One trend we are seeing in the hospitality industry is a laser sharp focus on guest touch points that were once simply regarded as functional necessities, but now, are making way for a new class of stylized products. (We wrote about this metamorphosis of branded products in this earlier post.) As with every advancement in technology and branding tactics, the challenge comes when hotels have to balance enhancements and operational budgeting. At AS Hospitality, it’s our goal to ensure each hotel receives both functionality and style without compromising budget.

An area where this balance is particularly visible is guestroom pens. According to a study by the Advertising Specialty Institute, the average pen changes hands 8 times in its lifetime. With that in mind, it is definitely important to make sure the pen represents the experience the guest can expect with the brand. It’s for this reason that the level of customization for today’s pens has increased immensely; including body styling, PMS color match of all components, and even custom etching and imprinting. Also, pens can even be weighted to increase perceived value without greatly impacting cost.
Knowing how the pen can play a key role in the brand experience, we’re particularly impressed by one very special hotel: the Royal Horseguards Hotel in London. This property once served as the headquarters for the British Secret Service where numerous meetings and discussions between influential politicians, statesmen and diplomats have taken place within its walls. The tradition of Military Intelligence Section 6 was started when Sir Mansfield Cummings was known to sign his memos with a “C” in green ink. It’s for this historical aspect of the property that the hotel provides its signature green pen as a welcome gift and as a “history meets modern day” experience!
As you can see, when a pen is truly one of a kind, it evolves from something far greater than the standard guest room pen. It becomes a valuable marketing tool and plays a role in enhancing the overall experience. The one thing that we see consistently is that the take rate of in-room pens greatly increases when the style is evolved. New stylized pens can triple the take rate of the previous pen..…that’s not a bad problem to have!Bottom line: Well-liked pens make their way off the nightstand and into circulation. We’re firm believers that sacrificing style for basic functionality isn’t a choice you should have to make in the grand scheme of branded products.

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