When you go to buy a new phone, you are given a spiel about the many wonderful things the phone offers, from high-speed Internet access to advanced photography, video streaming to data storage — and yes, there is the fact that you also can make calls.
The same is true of Starbucks, which has taken the phrase “third place” and spun it for a brilliant brand campaign. In an interview with Fast Company, a Starbucks manager outlined the company’s philosophy of becoming the third place in our daily lives (home, work and Starbucks). “We want to provide all the comforts of your home and office,” the manager said. “You can sit in a nice chair, talk on your phone, look out the window, surf the Web … oh, and drink coffee too.”
In an age that believes in add-ons and more add-ons to the services we receive, it is not surprising that the manager put the coffee last. Starbucks has already established that association, now the company wants to become the third place that will dominate a part of our everyday lives. Starbucks wants to be the first thing you think of in terms of comfort, casual chat or hanging out.
Needless to say, the campaign yielded results far beyond its targets and expectations. But what is even more amazing is how this simple phrase suddenly became the mantra for the hospitality industry, which has taken this up as a core focus for its new age renovations. From restaurants, coffee shops, bars and lounges to mega-hotel brands, everyone is focused on becoming that comfort zone for their clients.
It is now important to invest in changes that will increase business figures (in terms of occupancy and revenues) and also strategies that will enhance the reputation as well as strengthen the loyalty program. What better way to do this than by creating a comfortable space that draws clients in time and again, enriches their lives and, in the process, increases their loyalty for the brand?
Changes in consumer behavior are directly proportional with changes in the socioeconomic world. Therefore, to increase footfalls one needs to think beyond the traditional loyalty programs and create more value for the customer. That value is being increasingly felt in these third places or the new comfort zones, which easily enhance the property’s atmosphere.
The hospitality industry is geared up to renovate its properties and create the perfect ambience for today’s clients. The industry has realized the potential of third places to draw in customers and encourage patrons to come out of their rooms and spend quality time there.
The cozy atmosphere of such third places is conducive to spending leisure time and also creates the perfect ambience for casual business. While customers are “hanging out,” they also may use the services offered by the establishment and therefore add to healthy turnover. The concept is neither new nor difficult to understand. Think of the barbershops of yore where all the community gossip could be had no matter when you walk in, and you will get the idea.
Thanks to Starbucks, the hospitality industry has seen the promise in coffee and, therefore, cozy and casual coffee shops are springing up all over the place. But hotels and restaurants also are looking at emerging opportunities beyond cafes. Designers are looking at creating the perfect hangout space in the lobby, lounge, bar or a combination of all these spaces.
For example, Marriott International is remodeling its lobbies and calling them “great rooms.” The new spaces will feature free Wi-Fi and menus offering small dishes and local craft beers in a cozy and comfortable seating area. The same goes for Sheraton, which also included a select wine list to its third place menu, leading its wine sales to go up by 24 percent in just six months.
The time to demand loyalty has long gone. The hospitality industry needs to create real value to entice patrons to be loyal and frequent visitors. With innovative third place concepts, the hospitality industry can make it easy for clients to be loyal and, in the process, boost bottom line revenues.
This article was provide by Multibriefs.