Retail Popping Up in Hotel Lobbies
Why not extend this practice to more traditional hotel private label programs (e.g., linens) by adding a few basic items on a website. Shopify, the e-commerce template, is an easy and inexpensive way for a small boutique hotel to get started.
By defining the customer, other product categories, ranging from entertainment to items such as cocktail glasses and cocktail mixing coffee table books, can be included. How about an opportunity to create your own signature cocktail with the ability to order basics from the website? I know that many creative cocktail recipes include absinthe as an ingredient, but I have no idea what it is. What if it was included in a bar drink I like and made it easy for me to get a sample bottle shipped home?
By creating a profile of the typical boutique hotel client for a particular location, one can get a good sense of that person's lifestyle. What does she wear? What does she do for fun? Where does she work and live? All of these data points provide clues as to what to sell in the boutique. How about creating a wonderfully merchandised display with the hotel vibe comprised of a dozen items, taking orders via the hotel website? Not only does that simplify inventory, but it also lays the groundwork for an ongoing relationship with this customer. E-commerce makes it easy.
This e-pop-in could run as a six-week test, adding visual interest and excitement to the hotel lobby. It could also be used to draw traffic to parts of the hotel like the bar. Managed well, it will lay the foundation for a well-merchandised private label program, all with minimal financial risk.
In summary, e-pop-ins can be used as a tool to test what products work and what doesn't for boutiques hotels while e-commerce simplifies and streamlines inventory management. This model allows boutique independents to develop similar programs to those the bigger players offer, at much lower risk. So pop goes the lobby.