When you think of ways you want customers to describe your product or service, you'd probably want them to avoid that most dubious of superlatives: The Worst. But in a post at the Influential Marketing Blog, Rohit Bhargava says the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam has for 15 years promoted itself as "the worst hotel in the world."
It's no joke. According to Bhargava, the hotel—which caters to cash-strapped backpackers—offers photographs of chairs placed on walls rather than actual chairs, and has an erratic supply of toilet paper. The marketing strategy has a twofold purpose:
- It lowers expectations so dramatically that travelers don't feel cheated. "Some frequent fliers expect to be upgraded to a seat they didn't pay for," notes Bhargava, "and then get angry when they are not. Patrons of luxury hotels expect perfection, and often feel justified to complain about any little thing, no matter how small."
- It appeals to its target demographic. "After all," he says, "what twenty-something wouldn't want to return home to boast to their friends and family that they stayed in the worst hotel in the world while in Amsterdam?"
Bhargava's Marketing Inspiration is simple and pragmatic: "Sometimes being honest and giving people something to talk about is the only thing that really matters," he says.
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