Even with the obvious demand for online hotel marketing materials, travelers and meeting planners still value printed pieces, especially the venerable hotel rack card. Who hasn’t gotten annoyed when you stop into a business to ask a question, and the staff simply responds, “Go to our website, you’ll find everything there”? While it’s true that you can find everything you want and need (usually) from a business’ website, how much more engaged would you have been if they simply handed over a stunningly printed piece that you could carry out with you?
We’re marketing resorts and hotels in a paperless world, but that doesn’t mean the printed rack card is dead. Far from it. After all, sales is about trust. And, people believe what they can touch. Invest in quality design and copywriting talent for any printed pieces, just as you would for your online hotel marketing presence. And, follow these rules to make your hotel rack brochures stand out from the rest:
Create a Compelling Headline
The top 3" of your brochure or rack card is the space you use to capture consumers’ attention, so make sure your designer understands that this is powerful real estate. Use colors that are quick to draw attention and that are easy to read. Use a simple, bold font and use the headline to sell the experience.
Maximize Use of Color and Photographs
Oftentimes, you only have a second to catch the attention of a traveler or meeting planner, so you’ll want to make your rack brochure aesthetically pleasing to start off with by using pops of eye-catching colors. The top portion of the card needs to include either your logo or the title of the card’s content, and the most dramatic imagery you have of your property. Minimize use of cheesy stock photography whenever possible, people know an unauthentic image when they see one. See this example of La Pensione Hotel’s rack card designed by the Curious G Design Studio in San Diego. The designer, Milena Gavala, strategically placed the hotel’s eye-catching exterior shot at the top, which accentuates the property’s enviable location at the center of San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. She then peppered photos of Little Italy and the rest of the property throughout the rest of the card:
Design Within Hotel Branding
Many people will see your card, even if they do not take it and carry it with them. It is vital that when designing you maintain your brand’s stand-in quality, content, and color. Selecting a generic template online or throwing together a quick layout may save you money at first, but will establish a perception that is confusing and/or negative to many potential clients.
Tell Them Why and How To Stay with You
Don’t forget to include a call to action, including your reservation line and your Website. Insert a map showing your location and, if space allows, include short lines of testimonials from review sites.
Have Focused Content
Be clear about your messaging and your target audience, this will increase your card’s chances of being remembered. Refrain from trying to stuff too much information or copy in the card, or else it will clutter the design. Best bet is to write the copy, then edit out 25 percent of that. When the designer comes back with the initial design, edit down the copy even more.
Have 2-3 others in your hotel look at the rack card before it goes to print. Fresh eyes will find it easier to spot mistakes, and they may even catch what’s missing in the design or copy that you may have overlooked.
Written by Junvi Ola.