (ISS) with the sweet smells of their chocolate chip cookies! Traveling along I-70 is no joke for those in the midwest, so I can kind of relate to the exhausted feeling an astronaut may have after traveling 254 miles strapped to a giant tank of jet fuel commissioned for travel by our government to the lowest bidder.
DoubleTree jumped at the opportunity to partner with ISS to provide these travelers a warm baked cookie and provide fresh baked food in space for the first time. I would have never guessed that it would take 130 minutes to bake a DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie in space!
DoubleTree launched a campaign with this effort, complete with a hashtag, #CookiesInSpace and a dedicated landing page: cookiesinspace.com – not to be confused with the URL I bought three paragraphs ago. On this planet, the DoubleTree warm cookie for weary travelers is the perfect surprise and delight marketing effort.
Hilton DoubleTree previously ran warm cookie marketing efforts. In 2017, they launched a Warm Cookie Welcome campaign to time with the Neal Page and Del Griffith type of travelers during the holiday season. The free and warm chocolate chip cookie is a pleasant surprise for customers and provides just the right helping of hospitality.
Not The First Rodeo
In the 1930s, during the height of the Great Depression, Ted and Dorothy Hustead opened a drug store in Wall, SD just outside of the Badlands. Business was terrible for the first five years until they thought of their own surprise and delight marketing effort.
Wall Drug began advertising “free water” to weary travelers. It’s not a chocolate chip cookie, but Wall Drug hasn’t looked back. Today it is a giant tourist stop along I-90 between Rapid City and Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the store is still operated by the Hustead family.
DoubleTree and Wall Drug show us that loyalty campaigns can launch in the cosmos or on the outskirts of the Badlands. They can be as complicated as trying to heat an oven in zero gravity or as simple as offering free ice water during the summer, but the idea is the same. Surprise and delight campaigns create a special connection between your company and your customers. It has worked for DoubleTree for over 50 years and nearly 100 years for Wall Drug.
Surprise and delight your customers this holiday season and make room for one more.