A Massage Studio & A Parking Lot.
As I outlined in this earlier post on “How to Become Wiser Starting Today,” one of my young CEO learning breakthroughs happened when I committed to writing in my “Wisdom Book” each weekend. The first of 52 boutique hotels we created was a rock ‘n roll motel. It was called The Phoenix. It had failure written all over it. We struggled in our first couple of years, even as I tried all the classic niche marketing approaches.
We promoted to the venues where the bands were visiting in San Francisco. We visited the entertainment travel agents who handled all of the hotel bookings. We sent promotional letters to the management companies that handled the bands. We did it all. But, none of that made much of a difference.
Finally, one Saturday, as I was writing in my Wisdom Book, I made a list of all the motel’s unique features. This list happened to include a large parking lot and a functional massage studio. Then, I started to brainstorm who really made the hotel choices for the bands. I came to realize that it was the bus driver who often drove through the night, as well as the beleaguered tour manager, who had the unenviable job of making sure there were no overdoses or groupie hijackings.
Putting the two lists together, the following week, I started offering stressed-out tour managers a free massage and drivers free bus parking and earplugs for daytime sleeping. Within the next year, The Phoenix became so legendary that celebrities like David Bowie, Linda Ronstadt, Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Sinead O’Connor started regularly showing up on our doorstep, even when they typically chose hotels two to three times our price.
What’s the lesson?
Become a consummate matchmaker. Know your unique assets and match them with those who have an “unrecognized need” that your competitors never imagined.