Using cleanliness to differentiate your brand


It’s no secret that airplanes, hotels, and other places you go while traveling are filled with germs. But while almost everyone knows about this, few companies in the travel and hospitality business ever mention cleanliness in their marketing — even if they’re taking steps to provide a clean and safe environment. I think they are missing a big opportunity here. In particular, a company that positioned itself as the hotel (or airline, or rental car company) that cares about your health should stand to gain increased market share.

Making this happen should be quite easy. Let’s use hotels as an example. First, you should tell customers what steps you already take to protect their health. Does your cleaning staff wipe down the bathroom surfaces with anti-bacterial cleaner before each new guest arrives? Then say so with a little placard in each room, or via appropriate messaging on your website and in your ads. Second, give customers the tools they need to protect their own health. I’m thinking a bottle of hand sanitizer in the bathroom or elsewhere in the guest room, co-branded with the hotel’s name.

On the balance, these efforts shouldn’t cost very much. And for at least some group of consumers, they should improve the perception of the brand by a significant margin, leading to more hotel stays, airline trips, and cars rented. Plus, there are PR benefits: you could spin this quite nicely during peak travel periods, at the start of flu season, during national health week (if such a thing exists), etc. What’s more, I’ll bet the hospitality companies could get the necessary products at a huge discount by partnering with the manufacturers to offer in-room coupons for these items.

In fact, I think a corporate sponsorship by Lysol is how their products ended up being used in highway rest stops. Somebody has obviously thought about this before, so now it’s just a matter of getting the hospitality and travel firms to give it a try. And as I think about it, the list goes on: restaurants, retailers, and other venues could build their brand and promote repeat visits by showing they care about the health of their customers. Seems like a smart investment to me.